We've had the ex-bats now for a week and they've settled down very nicely. The run and two hen houses are looking very poorly populated though and today was the day to go and pick out the rest of our hens.
The plan has always been to get a mixture. I really wanted to give some ex-bats a retirement home, they are reliable layers for the next short while, but their best laying period is coming to or is at an end...so I thought it would be good to get some hybrids at point of lay. My theory is for them to get into their peak laying as the ex-bats start to slow down and then I thought about having some chickens for fun...more pets than as egg providers.
I'm quite keen to get chickens which will give different coloured eggs too, as this is always a nice combination.
In November, a lot of places don't have the selection of chickens that they have during the spring and summer months...it's really the low season, so it was very difficult to find a good farm/breeder who would have a broad selection. I didn't mind travelling to a few places, but I did want the introduction to include all the chickens, so it was one intro and minimal stress to the ex-bats. And although I do have a separate run which I could use for introductions, I was keen not to use it for this first flock integration.
In the end, I was able to locate one place where they had a broad selection and of course I ended up with more chickens than I had planned. I am really pleased though, as I managed to get a good selection of hybrids and pure breeds, and of large and bantam fowl. Among them cream legbar, marans, pekin bantam, booted bantam, appenzeller spitzhauben, laced-winged wyandotte.
So far there have been a few scuffles as everyone gets acquainted, but nothing too major...I'm told it'll take a few days for everyone to settle down and a few weeks for them to all be nicely bonded and knowing their place in the pecking order.