Add more than ONE pullet to established flock?

lilmama

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2010
132
1
109
I have a flock of three 6 month old hens (they seemed to have just stopped laying for the Winter, this was their first laying season.) I had four, but one died. So, we got another pullet from the local feed store to replace the one who passed away.

The pullet is 12 weeks. I've had her in a cage inside the coop with the others hens for several days. They have been fine with her in the cage. She was loose in the coop today while the flock free-ranged and when I put them all in (late afternoon) I didn't put the pullet back in her cage. They tolerated her for a while, she was very curious about them, and then they started to get nasty. Every time she went near them, they pecked her hard.

SO...my question is, do I get another pullet to make it easier on her? I really only wanted four hens, but I would get one more if it would ease the the hen-pecking. Then again, I would probably just have two hens getting beat up, instead of one. AND, the cage I have is really only big enough for one pullet to sleep in right now....BUT, I want to make this as easy as possible so if getting another one will help, I want to do it.

The people at the feed store said I should just put the pullet up on the roost at night. But, someone else told me if I do that "she'll be dead in the morning.!!"

Having such a hard time with all the conflicting opinions. Any one with experience willing to comment?

Thanks.
 
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Kittymomma

Songster
10 Years
Sep 9, 2009
3,873
31
204
Olympia, WA
At this point I'd just keep going with the one, but next time you need to add to your flock it's worth it to do at least two so they have a buddy during the tough times. For now I'd keep her in with the rest. There will be some bullying, but as long as it doesn't get bloody I think it's best to let them work it out. I always make sure there are multiple feed/water stations so the bullies can't keep the new one from eating. It can also help to have some distrations like a hanging cabbage, suet feeder, scratch and/or BOSS scattered around the coop bedding, etc.
 

dwegg

Songster
11 Years
Nov 10, 2009
1,705
24
216
Grant Park, Atlanta, GA
I always get at least two when introducing new girls. It is just easier on them as they are social animals...but she will eventually be accepted into the flock although will be the first one beat up and last one to eat ect... I would get her a buddy...
 

elmo

Crowing
11 Years
May 23, 2009
4,907
268
336
DFW
It's like being the new girl at school. If there are two of you (and you know each other) it makes the transition easier. But if you just get another chicken now who doesn't know the first chicken, that's not necessarily going to help either one.

Make sure you have some vertical objects in the coop that the bullied bird can hide behind...just a plain open space is very hard because she can't get out of sight of her tormenters.

Sometimes you can put a new bird up on the roost at night and in the morning the flock just accepts her. Sometimes, not. The reason for the conflicting advice is that chickens are individuals and don't behave in standardized ways.

Oh, and one more thought. Is the new bird the same breed as the established flock? If she's a different breed, then I would get another chicken, same breed. Birds of a feather do flock together more smoothly than birds of different breeds.
 

lilmama

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2010
132
1
109
yes, I think I will get another of the same breed this morning. Of the three others, two are the same breed and they really are "besties" so I see what you mean there. I can get one the exact same age and from the same "flock" from the feed store.

They will, however, need to sleep on the roost with the others though because there is not enough space for both newbies in the cage. Fingers crossed.
 

lilmama

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2010
132
1
109
LOL! Oh I would if I could. They free range during the day but, even so, the run and roost are not comfortably big enough for more than 5. Someday though....more chickens, ducks, goats....the whole deal.
wink.png
 

lilmama

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2010
132
1
109
well, I went ahead and got another. I put the two pullets together in the coop and had the others free-range all day. The two pecked a little at each other, but nothing major...seemed ok. They are sleeping together in a cage tonight. They seemed ok with it.
It's integrating the flocks that I feel will be tough...
 

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