There are only a few issues that make me extra nervous with regards to homesteading than introducing new birds to my present flock, (which sounds completely ridiculous now that I’ve typed it, but it surely’s the gods’ trustworthy reality). Yearly, whether or not it’s geese, quail, or chickens, and whether or not they’re raised right here on our homestead or purchased from somebody close to or far, we find yourself having to combine new members into the flock of previous gals. It’s a interval of stress when no one is completely positive how one flock will react to the opposite or what the result shall be.
Via trial and error, and observing others’ experiences, we developed a system that works for each me and my birds (often) and isn’t overwhelmingly difficult. The one two belongings you’ll really want is a little bit of house and many endurance. Let’s leap proper into part one of many course of.
This is step one you’re going to wish to take in case you’re planning on including new grownup birds which have been introduced in from a pre-existing flock from one other homestead. The reason is is that there are a number of diseases which may not present their deadliness till it’s too late and the consequences sweep throughout everything of your flock. I don’t need that, you don’t need that, and quarantine is how we cease it. This step is one that you simply’ll wish to begin making ready for lengthy earlier than your new birds arrive, just by creating an area with a coop home sufficiently big to maintain the birds in at night time for roughly 14 days.
Simply as necessary is to make sure that your present flock of chickens or geese has completely no method of coming into shut proximity to those new birds throughout the length of their quarantine interval. Ideally, in case you can maintain these two flocks roughly 15 to twenty yards aside, you’re going to be in nice form. The birds in quarantine ought to be monitored for any indicators of sickness, which might manifest in many various kinds. After this two-week interval, any potential dangers could have definitely run their course, and you’ll put together for the subsequent part of the mixing course of
After your new additions have gone by means of the suitable interval of quarantine, you could resolve that as a substitute of letting them mingle with the older members of your flock, taking part in it secure and permitting some segregated publicity between the 2 factions is likely to be a good suggestion. Not everybody decides to go down this highway, however in the long term, I’ve discovered that this could very often mitigate the potential for combating and total aggression.
Don’t take this as a way to rule out aggression fully, as a result of it most definitely is just not. Think about it extra like a cushion. As an alternative of a bunch of unusual birds displaying up someday the entire sudden and your present congregation of chickens or geese having to be taught to cope with it simply as all of a sudden, informal publicity between the 2 will decrease the shock issue and it’s remarkably simple to do. Merely let your group of birds out of their run in order that they’ll uncover the most recent additions to the flock on their very own phrases.
This will final anyplace from a number of days to a different couple weeks on high of the allotted quarantine interval, however no matter you select, finally the 2 teams must work issues out between them, which is the place the subsequent step is available in.
Okay, so that you’ve determined sufficient time has handed, and the flock of previous hens appears to be okay with the group of latest birds after a number of days of segregated publicity. As a common rule of thumb, I prefer to let my two flocks of birds meet on impartial floor if I may also help it. This implies not placing the brand new birds into their future run with the older birds, however as a substitute introducing them someplace that each of the teams don’t really feel an amazing stage of attachment to. For me, this implies the very finish of the yard, which I can simply fence off if want be, as a way to forestall any escapees from wandering off.
Regardless of the way you resolve to do that, I can’t stress sufficient the significance of watching the flocks collectively for some time. How lengthy is some time? Properly, if it’s me, I’d do it throughout a break day after I don’t have an entire lot going and might maintain an in depth eye on the birds. If any hidden aggression has remained, this would be the time limit when it rears its head, and if I’m talking from expertise, then I’d warn you that it’s often this part within the course of when blood is shed.
Many occasions, nothing finally ends up occurring. You may hear some squawking, and there is likely to be a little bit of chasing happening, however nobody is worse for put on. Different occasions, it’s all-out struggle. For instance, we had three older hens that have been candy as pie and by no means confirmed any indicators of aggression towards one another. Final spring, we launched 10 new birds to the flock, and whereas two of the hens confirmed dominant conduct, the third hen went completely ballistic. She would, in a match of rage, chase the brand new chickens round, catch one among them, and proceed to tug as many feathers out of it as she might earlier than it acquired away.
Finally, the conduct stopped, however not earlier than we deeply thought-about both rehoming her or placing her within the freezer.
Adjusting To The Dichotomy
Within the good world, issues work out wonderful, and no birds are injured within the making of this transition, however that’s not how the true world works typically. Typically sure chickens and roosters don’t essentially come round and have to be dealt with as a way to profit the well being of the general flock. This will tackle many kinds, like too many roosters or drakes that want culling, or in different instances just like the aforementioned situation with our aggressive hen. In any occasion, it is advisable to be vigilant in monitoring the brand new dichotomy of flock hierarchy.
This is the cool factor about this era although—when any tensions simmer down and the collective flock figures issues out between themselves, you’ll start to note new persona traits in all your birds. That is the a part of the method that I discover really fascinating, and it appears to go comparatively unnoticed very often.
I do know, I do know…this all looks like an extended, drawn-out course of, however typically these sorts of ready video games are one of the simplest ways for our flocks to combine in a wholesome method for not solely them however ourselves as effectively.