Saturday, 30 October 2010

New Chickens!

 Well I finally managed to get round to collecting some new girls. I really wanted some pure breeds, but there are very few suppliers near me, and even fewer with POL hens at this time of year! I spotted a newish supplier of hybrids and went to have a look, and hopefully to buy 3 new girls.

 No your eyes do not deceive you - there really are 4 in there! A ranger - Marigold, on the left, 2 columbines (blue egg layers), Daisy and Daffodil and underneath them all is Lily, a whitestar and white egg layer. The columbines were so pretty and came in such a variety of colours, I couldn't choose just one!
 The old girls glaring at the new girls in the run!
 I have a tried and tested method of introducing new hens. It only works because they have space and height in the run. I start by putting the new hens into the cube and shutting them in for a few minutes.
 Then I let the old girls out of the run to free range, and I shut them out. The new girls are then allowed out of the cube and into the run. They get a few hours peace to find the food and water and settle in. 
 I then allow one or two of the older girls back into the run, with the newbies. There is often a bit of chasing, but the new girls soon find the high perches and once up there the old girls leave them alone. I leave it as late as possible before allowing the old girls back in to roost - they then have very little time to harrass the newbies before going to bed. They are let out to freerange again first thing next morning.
 For 5 days I make sure that the old girls get shut out of the run to freerange for several hours a day. This gives the newbies chance to fly down for food and water. I also scatter lots of treats in the run during this time. The new girls will often fly down to investigate whilst the oldies are distracted.
 After 5 days they are all let out to freerange together.
 This time I was introducing 4 to 7, so safety in numbers. But I've used the same method to introduce 2 or 3 to 10 and it still works.
 Marigold and Lily were first out.
 Daisy and Daffodil were a little more wary.
 But the lure of green grass soon took hold.
 They are so funny compared to the old girls. The oldies just pootle around the garden. These girls jump and skip and flap and get quite giddy with the newness of it all. They are so funny to watch.
 This picture was taken when they had been with me for 7 days. They are all out freeranging together. No hassle at all from the old girls. So I am now back up to 11 hens. And not one solitary egg for 2 weeks! I am just praying that at least one of my new girls starts laying before christmas. We had to BUY eggs this week :0(

No comments: