Our little flock has dwindled to four hens. I want to add two or three more hens because we need the eggs. I've read some threads about introducing new hens, but none that specifically address my question.
The coop is an 8x10-foot closed section with the nests and roosts, attached to another 8x10-foot open section screened and with a dirt floor. I feed the chickens in mid-morning, keeping them closed in until early afternoon, when I let them out to free-range until dusk. They have plenty of room inside the coop, but they do love their free-range time.
When I bring in the new hens, I assume I will need to confine them for a day or two until the introductions have been made and they feel settled in their new home. Is it then okay to let them out? Will they know to come home? Would it help to let them all out quite late in the day so that they don't range too far? There's no way I could let some out and keep others confined, so the existing four will have to tolerate confinement, and I would like to keep that to a minimum.