Four Tips for Adding Chickens to Your Flock
If you own backyard chickens, you must be well aware with the ‘pecking order’ concept in the chicken society. However, many people do not realize the consequences of adding chickens to the flock, who have already established a hierarchy among themselves.
You may not realize this, but each chicken is aware of who it should be submissive to and who it can pick on. Adding new chickens will only confuse the existing flock, and the current hierarchy will suffer, since a new order will need to be established. Most chickens will fight during this time for a higher place in the hierarchy, but you will be at loss in this situation as you will find it quite difficult to control the situation at hand.
Given here are five tips to make this transition as pleasant as possible for the old and new chickens as well as yourself.
1. Place the new chickens in a different coop next to the old one
By doing this, you will allow both the flocks to become familiar with each other, while avoiding any physical contact. When you add these chickens to the main coop a week later, there might still be a little fighting, but it will not be so bad because of the earlier familiarization phase the chickens went through.
2. Introduce the chickens at night
This helps to minimize the fighting. Just place the new chickens among the old ones on the perches as chickens are least likely to begin a fight when it is dark. In the morning they will be less aware of the newcomers.
3. Distract the chickens with special treats
Another option is to diver the attention of the older chickens by feeding them vegetable scraps, grain or fresh weeds and keep them busy while adding the new chickens so that they are not too aware of what is actually happening.
4. Do not add another rooster
It is essential to remember that only one rooster will rule the roost. Roosters are extremely possessive of their chickens and if you add a new one, this will only result in endless fights and even death in order to eliminate this threat to his status. You don’t usually need a second rooster, as one is adequate for quite a few chickens.
Also, one wake-up call in the morning is enough as well, as your neighbors will surely not appreciate the crowing of two roosters so early in the morning.