Introducing the New Birds on the Block: Raising Chickens 101
Raising chickens is a tradition that was brought to North America by the Europeans during the 1600s. In this blog post, we look at introducing new birds on the block: raising chickens 101!
The introduction of new chickens to an established group can be a tricky process. Introducing the “new” birds requires some attention and care, just like merging two restaurants into one when you have Italian food on one side and Chinese cuisine on the other – it’s bound to cause stress!
Introducing the New Chickens to Your Flock
With new chickens entering the flock, there is often tension between old and young hens. The newcomer to the chicken coop may not be accustomed to its surroundings or have a strong social bond within that group of birds. These tensions can lead to bullying behaviors among both newcomers as well as older members in more established groups which can cause injury for individual animals and damage long-term relations amongst flocks.
Many poultry owners who are ready to expand their chicken farm make preparations by importing birds from outside sources (such as other farms), while others take time waiting for eggs they purchased at auction sites like eBay, Craig’s list, etc., after being hatched by laying hens on one property -or even neighbors’ homes! Adding new breeds into your
I always thought that hens and roosters were only territorial in regards to certain areas of the coop. I never realized they could get so worked up over who was entering their home until now!
I have had many new chickens come into my flock over time, but it wasn’t until one newcomer would not let an old chicken take her water pan for a drink before things got intense. The newcomers are naturally trying to establish themselves by taking control or what they believe is theirs; meanwhile, the older ones will fight back as best as possible with whatever strategy will keep them on top like kicking out another bird from its nest space or splashing any perceived threat off-balance with feathers and water.
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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 to 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?
Keep them close, but separate
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.
Another strategy is introducing the new chickens to a separate pen for about two weeks. This will give them time to get used to their surroundings and allow themselves some energy-saving at night without having so many eyes on them 24/hours a day in the coop area.
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.
One at a time
Introducing new chickens to a flock of old birds involves introducing one at a time. They are introduced by leaving them inside the coop with an older chicken for about two hours, so they get acquainted and comfortable enough that you can leave both together overnight.
The next day, introduce another one in between feeding times and repeat until all your newcomers meet up with each other before introducing them outdoors!
If this sounds like too much work, remember that introducing newly acquired chickens to an established group is very important to prevent any possible pecking order problems or territorial disputes. It’s best if done gradually but it may need some “dealing with” on certain occasions when everyone isn’t getting along as well as it should be.
Try distracting them
There are a number of distraction techniques that can be effective. This includes things like getting the older chickens out of their coop for some free time or feeding them nearby to give the new birds a chance to settle in without being harassed by the old hens.
Some of the best 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. How does this help? It will make it more difficult for the old birds to get at the new ones.
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.
There is no 100% foolproof way on how to avoid territorial disputes among your flock but there are strategies that will make it easier for everyone involved in settling down with each other. The best thing would be if all parties transitioned smoothly into their new surroundings without any problems or injuries but this doesn’t always happen (despite our efforts).
If it happened every single time, then we wouldn’t have had anything worth reading about! It’s best if done gradually but it may need some “dealing with” on certain occasions when everyone isn’t getting along as well as it should be.
Introducing newly acquired chickens into an established group of older birds requires patience (especially when introducing one bird at a time) but is worth the wait considering it offers less tension between hens as they adjust themselves to each other’s presence.