INTRODUCING NEW HENS TO YOUR FLOCK

Often when new hens/pullets are brought into an existing flock there can be problems with

  • pecking
    • over domination or
      • cannabalism

      this is natural hen behaviour which may result in

      • injury
        • death or
          • retarded sexual maturity resulting in few or no eggs

          In an effort to avoid these problems your new hens/pullets should be sectioned off in their new hen house for 3-5 days allowing them to become orientated prior to physical contact with your older/existing hens that have an established pecking order.

          WHEN HENS BEGIN MOULTING

          After about 10-12 months of laying you may notice some changes in your hens & their eggs -
                 *Shells may be thinner, white shell or feel chalky & break easily
                 *Hens look a bit shabby - feathersfall out from around the neck & tail area which may cause other hens to peck at them

          This is a natural process indicating that your hens need a spell from laying (a once yearly necessity). The moult takes about 8 weeks for each hen; they may not all moult together.

          Tips for managing this important stage - 
                 *Collect eggs early each day & often to avoid breakages & prevent egg-eating due to the thin shells
                 *To help hens thru this you can confine the hens to their shed or enclosure, take away the layers diet & feed only whole oats for 1 week to reduce stress &  hen arguments (they will all stop laying together). Then return the high protein layers diet to enable hens to rejuvenate bones, skin & eye pigments and grow new feathers to make ready for another season of laying
                 *Hens may have a reduced lay rate, down to about 75% lay in their 2nd season & expect them to have all the eggs possible by the end of the 3rd season
          Some people buy new hens at this time to maintain egg numbers - read notes above to ensure a hassle-free introduction.

           

 
 
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