Added new pullet to flock - wish me luck!


14 Years
Dec 27, 2008
Pasadena, CA
So I've read all the threads recommending putting the new bird in the coop at night while everyone else is asleep - boy oh boy I hope you're right because that's what I did tonight with my new pullet. I've let her free-range with the other girls the last few evenings, and she was scared and got chased and pecked some, but it seemed to be pretty calm tonight, and she wound up going into the coop with the others at dark anyway. So I sat in there with her till it got really dark, and I put her up on the roost. Please everyone cross your fingers that the other girls aren't too mean to her in the morning
I added one to my flock. It was a pain. They wouldn't let her come off the roost in the am. What made it so hard was the new girl was a dominique & the others were RIR'S. It took months before she was some what accepted. The roo was my only saving grace he protected her & watched out for her well being & still does. The roo would make sure that she was in the coop every evening & on the roost. Good Luck it can be done. She will probably be on the bottom of the order. My little girl seems content & lays everyday so that's a good thing. She was a rescued pullet & now has a good home.
Watch her close. It is tough to introduce a new bird, especially a new single bird. They have tendancy to bully her bad. The best way I have had success was to put the new one in a cage for a few days, and let the others get used to her there. If she is a different color then the reast it will be harder yet. If the new one shows sign of ANY blood, they will not stop on her. Good luck.......... R
Thanks. We're nearly 24 hours into this experiment and it's going . . . ok I guess. She's safe as long as she stays up above everyone else, so I've put some food up where she can get to it and some water. They do seem to ignore her when I'm there at her side, so I have hope. My coop configuration makes it tough to put a cage inside, but I'll use that as a plan B if the situation starts to go downhill. For right now I have my fingers crossed and I'm holding my breath . . . . will check back later tonight.
I too integrated one pullet to my flock of 4. This was after a month long quarantine and then penning them side by side after for a week, and then free ranging together and then finally into the coop.

The lone pullet is NOT part of the flock- they mostly range separately, the single pullet eats and drinks by herself. She is tolerated and still gets chased and pecked at intermittently, but this is mainly from the top pullet, and she has not been hurt so far. She has learnt to run away whenever one of the flock approaches, and sometimes they are not even after her! I am no longer worried that they will starve her or injure her. She just does not hang out with them, except sometimes when they share a nest box or a roost.

So the single pullet hangs out with the humans- when we let them range, she will come by and sit with us and dustbathe by our feet, follows us around. I figured we are making up for companionship since she is basically on her own. If I were to do it again, I would not tryintergrating a single hen, but our coop is too small for 6!

Good luck with your integration endeavors!
I think this is exactly where we're headed. Tonight when I let them out to range she tried to stay in the coop, but I brought her out and sat on the ground with her, running interference when one of the others got too pushy. For the most part they ignored her, and tolerated her being within about 12 feet of them . . . but they each stay with their buddies and she's going to be on her own. There was some more hazing but it wasn't as intense as last night. Anyway we're now officially past 24 hours into the project, and she still has her feathers, there was no blood shed today and she did get something to eat and drink. After dark I put her on the roost again. I'll be up at dawn to check on them as they wake up. But you're right - I think her main socialization is going to be with me - she already follows me closely, and jumps into my lap when the others approach her. It's so hard not to root for the underdog, isn't it?
Anyway, chezpoulet, how long did it take for your bunch to settle down once you introduced the new bird? It would help if I knew I could stop worrying at some mile-stone point, like a week, or a month . . . is there any hope?

Thanks for the support and sympathy.
Are the others just chasing her away & not hurting her. If this is the case that's good. I always let mine free range but I always wait till 9 am to let them out. I have a auto pop door that lets them out to the run every morning at the crack of day. So every morning she would not get off the roost because the others would chase her. I would bring her two small bowls of water & food & put it on the roost for her. Sounds crazy but it worked. I did this for ever it seemed. Then at 9 am I let them out to range. If you let yours out earlier you should be fine. I never had any problems while free ranging. As time went on she now is off the roost in the am & in the run with the others. As I mentioned my roo fell in love with her & protects her still to this day.Good Luck & be persistent. I will never add just one to my flock again. Its a pain in the BBBBBB. But it can be done.
I can't let them out all day since I work and can't keep an eye on them, but I've been letting them out the moment I get home. In the meantime, right now there are 6 birds in a coop that's nearly 120 square feet (including their open-sided house). They chase her till she runs behind a pile of milk crates I put in for her, at which point she huddles till they lose interest. Sometimes they peck and pluck feathers - she just stays low till they quit and move on. Then she jumps to the top of the pile of crates and spends her time there, keeping a wary eye on everyone. I did put a dish of food and water up there for her. So far
she hasn't been injured - we're on Day 2. In the morning I've gotten up early (sigh) and had my coffee sitting in the coop with them, and while I'm there she's brave enough to come down to ground level and scratch and get some of the treats there for everyone, but only if the other birds are at the other end of the run.

If they approach she runs behind the crates again. While I'm there I've been gently bringing her back out to be near them but under my circle of influence, so I can mediate the interactions, and when one of the other birds approaches I've been waiting-and-seeing, if they eye her and then move on I praise both of them, if anyone seems to peck at her gently I try to get her to stand her ground, and if it gets too intense I shoo the other bird away. I'm trying to get them to ignore her, and I'm trying to get her to not panic every time they move in her direction - it seems like her panic and frantic running is really what gets the rest of them wound up for the chase (I know it's this way with my dogs so I'm figuring the same MO works here - pack mentality).

The vibe was noticeably calmer this morning, and everyone was getting in closer proximity without as much agitation. When I had to leave I gently placed her back on top of the crates with her food and water, quietly left the run and everyone seemed to go on with their own business. I've also been putting in PLENTY of treats (broccoli and carrots and stuff) along with a can of tuna to really boost the protein, just so no one can complain that they're cranky because they're hungry. New girl has been getting some tuna during her ground time too - good thing since i imagine this all takes a toll on her physically. Thanks for the advice and support - I'll update tonight. Keep sending positive energy - this has of course become my favorite bird - mostly because she's so attached to me (Stockholm syndrome perhaps?
) in any case I'm officially her bodyguard and I feel bad that I can't be there all day for her, even though I know that would be counter-productive.
I feel your pain. Its hard on her being pecked on. Her only defense is to run from them. I was lucky in a way because my roo fell head over heals for her. He literally would let the initial flock get on the roost ever night & then he would go get her & make sure she got on the roost. It was quite amazing to watch. I guess in your case it will just take time. If they start hurting her you might take her & one other hen & pen them together for a few days. Get the one that's on the bottom of the order. This will mess with their pecking order. Then one evening re-introduce them by putting them on the roost with the others. You will have to get creative that's for sure. I as well like the under dog. At first she only had me to help her along so we got along & she would jump in my lap but as time moved on she wanted to be part of the flock. She still struggles but shes well taken care of. Keep us informed I'm really interested in your success with her. I again will never integrate one chicken to an existing flock. It was kinda sad to see the others treat her the way they did. The pecking order is one strong power. Good luck!!!
Well it has been at least 3 weeks now- Muffin ( the lone pullet) has an extra feeder and waterer that she can use- usually she waits till everyone is in the coop and roosting before she goes in, or the top pullet will come over and chase her off the roost. In the morning, she is the last to leave the coop, and usually eats her breakfast in the coop where we have the other feeder. She waits till the others have finished eating or drinking in the run and before she tries to eat or drink. I have sometimes seen her hang out with Chickmunk, the Welsummer who "tried" to kill her on the first day- I have a sneaky feeling Chickmunk was probably the lowest in pecking order and wanted to make sure she moves up one!

Anyway, Muffin steers clear of the flock most of the time- they will run her off if I am giving out treats, so I just make sure Muffin has her own treat that I give separately. I have seen her eggs in the nest box with some other eggs, and have seen her laying in the same box as Tiny, the top chicken, and she survived. There has been no blood shed so far, and feathers only get lost when the silly thing flings herself against the run when she thinks one of the other hens are heading her way- none of mine have tried picking feathers off her so far(fingers crossed).

Muffin has become our pet chicken, as she will come and sit on our lap and yes, we do pay her extra attention because she is underdog...I really think sometimes she invites some of the pecking- she sees one come by and gives this girlish squeal and tries to run!

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