It is important when bringing home chickens, either for the first time, or introducing new chickens to the flock, that you take the time to settle them into their new home. Chickens can get stressed easily so monitor them for any signs of stress and give them breaks if need be. These tips should help you settle your new feathery friends in with ease!
Tips for introducing chickens to their new home:
- Prepare the coop by sprinkling fresh wood shavings on the floor and padding out the nesting boxes.
- Place feed and water inside the coop, ready for your newcomers.
- Your chickens might be a little stressed on arrival so give them time to familiarise themselves with their new home.
- Keep them within the coop for about 24 hours before letting them out to roam and explore.
Tips for introducing chickens to an established flock:
- Existing flocks have hierarchies in place which will need to be re-established once new feathered friends arrive.
- Be prepared for some pecking and chasing in the first couple of days as the chooks work out who’s who in the pecking order. Things should calm down once the order is established.
- During this adjustment stage, watch out for bullying. If you’re worried about the newcomer, remove her from the coop, allow her to recuperate, and reintroduce her at a later stage.
Tips for introducing chickens to other pets:
- Introduce and socialise gradually and under supervision.
- Most dogs will soon become quite protective of their feathered friends, which will help deter foxes and other predators. You may need to allow time for this to happen so do not rush this process.
- If your other pets do not take to the chickens as part of the pack right away (or at all), ensure your chickens have enough space to roam without interference from other furry family members. Setting clear boundaries and areas for each pet will help and do not allow your dogs or cats frighten or chase the chickens as this will stress your birds.
Information sourced from Ridley AgriProducts 2017, The Barastoc Chook Book, 9th edn.