New Parents Of Chickens: Here Is What You Need To Know

Published on 01/09/2022

It is not just chocolate and sweets that do it – keeping chickens is addicting too. Are you familiar with that situation? Originally you only wanted to keep a small tribe of three or four chickens and suddenly there were ten. We’ll show you what you need to consider when getting used to new chickens, and how all animals quickly feel comfortable with you without much pecking and hoeing.

Chicken 1

New Parents Of Chickens: Here Is What You Need To Know

First Things First

When new chickens join the chickens that are already “living” there for longer, a fight over the new pecking order inevitably breaks out. Typically, the “newcomers” find themselves at the bottom of the ranking. In addition, weaker chickens are more likely to target, while fitter chickens can cause stress in the older chickens. In order for this necessary argument about the rank in the pecking order to proceed as peacefully as possible, it is important that the chickens get used to each other.

Put Chickens In The Coop With The Sleeping Chickens At Night

If it works well, new chickens can get used to it very quickly with this method. Here the chickens are “cheered” on the long-established chickens almost overnight. So when the herd sleeps quietly in their barn and is not aggressive enough, the new chickens are added. This allows them to get used to the presence and smell of the new chickens. In the morning you should watch carefully how the chickens react to their new roommates and also open the barn early so that the chickens can withdraw in the run if necessary.

Slowly Get Chickens Used To Each Other Over Several Weeks

This slower method of acclimatizing new chickens is certainly gentler and more promising, even with less experience. The new chickens are initially kept in a separate enclosure or separate area with a view and smell distance to the existing chickens. Over time, the chickens become curious about the other group without feeling like they are intruders / competitors.

Get To Know Each Other In A Neutral Space

When it is time for the two groups to get to know each other better, it is best to do so in a neutral area (e.g. a small fenced-off area in the garden) that is not yet claimed by any chicken. This is where the new chickens are placed first, which should also be given the opportunity to get used to the new environment before the old herd is added. For the next few days, too, you should give your chickens time to explore the area and not push them to do anything in order to destroy the still tender basis of trust. It is imperative that you stay close so that you can intervene in the event of aggressive behavior.

What If It Does Not Work Out?

Minor incidents of pecking and hoeing are quite normal when new chickens are acclimatized. It might take a while for the herd to regain a harmonious pecking order. Injured, bleeding or very exhausted animals must be separated from the group immediately or, in the case of minor injuries, sprayed with blue spray if necessary or, in the case of increased pecking, with a spray to prevent feathering. After a few days, the hierarchy should actually be clarified and calm should return. If after a few days or a few weeks you find that individual chickens are still being pecked and bullied, you can try the following: Isolate the attacking chicken for a few days. After this pause, they will usually find their way back into the group and be too busy adjusting to the new pecking order for time to harass.