Thursday, February 9, 2012

Integration of Newbies

I've come to the realization that chickens are not the cleanest of animals. I would also never eat or boil chicken legs to get broth. You could probably guess as to why. Really, any other part of the chicken is fair game, but just the sight of the feet and I'm out. I never really felt like this before raising chickens myself. I didn't have an opinion on the edibility of chicken legs. Now I do. No.

Anyways-- believe it or not, this post is actually supposed to be about our two new chickens.

I do have a little experience with introducing and integrating new chickens into an existing flock. I can tell you now that there is no magic formula to making it work. You just have to try a few things and if it works, yay. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

I was lucky the first go-round introducing the Wyandotte and Gold-Sexlink chicks to the older Barred Rocks almost a year ago. I just let the new chicks in the Barred Rocks' run supervised a few times and then one day just left them in. Success! Its not going to be that easy to get my old flock of six to accept the new two. First off, the numbers are against the Turkens. Second, the flock of six have been together for nearly a year and it's easier for them to pick on two newbies. And third, the two Turkens have no feathers on their heads or necks which makes it more obvious they are not part of the group and makes them easier to peck at.

My idea? I put the two Turkens in my spare rabbit cage (30"x36") with a small feeder, water, and some hay then placed the cage in the coop run under the canvas shade cloth. This way the Turkens don't sit in the sun all day, they have plenty of food and water, and the other hens can see them and hear them without being able to peck at them. Last night I put them in the coop house at dusk and this morning I put them back in the cage at dawn. My only real concern is whether they will comfortably lay eggs in the open and bright cage. I may let them into the coop house for a few hours to lay this morning.

Nothing is guaranteed with new chickens. Hopefully in a few days they will be ready to integrate with the rest of the flock.

p.s. The Turkens still don't have names.

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