Wednesday, 18 March 2009
So far so good
I decided now the other hens are well again ( still not sure quite what the problem was) that it was time the young ones joined the flock. For the past 4 weeks they have been in a small run within the larger one. They are approx 16/17 weeks old and probably should still be on growers rather than layers pellets but it seems a shame to keep them enclosed.
After reading a variety of books etc. it appeared that the best way to introduce them was to put them in the larger house with the others after they had gone to roost.The theory being that in the morning they would all wake up happy. So last night after they had all gone to bed, I took each of the older hens from the house and dusted them with Barriers organic louse powder and then did the same to the younger ones ( another theory is, if they all smell the same they are less likely to fight.) We also clipped a wing of the younger two as they are quite small and flighty. We then returned them to their own houses to settle and planned to put the young ones in when it was truly dark....I 'chickened out' ! worrying that they would wake before I was up to let them out in the morning and they would be confined to the house with nowhere to escape.
So this morning after returning from seeing to the geese and sheep I opened all doors to the ark ......nothing. After a while the two did venture out. True to her name Mona complained loudly but continued to eat the corn I had scattered in the hope of distracting them. There have been a few feathers flying and much squawking but now there is a stand off with the two groups in their separate corners. So far so good ...I think
Update: The younger hens stayed out and explored their new area for most of the day. There was very little scrapping, each camp preferring to keep apart. They were instinctively more nervous of what flew overhead than Mona and the gang complaining of their presence.Tonight each group went to bed in their own homes...I think I will continue with this arrangement for the time being.