How to: Introduce new birds to your flock - Page 6
By reading all this it seems they will fight until a pecking order is remade? I don't have a roo so one of the hens has taken up that role, I just have to keep breaking up the fights I'm afraid one is going to get hurt. The one I'm introducing is the same age as the ones I have the "roohen" is a red sexlink and the new one is an Easter egger. Poor thing already has no feathers on her back from a rooster hate to traumatize her further.
Try the "see, don't touch" method of introduction first if you haven't. It sounds like you're putting a new hen in with another established flock who hasn't had any prior contact with each other or knowledge of each other. Yes, they will fight some but what I've read and found out first hand is that it helps to make slow introductions. Whenever you are not around, set up an area so the new hen can be beside the other flock and they can see each other but no one can get hurt because they can't touch each other. After a few weeks, you can try letting them in together or try letting them free range together so they're busy finding bugs and not as concerned with the newbie.
Or if dont free range and have them in an enclosed area and youve tried putting them together and you feel like it's too much torture, put one hen at a time in the area with the new hen and once they all have a round, see how they all do together. Or even take the roohen out and introduce the newbie to the rest of the hens first. Introductions can get very complicated but they can be done. Hope this helps.
Edited by TwoDogFarm - 6/13/16 at 7:46pm
I've never had a problem with RIRs. They've always bee real gentle and calm. I currently have some 9 week old chicks I've been introducing to their older siblings (1 year olds) and they're doing fine. I let them together for the evenings and they each go to their respective lodgings for the night. Weekends I've been letting them together all day long and they're doing fine.
Yes. I've been raising chickens for six years and no major issues but it does take planning and time. For me, the trick is doing it slow (introducing them to each other for an hour or so at a time and being sure you're there or close by to manage them, making sure they have plenty of room to run away if needed). I make sure the ratio of new birds and older gals are proportional (don't want to stick one or two "teenagers" in with a dozen or more older gals). Sometimes I've put a few of the older gals in with the younger chicks in the yard and then gradually add in older gals. If I don't have a rooster in with the new chicks, I'll introduce the adult rooster in with the teenagers for an hour or so (sticking close) and allow him to claim the new gals as his. Then when the young ones are in with the older gals, he is going to protect them from the older gals (I have a wonderful Black Australorp rooster Sambo). I have a long coop with three separate areas. These areas are divided by wire (that I have little "doors" on the wire so they can eventually have access to all areas) so they can see each other. Then I have the chicken yard where I can let the young ones out in their own yard, again they can see the older gals through the fence. Then I start opening the fence for them to check out the rest of the yard and allowing them to mix with the older ones for an hour or so at first and increase the time. They will eventually spend the days together in the big yard but it is a while longer before I allow them to over night together. Again, space is key and giving the young ones plenty of room to run from the older ones if needed. Once I open the coop for them all to be together, there's still plenty of room for them to get away from each other and the boys are in there to break up any fights. Once they're all one big happy family it is a huge relief :) The issue with laying hens being in with younger ones is the feed and calcium/nutritional needs variance. I usually "feed down" when I mix them until they're all laying. (feed chick starter to them all and supplement the calcium for the laying hens with oyster shells so they can eat what they want). I've read giving chicks too much calcium can harm their organs.
Edited by Betsy57 - 7/14/16 at 4:43am