Introducing new hens (Jersey Giants)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by laurenjane85, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. laurenjane85

    laurenjane85 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm picking up six 2yo Jersey Giant hens this weekend from someone local who is just looking to downsize their flock and selling a bunch of hens for cheap. I'm really looking forward to the larger eggs [​IMG] I currently have 2 Ameracaunas, 2 RIRs (one is a rooster, he's top of the pecking order), a Barred Rock, and a White Cochin rooster, all about 8 months old and raised together. Mine all get along fairly well, with the occasional peck between hens at breakfast time.

    I did read the article on here about introducing new members to the flock...

    Once quarantine is over, I plan to keep the new birds separated in a pen for a while, and rotating the free ranging as suggested, so they'll meet through the fence before actually being around each other. What I'm wondering is how I should expect the Jersey's to behave with the other chickens. I've read that they're a docile breed, but I know they'll be bigger (and older), so I'm wondering if there are any special precautions I should take? After the meeting through the fence phase, I figured I'd just allow them to free range together so nobody get stuck in a corner or anything. Should I introduce all of the new birds at once and get it over with, or like two at a time?

    I'm picking them up on Saturday. Friday is my prep day, so I'm planning out exactly how I want to do things initially, then of course I'll have some time before they're actually introduced to my flock. But if anyone has any super tips about the initial set up as well, I'll take 'em! I know all about bio security, having actually worked in a lab environment and having to follow strict quarantine protocols.

    Also, I read the bit about giving the new birds probiotics and such. Can anyone recommend any type in particular? Any harm in giving to my existing flock as well?
     
  2. birdwrangler057

    birdwrangler057 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, and [​IMG], adding in older hens is easier, try putting them together when you finish quarantine (chickens don't simply meet through a fence, they have to bond). The good thing is that you will have 6 of them, so they will have lots of friends. All your already owned hens are smaller so it might work out well. Don't worry if they peck each other a little, its natural, but if they start ripping their combs, feathers, and wattles off, then divide them. About probiotics, I have actually never used them, I always use DE (Diatomaceous Earth) for mites and worms, all you do is sprinkle it in their dirt bathing spots and nest boxes, so they get it under their feathers; for worms quarantine them and put it in their food, their are other thread that apply more to this process.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Older hens are not necessarily easier to integrate...well, easier than integrating more males maybe..
    Your existing males might help pave the way if they are good ones.

    Do you have a larger main coop than you did back in Jul/Aug?
    What is your climate/location?
    Is your quarantine a separate coop/run (how far from main coop/run?) that existing birds have no access to even while ranging?

    No experience with probiotics...tho I would think fermented feed would be the best way to implement them.
     
  4. birdwrangler057

    birdwrangler057 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I said that,I ment that the new hens wouldn't take as much damage as if adding younger hens
     
  5. laurenjane85

    laurenjane85 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2016
    So, I ended up not getting 6 two-year olds lol. The guy ended up selling those before I arrived ( [​IMG]), but I got 1 Jersey Giant hatched this past spring, and 2 Red Sexlinks also hatched this past spring. So, they're roughly the same age as my existing flock. I already love the sexlinks. They are so docile! The Jersey, however, is super flighty. Yesterday morning when I went in to freshen their water, I just squatted on the ground for a few minutes and she finally stopped freaking out and came over and drank some water, but man, she sure tries to get away most of the time. I'm hoping that's just a result of her and her friends being chased around lately while the guy was catching them to sell. Time will tell...

    To answer your questions... I have the same ~16sqft main coop, that my other 6 are continuing to do well in, I never see any squabbles over coop space, only over food while they're out in the run. They are never locked in, always have access to their run, so I guess that helps. However, I will not be attempting to shove these 3 newcomers into that space with the original flock. I'll be adding on.

    At the moment, I've got the 3 newbies in a small run with a covered dog kennel as their coop. I've been keeping the original flock in their pen until I get the fencing up that I planned to do this weekend and ran out of time. So, there's no contact at all, and won't be until quarantine is over. What I'm planning to do (next week when I have time off work) is to build a ~16sqft (because it's easy to cut a 4x8 piece of plywood in half) coop for the new girls and when I integrate them into the flock I'll attach the new coop to the old coop to create a larger main coop. I'm also going to fence off another section of my yard to make their run bigger.

    I live in the Southwest, in the high desert, so we get winter weather, but not like up north. It has been pretty chilly lately (lows in the teens and 20's), but dry.
     

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