So we only recently became chicken owners again and our flock have settled in well. We didn't think we would be adding and new members just yet but found ourselves in a situation where we could adopt two younger chickens who were both a bit special. Our chickens are young anyway and have only just started laying. The two new additions are around 10 -12 weeks old. One of the new additions (Wilma) has only one eye. She appears to have a defect from birth where one side of her face has not formed correctly. But she's full of character, friendly and inquisitive. I was a little worried about her ability to survive due to to lack of one eye.....until I watched her catch not one but two flies in mid air. Yeah she will be fine.
So I have read and watched everything there is to know about introducing new chickens to an existing flock. But just wanted to see if I was missing anything.
Ok so I have:
1) Separated the large enclosed run into two parts. In one part is the existing chickens coop, food and water. In the other is another coop for the new girls with their food and water. The run is separated by chicken wire from ceiling to floor.
2) I have treated the entire area with DE powder
3) The existing girls still free range all day and have open access to the run and coop (their side)
4) I am giving the new girls worming treatment
5) The new girls have safe zones ready, a few toys and get attention every day from me
6) The existing girls still get lots of attention from me as well.
My plan is to use this "Be seen NOT hurt" method for at least 7 days before moving onto the next step. So far the existing girls have pecked at the new girls a bit but seem to be going about their daily business as usual and something just sit near the new girls and watch them or eat side by side (chicken wire barrier).
So far one-eyed wilma and Betty seem to be fine, eating, drinking, playful and social. My other hens "Princess Layer" and "Storm" seem to be getting used to the new arrivals.
If anyone thinks I have missed anything or wants to provide any tips please let me know. I'm not looking forward to the pecking order being sorted but.....its nature I suppose. Just trying to make the transition easier for both pairs. Should the period separated be longer? shorter? Should I put them in the main coop at night when ready? I've seen some bloody terrible introductions online and on youtube of hens just being thrown in and really hurt beyond basic pecking order.