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Introducing a new hen to an existing flock can be challenging, but it can be a smooth and successful process with the proper preparation and approach. The following steps will walk you through how to introduce a new hen to your flock.
Firstly, it is important to quarantine the new hen for two weeks. This allows you to observe her for any signs of illness or infection that can spread to the rest of the flock. It also gives the new hen time to settle into her new surroundings and establish her own routine.
After two weeks, when introducing chickens to new coops, introduce the new hen to the flock slowly and gradually. Begin by placing her in a separate enclosure within the existing coop or run so the hens can see and smell each other but cannot physically interact.
Next, allow supervised, short free-ranging periods outside the coop or run. This helps the hens to get acquainted with each other’s behaviour and establishes a pecking order. It is normal for the hens to squabble and peck at each other a little during this process.
As the hens become more comfortable with each other, gradually increase the amount of time they spend together until they can free-range together unsupervised.
Another important consideration is the size of the coop or run. If it is too small, it can lead to overcrowding and aggression amongst the hens, especially during feeding time. Ensure that there is plenty of space and resources for all hens in the flock.
To prevent bullying, providing multiple feeding and watering stations is essential. This allows each hen to have enough space to eat and drink without feeling threatened by the others.
Lastly, keep an eye on the flock after the new hen has been fully integrated. Ensure that she is not being bullied or excluded from the group and that all hens are healthy and happy.
In conclusion, introducing a new hen to your flock requires patience, preparation, and understanding of the social dynamics amongst hens. However, with the right approach, a new hen can successfully integrate into an existing flock and become a valued member without causing unnecessary stress or conflict.
Introducing a New Hen – FAQs
How long does it take for hens to adjust to a new home?
Introducing new chickens to an existing flock or moving chickens to a new home can be stressful. It typically takes about 3 to 4 weeks for chickens to fully adjust to their new surroundings and for their behaviour to return to normal. During this time, it’s important to monitor the chickens carefully and take steps to ensure their comfort and safety, such as providing adequate food and water, shelter, and secure space to roam and exercise.
How long does it take for hens to accept new hens?
Introducing new hens to an existing flock can be a gradual process that may take several weeks to fully complete. Typically, it can take up to 3 to 4 attempts before the new birds can adjust to the existing flock, and it may take up to 3 weeks for the chickens to accept each other. Providing adequate food and water, shelter, and secure space to roam and exercise can help facilitate the process and reduce stress for the birds.
Should I consider getting ex-battery hens?
Adopting ex-battery hens can be a great way to provide a home for chickens that otherwise would have been slaughtered after their egg-laying peak. These hens have typically spent their lives in small cages in commercial egg production facilities and may require extra care and attention to help them adjust to a new environment. However, they can be very rewarding to care for and can often adapt well to a new home with proper care and patience. It’s important to ensure you are prepared to provide the necessary space, resources, and attention to care for these birds before adopting them.
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