In­te­grat­ing stock

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

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.

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