It is so exciting when chicks or new members of your flock finally arrive and even more so the very first time you bring your first flock home or they hatch in the incubator or under Mama Hen. There is nothing like those early days of learning hands on even though there has been so much planning, reading of books and talking to people who already have experience with keeping backyard poultry.
Spending as much time with your new family members is the best way for them to get used to you.
Keep other pets (eg.cats/dogs) away from them especially if they have never seen poultry before, calm yourself by taking a few deep breaths and send loving thoughts to your new feathered friends as you make eye contact and be around them, they will soon learn to trust you. If you are nervous, the birds will surely pick up on that and become more nervous themselves.
Keep your movements calm and talk softly to them as you go about changing their bedding, food and water dishes. Even when your chicks have grown up. An animal may not completely understand what you are saying but will pick up on your energy.
Know one likes having a hand waved straight in front of their eyes, try and always pat a bird away from their eyes. Approach them from behind when patting them that way they don’t startle quickly and react to your gentle touch not your hand waving across their eyes.
When you do pick up your feathered darlings remember no sudden movements, be confident in yourself, tuck their wing in and hold them close to your side, they will pick up on your steady heart beat and it will be calming for them, talk to them gently, stroke their feet, gently pat them. All so gently gently.
Being so hands on and familiar with your feathery flock is such a good easy way to give them a quick health check without them even noticing and easily pick up on any health problems. eg. One afternoon while sitting on the bench seat in our Quince Orchard Miss Lil noticed something out of the ordinary with one of our Indian Runner ducks, her neck feathers ever ever so slightly made a curved pattern half way down her neck, not something we would have noticed if we had just thrown them grain and not taken the time to check in on them or be so familiar with them. 5-10 minutes out of the day is nothing really is it but the health benefits for the animals and our own mental health benefits greatly. Back to our gorgeous duck Daisy, we quickly picked her up, she was calm because she is used to us handling her and we could easily remove a thin piece of wire looped around her neck, who knows how that piece of wire could have even been in the Orchard. We think it may have come from a hay bale, maybe the farmer had dropped it in his paddock after doing some fencing? Maybe when the paddock was slashed and baled and hay bales sold to us it was transported here? Maybe when we broke the hay bale up into biscuits and mulched the garden we didn’t see the wire it was so thin? Maybe when Daisy was dabbling making drill holes in the mulch the wire went over her neck? We’ll never know.
But we are grateful that it wasn’t there for long, it did no damage and Daisy is safe and well.
Benefits of knowing your flock
March 2, 2019