The introduction of a new chicken into an existing group can be a difficult time for your flock, readily leading to the new birds being bullied. With the onset of Spring and perhaps the inclination to "expand" your flock growing, this weeks Flyte so Fancy blog offers some advice on the best way to integrate new hens into your chicken coop.
|FSF Gold Sebrights|
- The traditional method involves being somewhat cunning and relying on your hens playing ball. If your flock is particularly placid, then one of the best ways to introduce new birds is at night after dark. Once your girls are on their perches, put the new hen into the chicken coop on the perches too. The result is that all the chickens wake up together, head out the pop-hole and go about the important business of finding breakfast. This is a simple and effective way to achieve integration.
- If you have a particularly bossy hen currently running the pecking order in your coop, then you might want to try a different tactic. One of the best ways to acclimatise chickens to each other is to let them see each other. If you have a separate run or small hen house that you can place next to your existing one, or a place within your run with a small house you can fence off for a few days, this is one of the best ways to introduce a new hen, as after awhile the existing flock are completely used to seeing the new hens and don't think twice about them.
|A Broody Coop, great refuge for bullied hens|
Boss Phill has some of his own top tips when it comes to introducing new hens into a flock
- Make sure that there are plenty of refuges for a new hen to hide in should it need to. A few cardboard boxes with an entrance hole cut out make excellent temporary bolt holes which you can then remove and recycle.
- Increase the feeders and drinkers that you have in your run, so that your new hens will have access to food and water regardless of a bullying hen.
- Be sure to let your hens out early to avoid new hens and the existing flock being confined in the house and to stop any sort of argy-bargy that then might occur.
- If you have a bully hen remove her from the flock for a few days. She will lose her place in the pecking order and be re-introduced lower down the ranking. The bully hen is the problem, not the hens being bullied, so remove the bully.
Following these few simple hints and tips means that introducing a new hen into your flock can be a simple and peaceful experience for you and your flock of girls.
If you have any questions about introducing new hens in to your flock of chickens leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the team.