Introducing New Birds into Your Existing Flock

| 12/22/2015 9:55:00 AM

Tags: chickens, guinea fowl, silkie chickens, chicken coops, raising livestock, poultry, West Virginia, Lydia Noyes,

One of the biggest appeals for me about moving to our historic Appalachian homestead this fall was the opportunity to have some poultry. I have a love for chickens that defies common sense for someone that has never owned her own, so I convinced my husband to make it a priority to restore the old chicken coop on our property. When we arrived in late August, the chicken coop was so choked with a weed forest that the door couldn’t be opened.

old coop

We worked together over several several weeks to clean the coop and build an outdoor run for the birds. Learning as we went and utilizing the help of several work groups, we eventually twisted the last piece of poultry wire into place and were ready to claim some chickens for our own. One of our neighbors had agreed to sell us a portion of his expansive flock, so the two of us packed the dog's crate into the back of the Sisters' pickup and drove the half mile past Big Laurel to his property to buy them.

dod and coop

We gathered the hens without too much difficulty and brought them back to our newly restored coop. The size of the coop dwarfed our six tiny hens, and the underutilized space was all the encouragement we needed to peruse Craigslist until we found more fowl to add to the mix. Two weeks after getting our original six, we added two silkie chickens, and a month after that we introduced four guinea fowl.

Within a short amount of time we have managed to get three different varieties of bird and successfully acclimated them all to each other. But often times this posses a problem because introducing new birds into an existing flock puts all of them at risk for avian diseases, territorial behaviors and the perils of the pecking order. Below are some hints and tips (some that we followed and some that we will be using in the future!) for introducing new birds into your existing flock.

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