Adding To Your Flock

Many of a start with just a few chickens and then quickly learn that we want to add more to the flock. Here's how to do that properly and safely
  1. Buff Hooligans
    Adding New Chickens to Your Flock
    Compiled and edited by Buff Hooligans

    Part One: Quarantine!

    Part Two: Understanding Flock Dynamics (the Pecking Order)
    Part Three: So You Still Want to Introduce New Chickens to Your Flock?
    Methods of Introduction
    Part 1
    Most Important Advice Ever: Quarantine!
    From a post by "lilchick" on September 16, 2008
    Most of us have felt sorry for and rescued chickens. But not taking the proper time and work to keep them separate from your original flock spells disaster! Picture losing your pet chicken to a disease brought in by some chicken that you have no feelings for. The guilt can make you want to get out of raising chickens. Not to mention the work to clean up your environment to make it safe for anymore chickens to live there. Been there, done that. My SweetTart is buried beside the pond and I walk by his grave each morning to go do chores....

    Quarantine advice from BYC Member "MissPrissy" (paraphrased)
    Getting more chickens? Read here first, please! I know many of you are planning to pick up new chickens at some of the upcoming swaps and meets. Please read this and take to heart some very simple advice given by an experienced chicken owner.
    When you get new chickens, please do not go straight home and put them in with your current flock. Do not put them in a pen inside your existing coop. Do not house them in the same area as your current flock.
    Be prepared. Make a place for them to live alone and away from your current flock for an extended time. If you don't have an area now, then please don't get new chickens until you do.
    New chickens need to be quarantined away from your other chickens for at least 30 days. Each flock of chickens has their own germs that make them immune to certain things in their environment. Speckledhen’s flock in Georgia has a far different natural flora and fauna in their system than my flock up here in Virginia. That is to be expected. But Johnny Farmer down the road and Susie Sunshine a few miles farther also have flocks that are immune to different microbiology in their immediate environment.
    During the quarantine:
    1. Observe for any signs of illness or disease.
    2. Practice good hygiene and wash your hands a lot!
    3. Enjoy your new birds while planning how to best integrate them into the flock at the end of the quarantine.
    4. Give new birds a supplement in their water to boost their immune system. Give them good probiotics - as simple as giving them a dish of yogurt.
    5. You might consider giving them a little extra protein as they will be stressed being in a new place and might drop some feathers or a little weight.
    Please give serious consideration to these simple ways of protecting your chickens, your kids and yourself.

    Quarantine advice from BYC Member "Speckledhen" (the Quarantine Queen):
    I've seen so many people who have bought new birds, and because they seem healthy, immediately throw them in with their flock. You MUST quarantine newly purchased birds unless you have bought chicks from a hatchery.
    Disease can take up to a month to show up in a seemingly healthy chicken. Many, many of these common diseases make a chicken a carrier for life, and if your flock gets it, they become carriers for life. Some are even reportable to the state and the birds must be destroyed in some cases.
    Some sellers are not aware their birds are ill, and some are just plain unscrupulous and don't care. I have only purchased ONE grown bird (my roo Hawkeye), and I kept him in quarantine for over a month. During the quarantine, I found that he did have a fungal infection on his comb and face and lice. I treated both and he was healed of both by the time he joined my flock, but it was very stressful and I'll probably never buy adult birds again.
    During quarantine, the main things to look for are lice, mites, breathing problems, discharges from eyes or nostrils, fungus type patches on the combs and wattles, raised scales on the legs, indicating scaly leg mites, etc. I certainly understand not having money for them to be vet-checked, and truthfully, most vets know nothing about chickens anyway.
    They should not share the same airspace because some diseases are airborne, as in coughing and sneezing, etc. I put my Hawkeye in a dog kennel in the basement bathroom while I went over things about him and fed him proper feed and observed his health. He did not breathe the same air as my flock for over a month.
    And you may ask what to do if you see any symptoms in the quarantined birds after the month is over? I can only tell you what I would have done with Hawkeye if he had had anything contagious other than a fungus that could be fixed - I would have put him down. He came very close, too. What I thought at first glance to be canker in his throat turned out to be just a wad of feed on the wall of the throat. He got a clean bill of health and has been a wonderful addition to my flock, but it could just as easily gone the other way. It's harsh, but it's reality. Keeping that one bird would never have been worth risking my entire healthy flock.
    [B]As long as you follow the quarantine "protocol", then most of the time, you can stop a disease from running through your flock if you accidentally bring in an infected bird. I would much rather put down one bird than endanger my entire flock.[/B]

    I even tell people who buy my birds to quarantine. To my knowledge, they have never had anything communicable at all, but what happens if they have just contracted something and haven't shown symptoms yet for me to know? Quarantining is just a good practice.
    Practical Biosecurity (by MissPrissy)
    An Important Part of Quarantining and Ongoing Maintenance
    To be safe you really need to practice good biosecurity.
    Do not handle the new birds and then go take care of and play with your current flock. Take care of your old flock first, wash your hands, then see to the needs of the new birds. Then go wash your hands again, making sure your clothes go into the hamper or laundry and the bottoms of your shoes are clean. I have an old coat and a pair boots that I only wear to the barn. No place else will you catch me wearing them. I take my shoes off outside and they have a place where they sit alone away from other things my kids might come in contact with. Periodically I do give them a spray with a disinfectant. I also try to knock off mud and stuff from the fields before coming back to the house.
    By doing all this, have I prevented germs from spreading? Probably not, but I have attempted to limit what I drag in from the barn on my boots and clothes.
    Keep the new chickens as far away from your older chickens as possible. When you feed and water and clean up do everything you need to do for your older chickens first. Then take care of the needs of the new chickens. You need to do this for about six weeks. During this time watch the new chickens. Moving and rehoming chickens is stressful on them. It is during this time of stress that any illness or disease they might be carrying will manifest itself. Look around and you will see many very sad stories in the archives of people bringing home new chickens and ending up losing their entire flock.
    For more information about biosecurity, click on the following threads:

    Part 2
    Understanding Flock Dynamics (the Pecking Order)
    (by BYC Member Buff Hooligans)
    A beginning chicken owner would like to think that when she gets chickens, they are all going to be friends and get along as one big happy family. And we naively hope that when we add a few new "friends" to the group, they will welcome them with open wings and invitations to share treats.
    But the reality is that in any established group of chickens, each chicken’s personality comes into play in the form of the order of dominance. There’s a dominant bird (usually a rooster if the flock has one) all the way down to the lowest bird (usually the meekest or gentlest). Generally, older chickens will be dominant over younger ones.
    The order is established by, yes you guessed it, pecking. And the stinkeye...blocking other birds from access to food and water...fighting...trash talking...bumping chests...rushing at, and generally making life difficult and stressful for any "lower" bird getting in the way of a more dominant bird. This sometimes takes only a few days, but can last as long as two weeks.
    If there are several assertive birds competing for the top spots, the squabbling can get violent, even drawing blood. Curious chickens can’t resist pecking at an open wound, making the wound even worse, sometimes even causing death.
    A flock establishing pecking order is not pretty.
    But once established, a pecking order actually reduces conflict within a flock. Since everyone knows exactly where they belong in the hierarchy, disputes are settled much more quickly by the lesser yielding to the more dominant in the group. Even mammals have that, for instance, wolf packs.
    So, we just have to grit our teeth, add any new chickens wisely (see Part 3), keep an eye out for possible injuries during scuffles, and realize that that stressful period of flock re-adjustment is totally necessary to future flock peace.
    Part 3
    So You Still Want to Introduce New Chickens to Your Flock?
    It is best to introduce chickens that are the same size as the established flock.
    Make sure there is adequate room in your coop and run for the increased number of birds. Overcrowding will stress the birds and make them less tolerant of newcomers.
    Make sure there are places for the new chickens to run and hide to get away from the aggressive birds.
    Always make sure the established chickens are not keeping the new chickens from the food and water dishes. Put out more feeders and waterers for during this adjustment time if necessary.
    Interfere with the pecking order process only if blood appears or it is clear that an individual is going to be beaten down no matter what. Unless there’s blood, the less interference from us well-meaning owners, the better.
    If there is one established bird that is super aggressive, take that bird out and keep her in a separate pen or dog crate by herself for a few days. When she is re-introduced to the flock, she will be taken down a few pegs because she’s considered "new".
    But sometimes, no matter how carefully you try to manage an introduction, it might be necessary to rehome either a newcomer or a super aggressive original flock member.
    Various Methods of Introducing New Chickens to Your Flock:
    A long period of "seeing but no touching" is highly advised. After the quarantine period, put new birds in a nearby pen (or in a large dog crate inside the run or coop) for several weeks or a month so they can get visually acquainted without being able to physically scuffle. They may try to fight through the wire, but they can’t do real damage to each other. During this time, you can let each group out to free-range at separate times from each other - in shifts.
    After several weeks of seeing but not touching, allow the birds to inhabit the same coop/run, but leave the dog crate or temporary pen in the run so that a picked-on bird can decide for herself to stay in or out, and have a place to run and hide if necessary.
    If your chickens free-range, BYC Member "Bantymum" suggests introducing chicken groups to each other by letting the new chickens out first in the morning so they can roam the yard to get to know the place, water and food locations, etc., while the others are still locked up. Then she lets the older ones out, and although there is some squabbling, it usually settles down in a couple of days.
    Another method is releasing them to all free-range together. This is a less stressful way of introducing flocks to each other than if you put the new ones in an enclosed pen with the established flock. While free-ranging, a new bird that gets hassled has plenty of room to run and more places to hide.
    Another method is to put both groups of birds in a place unfamiliar to both groups - a neutral territory so to speak. Neither group will have established ownership and will be on equal unfamiliar footing, giving them something to think about other than who belongs there and who might be an unwelcome intruder.
    Many BYC members swear by putting new chickens on the coop roost after dusk, when the established chickens are all settled down for the night. In the morning, they all wake up together - and the established chickens are thinking to themselves "hey, have I missed noticing those other girls all this time??", and they will go about their business. A pecking order will still need to be established, but it will be more gentle, and should be done with in about three days.
    Particular Scenarios:
    Be very watchful when introducing Polish chickens. Other chickens can’t seem to resist pulling the feathers out of Polish’s tophats. Sometimes a Polish’s skull and brain is injured when the picking / pulling becomes aggressive. Vigilant supervision for several weeks is recommended.
    It is generally not wise to introduce a single bird to an established flock. Being alone and new is a double disadvantage, and it isn’t fair to them. That being said, only introduce a single hen to an established flock if she’s the same size as them, and monitor the dynamics carefully.
    Introducing chicks to adults: Do not introduce chicks to adult chickens until the chicks are fully feathered and as close to the same size as the established flock as possible. BYC Member "Pumpkinpup" discovered "that as long as the chicks are still making baby noises, don’t put them with grown birds!" She had three bad episodes in her early chicken experience, and that was "enough carnage to make a believer out of" her. It is absolutely safest to wait until the chicks are sixteen weeks old.
    If you MUST introduce younger chicks to adults, here is a method which succeeded for BYC Member "Ruth". She put some chicks in a pen (a Chick-n-Hutch) inside the run with the "big girls". The big girls all came to say hello and check them out. For the first two weeks, she let the babies out into the closed run while the big girls were out free-ranging. Then, under Ruth’s supervision, the chicks stayed loose in the run when the big girls returned to the run for feedings. She says "the big girls never bothered the babies and the babies were really quick to learn to run and stay out of their way". After several weeks, in the evenings, Ruth left the chick’s hutch open so the chicks could escape into it when necessary, and to chose when to put themselves to bed, and Ruth would come out later to close up the hutch. One night Ruth came out to close the chick hutch and they weren’t in there. She looked in the big coop and the chicks were snuggled up on the floor with her dominant hen. From then on, the chicks were treated just like the rest of the gang and allowed to free-range the property and come and go as they pleased.
    Introducing very young chicks to other young chicks (during the brooder stage): Here’s a method used by BYC Member "Davaroo" with some degree of success (paraphrased):
    "Keep them apart until nightfall. When the group of chicks in the brooder are all settled down, slip the new chicks in as quietly as possible. In the morning, turn on all the lights and make a big commotion. Fill the feeders and waterers with a big, messy fuss. Your little peepers will be so worried about the commotion you’re making and getting to the freshly placed food, that they will forget to fight very much (at least not more than usual). Being flock birds, chickens flee danger together, and they feed together for the same reasons. These activities are "bonding" for them."
    Special Considerations for Roosters: Generally, two or more roosters will only get along with each other if they have been raised together (same age), and are not near hens. If there are hens in the picture, the roos will fight each other to be the dominant roo.
    New roo to established hens Keep in mind that a minimum of ten hens per roo is recommended.
    Don’t introduce an adult roo to a flock that already has a roo. The fighting for dominance over the flock could mean serious injury or death to one.
    If you add a new roo to a flock of hens, it is wise to chose a young (year-old) roo or one the same age as the hens, and one that’s the same size or smaller than your hens. Hens will definitely peck at him to establish the pecking order. If he turns out to be a docile roo, he could get hurt.

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  1. adni02
    Great article
  2. Glen30458
    Very good article and I learned a lot reading it but in my particular situation I am still in need of advice/guidance. Please allow me to explain our current flock dynamics.
    We have 4 older hens (two are currently raising chicks) that we recently added a whole new flock to. It took a couple of weeks for things to get more peaceful but now we have the two older hens mixed in with 2 roosters and 17 hens. The new flock is all very close in age and around 16 weeks old now.
    The hatchery shipped us 6 replacement chicks (for ones who died in transit) and they are around 7 weeks old. We call this batch the 6 pack. They are housed in a coop with a wire front inside the pen about 4 feet off the ground and have good visual exposure to the other adults in the pen/run.
    Now to complicate things a tad more we have two broody hens who just hatched chicks. The first batch of 7 chicks (we call them the skittles flock) is 4 weeks old and kept with mother hen in a seperate but visible to main flock, broody pen. The other broody hen hatched 8 chicks (yet to name that group) and those chicks are 3 weeks old. They are also kept in a broody pen located just above the first broody hen and her chicks. Both mother hens and their chicks are let out to free range (they stay near their pen and under out constant supervision) at least a couple of times a day.
    Well, our issue is that we really don't want to have to go through new bird flock integration 3 different times as these 3 batches of chicks mature. Should we take the baby chicks from the mother hens and put all the young ones together? That would make 21 new birds to be introduced to a flock of about the same size at once. Or should we let the mother hens do the work of introducing their youngsters (note the mother hens have been apart from the flock for so long they are not part of the flock at present).
    We can the space to try flock integration in almost any fashion including allowing all the birds to free range, isolated pens next to each other, etc. We would welcome any advice on how to get this done in the most reasonable manner possible given the age spreads between all the younger chicks.
  3. Chicken Goddess
    A good thing is that after you have quarantined your chicken, and the others dont like the newbie, build a seperate hen house like a small one just until the others chickens are friendly to the new chick
  4. what's kickin' chicken
    thank you for this article ... lots of info.
  5. ESMayes
    I am adding 2 more to my girls and this has helped me ... they are free range and I have worried about the two new ones I will be getting but should I keep them in the pen for a couple of weeks without the others during the day so they know where to lay?
  6. little farmer
    Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!! This article helped sooo much!!!
  7. cluckcluckluke
    Great article, but has scared me so much. I only Quarantine my "new" hens for maximum 2 weeks. This sucks........ but still good to read i suppose MORE work shall be put in............
  8. ChicksareforKid
    This is a very thorough and useful article. I have one tip to add. After quarantine, on the first few days of adding to my flock, I have hung a cabbage or leafy green from a rope in the middle of the pen. This novelty so distracts my dominant hens that the newbies have a chance to eat and drink and find hiding places. I read this obscure tip somewhere, and use it often.
  9. Lynette
    Very good information. I have tried introducing newer chickens at night, but it didn't work out at all. One of them got beat up so I had to take them all back out again. The method that works for me is my flock living in separate areas next to each other and letting them free-range together. It works great and I have no more stressful situations.
  10. sushifish
    Thank you so much, all of this information is very helpful!!!
  11. blondiebee181
    Great article! I have introduced new birds before using similar methods, but some people don't stop and immediately think through the steps, they are too excited about their new aquisitions, so this is a great article.
  12. stevetone
    A lot of good info here. Thanks for compiling it!
  13. chicki-vicki
    what an eye opener for this newbee - thanks - I am going to have to rethink a few things for coop/run design
    I do have a question - I hope to be ready for chicks in spring - since they will all be biddies and thats my beginnings(no other chicks) - can they all be kept together - and should I buy them all at the same time and from thr same place?
  14. MLWoods
    We are new and of course want to have our flock of six (hatched in august) expaded to about 10. We thought we would wait for a hen to go broody, and when we are sure she is going to set, get some fertile eggs to switch out from another local chicken keeper that is breeding swedish flower hens. So, could I expect my broody mom to keep her chicks safe when they hatch? Our girls generally don't mess around with eachother. Because they get along so well we are not even positive who is the top bird. Also, when we hatch chicks from a broody, how do we keep the chicks eating the started feed and the big girls eating their layer feed?
  15. DianaMallory
    Helpful a little but found that you need to discuss the ages of birds more. I followed on method that I read here on byc and it didn't work out for me. I put my 8 week old chicks on the roost with my older flock and they were to young! I did the side by side run and the brooder in the coop for one month. Then I went back to step 2 putting them side by side in the run and coop with fence in between them. I removed the fencing at 12 weeks, still having problems but starting to come around at least I didn't have to separate them again. They are 14 weeks old now and the pecking order still hasn't been established so my chicks spend the most time in the coop up on the roost away from the flock. I have made sure they have food and water separate from the older girls. The problem is the younger girls will not squat when pecked at. They are still running away. I can pet my younger girls and they don't peck me or squat. The older girls all squat when I touch them. For 2 weeks the younger ones hardly ventured out into the run. They come out now for short periods until one of the older girls pecks at them then they run back into the coop. Long story shortened, This process has been a royal pain in the bum! If I had known ahead of time I would have got all my chickens at one time. I know better next time! It has been so bad I almost built a new coop and run for my chicks! That probably would have been less work!
  16. chickenandchick
    Thankyou so much, this article has helped so much, and now all my chickens understand where they are in the pecking order, and everyone gets along.
  17. Sabrina 42
    I also didn't quaranteen (didnt even think of it as I'm new to urban farming) but did put out the de-wormer this morning in their water. I'll set out some de-stresser tomorrow in their water.
  18. Sabrina 42
    I just brought home a silkie and a cochin to my already 1 rooster and 4 hens all between 3 & 4 months old. This pecking order business is pretty insane. My rooster is instigating the rest of the flock to be relentless in attacking my newbies. I decided to harness my rooster so he can just reach the food and run in a circle, just to give the girls a break. Not sure if this will work but It's a shot. Wish I would have read the post about sneaking them in. We kept the rooster in a crate overnight last night when we brought the girls home. Hopefully this will ease the fighting a little.
  19. Kaybug137
    Good Article, I have a question my silkies are 3 to 4 weeks old, and got them on friday, would I still have the Quarantine them? Just slightly confused.
  20. hoffmanslabs5
    Thank you for the helpful information.
  21. JayBaby
    This is such good information! I just love this websit. Thank you to everyone for all of the helpful hints, ideas and information!
  22. treehugger777
    interesting, I just introduced 3 hens to my flock, haven't quarrantined or anything so I guess I'll see how it goes
  23. Spoiledthemhens
    Wonderful information! Just what I needed to introduce our younger Buffs to our original group -
  24. SChunn
    I'm fairly new to chickens(just over a year), but with my flock I found that removing the rooster at introduction time helps alot. If I remove him for a few days, the hens work thier differences out without his interference and he is none the wiser when he's put back. I've been able to introduce 6-10 week old chicks successfully this way. I have limited space and pens, so I had to come up with a method that works for me. So far, so good.
  25. Hooligans7
    It might take some searching for that fat back, but I'll try it. Thanks matthew98. Tasty distractions work the best!
  26. matthew98
    one thing i tried is when i add new chickens is hang a piece of fat back up the chickens will peck that instead of the chickens it work every time so far
  27. Hooligans7
    Leave to me to do something strange. I obtained my original seven BR chicks from my neighbor who wanted to thin his flock. He also had three Copper Marans and other BRs that were all nest mates with mine until they were three weeks of age and came to my house. Fast forward seven weeks. The neighbor offers me one of his CM cockerels to see if he could rejoin his old mates and be part of my flock. Apparently, no one remembered him! I had a brawl on my hands and had to intervene immediately. No one was injured, and I put Mr. CM in a dog kennel. He spent the night in the pen with the kennel door open while the others were in the coop. This morning I put him in the kennel and allowed the others into the pen. So far, so good, except my dominant pullet likes to practice domination by hopping on top of the kennel. I'm thinking of slipping him into the coop around midnight. Will that work? Or the others jump on him in the morning since they already decided not to accept him?
  28. StephenieR
    Quick question...Although this was extremely helpful, I still find the need to ask. When will it be safe for me to add my 5 week old chicks (straight run) to my 8 week old roo and hen? I put a larger 4 chicks outside and the docile one was pretty scared. EEK!! Thanks.
  29. QueenBeeMom
    iHeartMyHens: Aren't we all so lucky to have BYC to help us out! I know your friend will be fine with her 12 hens. 12 will be a lot to pick up after, but I found I had nothing to worry about with my 8 year old son taking care of our 7 ladies. Kids rise to the occasion. She's so lucky she can have 12! Will she sell eggs?
  30. iHeartMyHens523
    My friend just got 12 chicks about a month ago. I still don't think that she realizes that 12 will be too much for her to handle, as a teen, and her first flock. I am glad that BYC will help her raise her lovely flock! Thank you for the article!! :)
  31. matthew98
    i wish i read this before it really would help me i had a very agressive rooster aand he killed 4 of my baby chicks
  32. Deby53
    Thanks for the great info. This will really help adding new birds to the flock.
  33. dolrose33
    Thank you for the info. I am thinking of purchasing a couple of Sultans to add to my Silkies. I am a new chickener so I need all of the great information I can get. Thanks again and keep it coming!
  34. canesisters
    Is there a way I can save a link of this onto my page? I've got my first chicks now (3wks old) and had planned to 'get my feet wet' in the chicken wold with these 6 - then add a few each year. Most of this I sorta knew - but I know me, and I will forget most of it with the excitement of new chicks. I'd like a reminder I can find quickly and refer to often.
  35. lindsay297
    Thanks so much for the great article. I have read everything about introducing chicks but, i had two adult flocks and had trouble finding info. My quarintine time is over and am now working on the "see-no-touch" process. Things have gone well so far. Thanks for answering all the questions in one place. Well written and easy to understand/follow!
  36. SandBsmom
    Hi there. I have 7- 8 week old chicks of various sizes and types. One is a cockrel and the rest we're pretty sure are pullets. We were thinking of getting 3 or 4 more next year but now after reading this I'm thinking it would make more sense to get the new ones now. Is it too late to add a few new babies into the flock?
  37. tammir
    Great info! So glad I saw this - I have 4 EEs that hatched on 1/31/12 and 4 baby Silkies that are about 6 weeks old and feathering out nicely. The only question that this article leaves me with is how is it best to integrate bantams with full size breeds? I have a smaller sized coop for the EEs, but was going to build a separate coop for the silkies when I move them out to the run -it's roughly 8x30 so I was thinking about dividing it up during the introductory phase.
  38. trish5909
    Right now, we are in the middle of a (so far) completely peaceful integration of our 2 flocks. One flock consists of 20 birds we got as pullets last year and the other is 7 birds we hatched from eggs produced by the pullets. The young ones are 6 months old now and there are 3 roosters & 4 hens in the group. We had the 2 groups in separate coops within the same building so they could hear each other all winter. When it was time to let the young birds outside, we divided the run into 2 so they could see each other. Then we expanded the run by putting up a new fence about 30 feet beyond the old one -- so the original yard is now an "inner yard" and the new one is an "outer yard." We let them all out together last week in the expanded area (neutral territory) and there wasn't any problem at all. The 2 groups foraged separately for a few days and went into their respective coops at sundown. Only one rooster tried to integrate himself with the older flock of hens. Now, one week later, they are mixing outside and are starting to roost for the night in each other's coops. Last night a rooster moved into the coop with the older hens. Sometimes, a few older hens go to the pullet coop. Soon, we will put them all together at night. I was worried about combining 2 flocks with such a big age difference and so far things are going very well. Fingers crossed!
  39. NanaArizona
    Good Article!!!!!
  40. Mykee
    Thank you so much for putting this together! I am thinking of getting two Blue Hamburg hens (if I can find any!), and my biggest concern is adding them to my existing three year old hens.
  41. nancypo
    Great ideas! When I introduce some younger hens (2 at a time) I keep them in an open "playpen" for a couple weeks so they can visit with the other 2, but not touch. Then they go together to free range, all's well....
  42. iluvsedward
    I have recently lost all of my flock except for a lone hen who should be laying by july 2012. I hatched a rooster chick and because the hen was so lonely, they are now best friends. Its soooo cute because my "free range" RABBIT and the two chickens love to play together!!! but the chick is so much smaller its so cute!
  43. UK chick keeper
    Hi. This is a brilliant article. just what i need right now.
    Thank you.
  44. tiamo
    Thank you for the invaluable information! My babies are about 3-4 months old and have been in an adjacent pen to my big run for about 3 weeks now. They do have all their feathers but are smaller than my "older ladies" so I have been hesitant to let them integrate into the flock yet. The other day the door to their pen got left open and they were out darting around the big pen, but did not seem to be beaten up at all, just shook up! I rescued them and returned them to their safe haven. Sounds like as long as it is done slowly, it should be fine. Thanks again for your help!
  45. chicks47
    Such thanks for this. We just got 9 new chicks to restock to the 2 hens we have left. We need to eventually get them together, This article has helped. I told my husb. we should build a secondary 'simple' type coop for the babies when they go out. And I confirm that thought with this. Then I hope they will all get together.. free range together.. we will use the info here to help us. I wonder though, since we have so many 'babies' and only 2 hens left (2 years old each).. will the larger group of babies support one another in any battle with the older girls? This will be an interesting new venture.. but weeks away yet before we introduce them together. Thanks again.
  46. Davaroo
    Pretty good info here. I was expecting the usual lamentations over chickens not getting along, but instead found all the right stuff, presented well. Thumbs up.
  47. tbuford
    Thanks for the information. We have 3 hens about 9 months old. We now have 4 chicks about 2 months old. We have subdivided the coop and have separate feeders and waterers which has been very successful in preventing aggression. Our hens ar typically out in the yard most days. However, since introducing the new chicks, the older girls no longer want to lay in the chicken house, instead finding a place in the yard to lay - something that has never been an issue. We've confined the older girls to the coop in an effort to prevent the yard laying. All but one have returned to laying in the nest but now one hen is not laying. It's only been 24 hrs but I don't want to cause too much stress to the older hens. Any suggestions about what's going on here and how we can better address the issue?
  48. marilena
    Help.Ihave 12 ,9week old chicks outside in the coop they dooing fine In the house a have 6 chiks 2 week old when is the right time to introduce them to the rest ?
  49. kiddobear39
    I currently have 7 hens and 1 rooster and next month I will be getting 17 new baby chicks. I know I have to keep them under a source of heat until they get they feather. But I was wondering when can I put them with my other chickens and how should I introduce them to the other hens and rooster. I will be adding on to the other coop that I have already should I divide the new coop from the old coop until the older chickens know the babies. My other chickens are only 7 months old
  50. QueenBeeMom
    Thank you! We are adding this spring and this is a very helpful summary of wisdom.

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