We went to pick up our new girls on Saturday evening. Ideally, when adding new chickens to your flock, you are supposed to segregate your new hens for two weeks to a month to make sure they are not sick and so that they don’t contaminate your flock with illness or disease.
We don’t have the space or the setup in our small backyard to do that. I knew from past experience, that introducing new hens to the old flock would not be easy. Girls will be girls, and girls can be MEAN to those outside of their clique. New girls are a threat to the pecking order, so introductions have to be done gently.
When we put the cage on the back porch, Helen (Black Australorp) came up to the cage immediately, and seemed very curious. Eula (Rhode Island Red) came up and attacked the cage and tried to peck through the holes at the new girls. Not what I had hoped would happen.
Since we couldn’t segregate the new girls indefinitely, I decided to de-worm them, and dust them for mites. It’s a good thing I did, because the next day, I found two piles of poop that were full of worms. The worms were probably about three inches long. (WARNING: Graphic Pile O’ Poop Follows)
After I gave the hens some food and water, we decided to put the old flock in the run, so that the new girls could explore and stretch their legs (and wings) a bit.
Though they seemed to be excited to be out and about, they eventually went over to the run. They wanted to be with the other girls.
We experimented with letting the older hens out a few at a time, starting with the most docile of the flock. There were a few skirmishes, but it was not too bad.
When it was time for them to go to bed, I had to put the new girls on the roost. In the morning, after all of the other hens had gone out, the new ones didn’t know to come down and go out. I had to help them along.
When the new girls started to come out toward the patio, the old flock moved away into the corner.
Then they got brave, and started strutting, determined to take back their territory.
…and I heard a song starting to waft through the trees…
When you’re a Jet,
You’re a Jet all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin’ day.
When you’re a Jet,
Let them do what they can,
You got brothers around,
You’re a family man!
You’re never alone,
You’re never disconnected!
You’re home with your own–
When company’s expected,
You’re well protected!
To make a long story short, they have done remarkably well. I had to put Eula (the Rhode Island Red) in ‘time out’ (in the run by herself) for about an hour yesterday because she was proactively seeking the young hens out to peck them. She had shaped up quite a bit after that. Helen (Black Australorp) much to my dismay, was picking on the young Black Australorp. For the most part, however, the old hens stuck together on one side of the yard, and the new hens stuck together on the other.
The new hens names are:
Mabel (Black Australorp)
I had the windows open that first day (so I could hear what was going on outside), and spent a good portion of the day outside watching. I know from past experience that things can get nasty quick when adding new hens to the flock. At one point, I went in to get ready for the day, and when I came back out, Mabel was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. I looked in the hen house, the nesting box on the porch, all around a big clump of Mondo Grass. I started praying. Could a hawk have gotten her? We really don’t have many predators around, though the bayou is close, and we did see a hawk one time. I also thought maybe she found her way underneath a gap underneath the gate, so I looked in the front yard and around the sides of the house. Then, after I double checked every place I had already looked, something told me to look INSIDE of the clump of Mondo Grass.
Beatrice found the box on the porch, and laid an egg toward the late afternoon. Gertie was in the box on the porch later, but didn’t lay an egg until the following day. Her eggs are blue! These hens will be a year old in February.
All in all, things have gone really well! I love my new girls, and I’m hoping the other hens will welcome them to the flock soon. We’ll be taking the hens with us when we go up to the Little House in November, and the trip up there could be kind of nasty if they don’t learn to love each other soon.
“Lord, I thank You for all the times you have hidden me from the enemy. You are a strong tower that I can run to whenever I sense the encroachment of evil into my life. Because of You I don’t have to be afraid of the enemy’s plans against me.
Today, I ask You to keep me safe and protected from all evil so that I can be free to grow in service to You and become all You created me to be.” – Stormie O’Martian (Prayers for Emotional Wholeness)