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Adding 2 hens to flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mmoses, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. mmoses

    mmoses New Egg

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    Feb 18, 2012
    I know there are a lot of threads about adding to your flock but I am having trouble finding out what to do after you have done the quarantine, putting in a pen and all that.

    I have 6 RIRs. No roosters. The hens are just now starting to lay about 20weeks old. About a month ago I go impatient and got 2 hens that were currently laying. They have been quarantined for over a month so far and have been in a pen very close to the coop. During the day they all get to range together. At first there was a lot of pecking and such. Now they kinda get along. The two new hens pretty much keep to themselves. I have tried to put them all in the same coop but the pecking gets worse. Do I just let it all happen? Would it help if I took out one of the 6 and added it to the pen with the two new hens? Thanks
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi mmoses--

    WELCOME to the forum. I'm subscribing to see all the good advice your post will generate! :O)

    There are a lot of variables in flock combination, down to the granularity of the personality of the individual hens. I am going to do some combining myself very shortly.

    1. I think that if they have enough room-- (room to escape an aggressive hen) and they know that they have lots of feed and water, you are going to have a great success providing you are patient, you let nature take it's course (they will have to, at some point, re-sort their pecking order). So, perhaps as a temporary measure, additional feeding and watering stations may help. When I got my first three, the dominant one did kind of guard the feed and water....so I put in alternatives for the other two, and eventually everyone began peacefully sharing.

    2. I think it helps to have distractions, a head of lettuce, places for the lower pecking order chickens to duck into. Sometimes chickens are out of sight-out-of-mind.

    3. It sounds like you have already combined them and had some scuffles. Maybe your idea--- about taking one of the six (or two of the six) out when you combine the new ones--- will "shake things up a bit". I haven't heard on the forum thus far about that approach. I think if there is one or more of your 6 that are particularly aggressive on your new ones, then swap them out to where the new ones were, and have the new ones combine with the ramaining 4 RIR. When you put the other two RIR back in---they will scuffle again, but maybe it will be milder?

    4. I heard someplace that if you put the old ones in with the new ones, instead of vice versa, the transition is smoother. I'm thinking, I could combine my old and new ones...one a time or two at a time.

    There are a couple of reasons I'm holding off combining mine, one is because it struck me that they may reduce egg production if they feel a shakeup in their living arrangements is unsettling.

    Hope this will help you start thinking of approaches...and when you have that success story to tell, post back with what worked.
     
  3. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  4. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    That's amazing about knowing the German in my sig. It isn't correct high German because I don't have the characters. I'm pretty impressed. (I copied it from an article...can't take credit for knowing a lick of it either).

    I have yet to integrate my old and new chickens.....Everyone seems so content--- Maybe next week! One of my new ones just started laying on 2/15. She has laid daily since then....and I don't want to put any stress on her. Sooo I put it off again.......
     
  5. mmoses

    mmoses New Egg

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    Feb 18, 2012
    After spending the day running in the yard, after dark i put them all in the same coop. everyone look fine but i let them out of the coop about 530 this morning. There was a little blood from where they pecked at the comb of one of the hens. they were put in after dark and let out before sunrise. so on the next plan hoping to still an old hen and put in new coop. any other ideas?
     
  6. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    sounds like yoiu are doing all you are supposed to do. If there is blood, she needs to be isolated. But eventually they will settle down. Hopefully there is something that they like more than pecking on other chickens....sunflower seeds? A head of lettuce on a string, a cabbage head. I guess you have to persevere.

    I'm going to follow in your foot steps--- soon. Keep up the posts. ;O)
     
  7. mmoses

    mmoses New Egg

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    Feb 18, 2012
    just a follow up. after playing mix and match with the chickens for a while we finally got the 2 added. There is a little pecking occasionally but things are looking good. everyone is mostly getting along, roosting and laying eggs.
     

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