We have six new hens on our farm. They arrived yesterday and are trying to find their feet. It is never easy to join an established flock of hens, as they can be quite nasty towards the new arrivals.
Unfortunately, we have recently lost 2 hens so I wanted to top up the numbers. When I went to see a breeder, it was as if I was a child in a sweet shop! He had so many beautiful breeds that I ended up coming home with 6 new birds, instead of the intended two. Here are the breeds that joined us:
Vorwerk (black and russet gold), The Polish (with fancy pom pom), Ayam Cemani (jet black Indonesian breed)
Ayam Cemani and The Polish x 2 (the black one and the grey one)
The newbies are very shy and keep distance, which the ‘oldies’ like. It definitely helps when the new birds are a bit submissive at first and avoid any contact. To establish a new pecking order can take anything from 2 days to 4 weeks. It’s fascinating to watch the ‘games’ they play with each other. It’s all about who can eat first, who has the priority to get into the coop at night (they form a queue at twilight, and the ones that decides to jump it are told off), and who can use the rain shelter we built for them. To avoid any unnecessary fights, our hens now have 2 rain shelters away from the coop and their food is scattered on a large area so everyone has access to it without getting in the way of another.
Written by Agnieszka Butterworth