We get asked this question nearly every time we have customers come to the small holding. What’s the best way to introduce my new Silkie or hen to my existing flock?
In our experience introducing new birds can be a delicate process and can very much depend on the happiness of your flock going forward.
There are 5 simple steps to take to make this 1st encounter go well.
1. We would never advise trying to introduce 1 bird to an existing flock especially if your new bird is quite a bit younger. They will instantly get picked on and ostracised from the existing group. The best way is to buy them in pairs, this way the new birds have an instant ally and are not such an easy target.
2. Make sure you have plenty of room in your run as if there is some hen pecking and territorial bullying there is plenty of room for the birds to run away and escape.
3. Never introduce birds face to face in the cold light of day! This always ends in an argument of some kind.
4. Keep your new birds separate form your flock until night fall. Once your existing flock are sound a sleep in their coop, literally in the dead of night, gently put your new birds in the coop amongst the sleeping flock.
5. In the morning let the birds out into the run and by then they have all night to get used to each others smells and will adjust a lot easier to the idea of new birds in their flock.
Good luck, do let us know how you’ve got on either using this technique or not using it, we’d love your feedback.