Sunday, August 4, 2013
Integrating New Members of the Flock
Whenever you add new chickens to your flock, it's good to isolate them at first to make sure they are healthy and don't infect your other chickens with respiratory issues, cocci, mites, or any of the other problems that can come with our feathered friends.
Clara Belle and Windy came from a local woman who has lots of chickens and is a certified wildlife rehabilitator. There were peacocks and turkeys and deer and goats and ducks everywhere! It was important to me to get our new chickens from someone local, and who I knew took proper care of them. Unlike our current chickens (before we bought them, anyway), these have free-ranged and know what it means to forage.
There was, however, an outbreak of cocci earlier in the year, so Becky recommended I treat for it because it can flare up with stress (moving to a new home, being handled by kids, etc.) This is a fairly common problem in flocks, as they are bacteria that live in the soil and can be spread via poop. Thankfully, Tractor Supply carries Corid, which is the medicine needed to treat cocci (which can certainly be fatal). It comes in a powder form, and it's as easy as mixing 1/2 tsp per gallon of water. Chickens should drink that water for 5 days.
So, during these 5 days, CB and Windy will be isolated from our girls, and will be kept out of our yard. It's quite probable that we have cocci in our soil (everyone does) and that our girls have developed immunity, but since there are like 9 different strains, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Once their 5 days are up, we will bring the crate outside and set it near the chicken tractor, so our girls can become familiar with their scent but won't be able to peck the snot out of them (It's Scarlett I'm worried about. She's the boss!) Then one night, we'll just place these girls in the coop on the roosts and hope for the best in the morning when they awake and find themselves all together. Unfortunately, most of this will fall on Stephen's shoulders, as I'll be away at the EAS Conference next week!
Incidentally, look at Windy's legs (the one on the left). They are not yellow like CBs, which makes me think she might be a Light Sussex instead of a Colombian Wyandotte (this means her name is all wrong, but it's stuck!) She's larger then CB, too, even though they were hatched at the same time. I do admit to wondering if we again fell victim to the Wyandotte late-maturing rooster trap, but since the Sussex mature faster than Wyandottes, that would make total sense. Time will tell. (The other reason to buy from a local person is that if 'she' turns out to be a rooster, we will return it and not be left up the creek without a paddle.)