QI am having trouble integrating new stock in to my flock. Is there a better way than just putting them in at night?
AVictoria says: It somewhat depends on the breed/type of chicken as some are more ferocious, particularly older established hens. The pecking order is important for social stability and is best not changed. However, you can sort this – remember that chickens are very conservative and do not like change. You do know that all new hens must be wormed with Flubenvet and dusted with DM before being integrated with others. Put the new hens, assuming they are adult, not growers, in a pen close to the older ones so they can be seen, talked to, but not bullied. This gradual integration, although giving you more work, definitely allows the original flock to get slowly used to the idea of other hens being around. After at least a week and preferably a fortnight, add the new hens at night to the hut of the flock. Add at least one more feeder and drinker so that there is choice for the new ones – a bully cannot be in two places at once! Provide new enrichment so that all the hens have something else to concentrate on and let them all out, don’t push the new ones out as they need to find their own way out in order to go to roost properly.