Adding a flock to a chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bedonein71, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. bedonein71

    bedonein71 New Egg

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    Feb 4, 2013
    Hi all,

    About a year ago we were given our first two chickens - 1-yr old Plymouth Rocks. One of them recently passed away - we don't know what caused it, but it has not affected the other chicken (except that she seems lonely).

    We would like to bring in 2-3 more chickens to keep the remaining one company. I've read a few of the threads about introducing chickens to a flock. Are you aware of anything different that applies when introducing chickens to a flock of one?

    Thank you,

    Brent
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    That's tough, because it's best to introduce more than one chicken at a time... Either direction, one coming into a group or a group joining a single bird, targets the single bird.

    With that said, the territory is hers, not theirs. So that's a plus.

    As with any integration effort, after appropriate quarantine, set the newcomers up in a divided area with them on one side and your original gal on the other. For a week, if not two, so they can get used to the sight, smell, and sounds of each other before you let them mingle.

    That way nobody is a stranger anymore and the "stranger danger" issues aren't in play. Just the normal pecking order behavior. Don't interrupt it unless there is actual blood spilled, because feather pulling, chasing, squawking, pecking are all part of the process.

    Good luck!! She might not appreciate it right away, but she'll eventually get comfy with her new companions.
     
  3. Johnn

    Johnn Overrun With Chickens

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    If was you i would probablies bring in birds that are abit younger or a smaller breed just so they are abit scared of her and she can remain boss. Good luck with what every you do, either way i think you should get her a friend :)
     
  4. bedonein71

    bedonein71 New Egg

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    Feb 4, 2013
    Thanks for the advice. We ended up getting two more chickens, a Leghorn and an Ameraucana, from the "3-5 month" group at the local feed store.We didn't have a way to section off the run, so we used a dog cage and kept it right outside the run so they could see/hear each other.

    We introduced the Leghorn to the older hen yesterday. She got pecked a couple of times when she got too close to the original hen. After that, she learned to get out of the way when the hen came near. Of the two new chickens she's the more skittish one, and she's pretty quick. I haven't seen any pecking issues since the first few times yesterday.

    We introduced the Ameraucana today. She is getting pecked constantly by the older hen, who is eating the feathers. The older hen proactively goes after the Ameraucana, where she only pecked at the Leghorn when she got close. I've read that feather pecking can be caused by protein deficiency, boredom, or overcrowding. I don't think crowding is the issue. We are supplementing the hen's food with a little scrambled egg in case that's the issue. I would think if it was boredom causing this, the Leghorn would have been pecked more yesterday. We are hoping the pecking will start to lighten up soon.

    Brent
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I know this is late, but if you need to do this again at some time in the future, don't integrate them SEPARATELY, but together. Not one on one day and the other the next day, but both the same day at the same time.

    This divides the flock's attention between TWO birds they recognize from the segregation period but which are now competing for their food and water and roosting space, rather than all ganging up on one right away.

    Sqwawking and chasing and feather pulling and pecking are all normal parts of establishing their pecking order. Unless blood is drawn, try not to stop the process by removing the victim. Also be sure there is another feeder and waterer so they aren't prevented from eating and drinking.

    Yes, upping their protein a bit for a while might help, if there is a protein deficiency.
     
  6. Johnn

    Johnn Overrun With Chickens

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    If they dont calm down you could let them out to free range together for abit of bonding. Or you could buy some anti-peck spray.
     
  7. shellyn04

    shellyn04 New Egg

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    Apr 4, 2013
    We have a similar problem...we have one chicken that was given to us as a baby. She is now 14 weeks. Just got our coop done, so we thought to get her some friends. We got 4 more, 18 weeks old. The bad thing is now we realize the chicken we originally had is half the size of normal chickens and the 4 we just got! Trying to figure out the best way to get our little one out of the bathroom at night and out n the dang coop without the other four attacking her :( I don't think I would worry so much if she wasn't so much smaller. We still can't figure out what she is? Some kind of game mix. But we love her!!
     
  8. CherishHolland

    CherishHolland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    introduce them through the fence I am having to do the same thing with my "toddlers" they are 4 weeks old and ready for the coop. I also let them out in the run together they seem okay with them but I am not sure how they will react once the toddlers enter the coop permanently,well here's to best of luck for us both!
     
  9. shellyn04

    shellyn04 New Egg

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    Apr 4, 2013
    I'm so new at this, it will probably take me forever to get to the finish line but I will ;) you'll have to let me know how it goes!!
     
  10. CherishHolland

    CherishHolland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Same here!
     

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