Help Your Animals Adjust to New Homesteading Land
Adjusting Your Poultry Farming to a New Location is Easier Than You May Think
You’ve made the successful move to your new homesteading land. The hardest part is behind you, but how are your animals coping?
Moving to a new home is hard for people and animals alike. Animals have a shorter adjustment period than we do; it’s our responsibility, as their caretakers, to ensure they have what they need to make the transition smoothly. Keeping your livestock healthy before, during and after the move is the goal.
In How to Move to New Homesteading Land, we talked about all the things involved in the preparation and transportation of your livestock and how to transport chickens. Now, let’s take a look at what we need to do once we arrive.
Before you unload any poultry or livestock, stretch and take a look around. Check the areas where you’ll be unloading them. Make water and feed available before turning them out. Now is a good time to be sure you know exactly where your barnyard first aid kit is. Make sure it’s in a handy place in case you need it quickly.
Unload one kind at a time; don’t just turn everyone out at once. Allow a few moments for them to check things out before you unload the next crew. It’s especially important with large animals to use caution when unloading, remember they’re stressed. Look over each animal once they are unloaded and treat any cuts or injuries quickly.
Stay calm and speak to your animals in smooth, soothing tones. They read your energy and know if you’re anxious or frustrated. Now is the time to reassure them all is well by staying calm and level-headed.
If your new homesteading land has barns or suitable sheds already there, you’re a step ahead. They will make it easy for you to confine and evaluate your livestock. Having pasture areas already fenced in is another advantage.
Remember, even if you practice free ranging of your livestock, it will be beneficial to both you and them to provide some confinement at first. A staging area providing protection and provisions for them will make it easier for you to assess their state of health and mind. This will provide them a place of recuperation from the trip and time to learn they have food, water, and shelter available. These are all things necessary in the animal kingdom for the feeling of security and well-being.
If your new homesteading land doesn’t have these buildings, it’s important to have a plan. One of the quickest things you can do is to put up temporary homestead fencing. Electric fencing is a quick and easy option. The use of picket lines is good too.
For those of us who are poultry farming, having the new chicken coop setup would be most beneficial. If not, your transportation crate, if properly designed, should work temporarily. Be sure to provide apple cider vinegar water (1-2 tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar in 1 gallon of clean water) for a few days. This will boost their immune systems and help them deal with the stress of moving.
Unload the chickens into their yard or some kind of temporary confined area. Don’t turn them out to free range. Let the rooster out last, if at all possible. I would suggest unloading them straight into the new coop if possible.
If a new coop isn’t available, and you’re planning to house them in their transportation crate, establish a temporary fence in a small area surrounding and including the carrier. This will allow them to get out, but not to feel unsure about where to roost or lay.
If you have your new coop set up, confining them for 24 hours and then allowing them into their new yard will ensure they know where to lay eggs, sleep and escape chicken predators. I would only free range my flock after 2 weeks in the yard. Treat them just as always, making sure they have food and water consistently available.
If you change time zones, your animals don’t know about the clock. Their feeding times will need to be slowly adjusted to meet your new schedule. Keeping them as close as possible to their normal milking, feeding and release times will help reduce shock and stress.
What about our best friends, The Pack? Dogs are gifted with an incredible connection to their humans. They read our energy even before we are aware of how we’re feeling or what’s going on in our bodies. Because of this, special attention should be paid to making sure you are conveying calm, in-control energy.
Your dog needs to know you are OK so they know they are OK. Keep your daily routines as much as possible. If you take them on a pack walk every day, be sure to do it on your new homesteading land. It will help you and them.
Animals live in the moment so they will adjust more quickly than humans if the right preparations are made for them. It’s important to farming along with animal husbandry to be good stewards of the lives entrusted to us. I know it can be daunting to move livestock to new homesteading land, but with a little preparation and forethought, you can do it successfully.
When you feel overwhelmed, think about the pioneers in covered wagons. They had all their belongings, kids and any livestock they were bringing all in tow for months on end. At least we have vehicles and trailers to transport more of them quickly and safely.
Have you moved livestock to new homesteading land? Please share your tips and experience with us.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack