If you have never added a bird to the flock, it can be very stressful for everyone, especially the new bird and the human that wants everyone to get along. There are a few tips to adding a bird to the flock that will ease a lot of the stress.
First, keep your new bird in a separate pen for a few days and up to a week. This allows everyone to see each other, but keeps the new bird in a safe situation. When you are ready to allow the new bird in with the established birds, move the new bird to the roost at night when everyone is sleeping. This allows the bird to sleep on the roost and in the morning the chickens aren't as suspicious of the new bird as they would of been during the day.
If chickens are in a coop and run all day and night, there can be a lot of stress and pecking to establish order. Tight spaces can cause a lot of scuffle and pecking on the new bird to let the bird know who is in charge. Be sure to watch how the chickens treat the new bird. Chickens can draw blood and could cause injury to the new bird. If you are introducing a young rooster to the flock and have an older rooster, there could be a lot of fighting and even death to the new bird. Sometimes you might have to take the dominant chicken out of the pen for a few days and let them re-establish their place in the pecking order. This is only necessary if the dominant chicken is being aggressive and acting like a bully.
In our case, we free range our birds. When a new chicken is coming into a free range situation there is a lot more space and room for the birds to interact. The new bird can keep it's distance and still learn about it's new home. Beetle Juice is doing well settling into his new life here with all of our animals. He gets out of the way of the goats when they are running around and tries to make friends with the chickens, but gets away quickly if they try to peck him. He's had a few chest bumping squabbles with a couple of hens, but I'm glad to see he's standing up for himself. The ducks are even letting him know he's way down on the pecking order even to them. I can't help but laugh when a duck drops that head and stretches out their neck and chases after him. He looks at them like they are crazy. I don't think he'd ever seen a duck or a goat close up before.
McMurray Hatchery. So they pick the breeds that I get and I'm okay with that I love the mystery and surprises as they grow. I haven't gotten a Dominique yet, but now I have a beautiful boy. Of course, now I need to get a few hens of the same breed so that we can continue the lineage. I plan to order a few as soon as I get my new batch of chicks out of the nursery.
|All the new chicks at two days old|
We ordered twenty five chicks and got them last week. The rainbow layer pack from McMurray Hatchery sends us a variety of breeds that lay white, brown and if you get Arcauna or Americana chicks, blue eggs. We love the colored eggs they are always a conversation starter when we share our eggs. They are all a little over a week old today and are growing well and getting their little tail feathers jutting out. I can't wait to see what they will all look like when they get fully feathered. It's exciting to watch them grow and change.
|The Guineas at two days old|
We also got fifteen guineas. I have always wanted guineas but they can be a bit expensive. There was a "sale" so I ordered them and am so excited to have them as a new addition to our hobby farm. Guineas are wonderful protectors to the farm and great little alarm systems. The will kill small mice and rats, snakes and eat loads of nasty insects like ticks. They generally like to roost in trees at night but that leaves them exposed to predators. I am going to try very hard to train them to go into the house at night like the chickens and ducks. I have read up on teaching them and will work hard at making sure they want to come "home" at night.
|These Guineas are adorable and look so sweet!|
|The Khaki Campbell ducklings at two days old|
|Look at that face!|