DOUBTS ABOUT THE MAGICAL WORLD OF POULTRY? #ASK THE EXPERT!

Adding new hens to an existing chicken coop

WELCOME TO A NEW CHAPTER OF THE #QUESTIONALLESPERTO COLUMN WITH MAURIZIO ARDUIN – CENTRO STUDI RÈGIA STAZIONE SPERIMENTALE DI POLLICOLTURA!

Can I add new hens to an existing henhouse?

It is always inadvisable to add new hens to an existing group. When purchasing pullets, they should be enclosed for about a week in the new hen house. In this way, a hierarchy (closed group) is established between the pullets, which is necessary for maintaining tranquillity.

Whenever new individuals are introduced into a ‘closed group’, they are intruded upon and the ritual fighting begins. In a natural environment, after a few threatening parades, the intruders spontaneously move away in search of another territory. However, this does not happen in breeding, as the environment is fenced off. In this way, the dominant birds continue to peck at the new arrivals with the sole aim of asserting their supremacy. The succession of pecking may, however, lead to the appearance of a few drops of blood that arouse the curiosity of the dominant hen and all the other hens, which learn by imitation. At this point the initial ritual behaviour degenerates, turning from a game into a vice and cannibalism.

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