Sunday, September 18, 2011

Adding New Hens to an Established Flock

Dear Miss Lizzy,
I realize you have posted about adding new faces to a flock of hens, but what advice would you give to a person who is adding ADULT birds to a flock of non-laying hens?  Will this work out well for both ages of birds involved in the 're-grouping'?
Wondering in Wisconsin
Miss Lizzy
Dear "Wondering",
The same helpful hints Miss Lizzy has given before DO APPLY in this situation: Introduce new birds as close to dusk or nightfall, when its ROOSTING TIME for all.  When the birds awake in the morning, little or no notice will be taken for all concerned, as they've had all evening and morning to get used to the new scents and an extra 'head count' taken at nightfall.
"Nameless" Animal lover
As a matter of fact, just the other week a couple of "new-bees" were added to our flock of young pullets back here in the Woods!  oooOOOOOOoooooo!!!  A young girl (who shall remain nameless!) had to re-home her 2 beloved laying hens, LuLu and Gertie.  After investigating other options, she came in contact with 'the ChickenWrangler', and what good fortune she had that day!  The family came over to do some investigations of the grounds and of Coop Security.  Lucky LuLu and Gregarious Gertrude, after a brief stand-off with the established flock, were able to remain on the top of the pecking order because of their age status as "ready producers".

Royal 'New-Combers'!
Age before Beauty, Miss Lizzy always says! oooOOOOOooooo! However, if there is an elderly hen that has neared the end of her laying days, it is best to add her to a group of 'Retired Senior Citizens' because the younger gals may perceive her as INFIRM and could challenge her authority in the days ahead, leading to an unhappy ending.  Likewise, remember to quarantine any birds that may appear ill or a little "off", since the needs and desires of the MANY will outweigh the needs of the FEW (meaning the Best Eats will go to the healthiest of the flock).  One must always think of the whole flock as well; you don't wish the rest of the birds to come down with any ills that affect one or two birds.  Always have a 'House of Isolation" at the ready.
    Miss Lizzy hopes this answers all of your concerns.  oooOOOOOOOooooo!
Miss Lizzy, signing off!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer's Over, Fall's Begun!

Some of the trees are just beginning to color up for Autumn - my favorite time of the year.  It doesn't seem that we've had much of a summer - the weather has been so humid, which is not typical of Michigan.  Generally we have a few hot and humid weeks, but this year its been unbearable!
Borrowed Photo - Cute, eh?
One of my hens went broody in July, and at first I thought she might be a bit under the weather - she would just sit in the nest box and was non-producing.  No eggs, just sitting there.  I would put her outside, she'd eat a few bites, then chase the other hens around for a while.  Again I would find her indoors, just sitting.  I have generally selected breeds that do NOT get broody - I want eggs, not chicks.  I have no roosters.  But this girl started sitting on STONES - Peach Pits - ANYTHING she thought she could hatch!  When I noticed that, well, I figured I needed to stop it right then and there!  She was not ill - she was BROODY!

I got a large airy cage prepared for her and placed it up off the ground, then placed her inside of it with food and water.  She was ANGRY!  She kept running around inside of it, hackles raised, tail feathers standing at attention - nothing would calm her down.  So, I let her be.  She had protection from the weather when she needed it, and clean food and water every day, twice a day.

She remained in the cage for 1 1/2 weeks, and after I let her out of Chicken Prison, she was COOL, calm, and collected!  Raising of the cage reduces the hens' body heat. Isolating her in an open area helps her change her mind set and get it away from being in seclusion.  It worked very well; she was just fine and started laying again in another 2 weeks.

Happy Fall, y'all!
the ChickenWrangler