Adding to my flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SoonersDucks, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. SoonersDucks

    SoonersDucks Chirping

    Jun 26, 2019
    Enid, Oklahoma
    I have a friend that is getting rid of his 6 laying hens. They are in good shape and healthy. Is there a proper way to introduce new birds to my current flock? I do not have any roosters.
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi there. :frow

    Most of us use a look but don't touch method... for a couple days to a couple weeks depending on your set up and flock dynamics. This is a kennel or wire type fence so they can see and interact with each other and kinda set a little pecking order before full exposure. It helps prevent injuries and also lessen the first contact tensions. Depending on the size of your current flock, 6 is a huge addition and could even be a tad overwhelming to your original hens.

    When ready to add them in... adding some extra feeders and water as well as some visual barriers to disrupt line of sight can be helpful. If they have other things lurking around... switch them up a bit to defray some of the current residents' territoriality. (I even do false walls... or like a towel or blanket hanging) In addition to that I like to add the new comers onto roost during the night (after standard antics have settled and it's dark) so they all wake up together. Following these techniques... I have had very good results.

    Disclosure required as many folks don't know and I would kick myself all day if I don't at least mention it so you can make an informed decision...
    Beware... any running or bubbly eyes, crusty nares, coughing or sneezing, limping... many things can be present and NOT yet have presented at their current home. Quarantine is recommended though on smaller properties can be irrelevant. If they're Marek's vaccinated, they would have to find another home than mine as it hides the disease preventing the tumors that often lead to death and not actually preventing the virus itself. Also get a good check after dark with a flashlight (this is often the easiest time to catch birds without chasing and gives a much more accurate picture than day time inspection), parting feathers below the vent and on the abdomen looking for anything running away or angry red skin... treat for external parasites if needed before introduction.

    I do have a friend very near by... who I feel as though anything her birds might have mine might also simply due to proximity.. so not too paranoid about swapping between us. She never brings birds that have been to someone else's pasture to her place and neither do I as the risk is simply not worth it, having invested heavily my time and funds to get the birds I currently have. But we all have different goals. And I guess proof that we aren't THAT close and I should NOT let my guard down... this year she had to treat for either Northern Fowl Mites or Lice (despite using DE in their dirt baths)... can't remember which one... but I have not had to YET this year... DE is not effective at my location due to high humidity, but they still choose to use it. :)

    Hope this is helpful and your new flock becomes one quickly! :fl

    Pics always welcome! ;) :pop
    rosemarythyme and chrissynemetz like this.
  3. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Grandkids and chickens, what more could you want

    Dec 19, 2013
    Olathe Colorado
    EggSighted4Life likes this.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Free Ranging

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    As stated, 6 is several birds. Do you really have room for them? As in measured, as many many ugly behaviors can develop if birds are kept too crowded.

    I also agree with ^^ above, do not ever take something you feel sorry for, not worth the risk. But I would be interested in a flock like this if I had the room, (as I do now).

    I look at adding birds as + and -'s. If you can keep it close to zero... it will generally sort itself out rather easily.

    Original birds are the headcount positive, new birds, the count negative. So if about equal amounts, pretty easy.

    Age - older birds are positives, younger smaller birds are negatives. In this case if you have a lot of older birds, and are adding one or two younger birds - not good, but if you are adding a lot of younger birds to a few older birds it goes better.

    Adding hideouts, multiple feed stations, roost in and out of the run, platforms, and escape routes really helps.

    I have never done the see but don't touch method, a lot of people have and swear by it. I am not set up to do it that way. However, I have had very good luck with turning the original flock out of the coop/run and locking the new birds inside the coop/run. This lets the new birds explore the set up without being chased for their lives. Then as close to dark as I dare, I let the original flock in.

    Once in a great while you will get an unrelentingly bird. If so, lock her up for a few days.

    Mrs K
  5. SoonersDucks

    SoonersDucks Chirping

    Jun 26, 2019
    Enid, Oklahoma
    Unfortunately I don’t really have the ability to do the look don’t touch method. The birds we are getting are 1.5 years old, and ours are just under a year. I will add more roosts and hide outs to the run, as well as add extra feeders and waterers. I am adding on to my run to give more space since I cannot free range here.
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I hope you have LOTS of space, in coop and run.
    chrissynemetz and rosemarythyme like this.

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