Raising Chickens 101: Introducing the New Birds on the Block
To raise chickens, there are procedures and adaptations to attend to. One very good instance is introducing a group of “new” birds to a flock of old birds. It’s like managing to merge two restaurants when one is Italian and the other is Chinese. Stress will come along. And that is not an assumption but a fact.
Many poultry owners who think that they’re ready to expand their chicken farm make certain measures of importing birds that came or was purchased from the outside, while others take their time and wait for hens to hatch their eggs. Adding new breeds into your peaceful and comfortable neighborhood of chickens can put a quite a rumble between the old and the new.
Admit it, nobody likes newcomers. And adding these newcomers into a flock of hens or roosters that already have certain territories inside their coop can be big mess. The newcomers will try to take their place too, and the oldies will try their best to protect their area.
Fret not, for this kind of attitude and feud lasts for only a couple of days. Adaptation can now take place. You can’t avoid this kind of predicament from rising but you can do certain adjustments that can make all of you happy and stress-free.
There are numerous peace-making strategies to help both parties adjust with each other. Isn’t it nice to see your new and old birds in one space without having to stop them from pecking one another?
One very good strategy is to let them see each other without having any physical contact. How? If you have a run (which is basically attached to the coop), you could put your old chickens there and then put a border (chicken wire) between the run and the coop. Put your new chickens inside the coop. This way, they are able to see each other minus the harm. Be sure that both parties have access to sufficient food and water. You can do this for about a week.
As transition day comes, that will be a week after the slight introduction, you can now “join” them in one area. You can transfer the newcomers to the resident flock’s territory during the night when all the birds are sleeping. Upon waking up, the old chickens will notice the new ones and they will, at any point, try to start a fight but will not because they are too groggy to initiate it. Not a strategy that has been proven effective but it’s worth the trying.
Distraction techniques are always effective in some way. This can alleviate tactics of war coming from the resident chickens. If you don’t do this, the old hens will chase the newcomers till all their feathers come off. That would be devastating.
Some of the distracting techniques are:
a. Cabbage heads can do the trick. By hanging a piece of whole cabbage just above their head, chickens will reach it until everything is finished. That is, if they don’t get exhausted by jumping to it and reaching it.
b. Make the pursuit an obstacle for the pursuing party. Add large branches inside the run and coop.
c. Let them run around at a wider and freer range. The oldies will be so thrilled to dig for grubs and insects they wouldn’t even notice that there are newcomers roaming around.
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