Adding Chicks or pullets to a flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 38farmgirl, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. 38farmgirl

    38farmgirl In the Brooder

    May 31, 2010
    I have 12 hens that will be 1 in May. I would like to add 4 more. Would new chicks or pullets be easier to add? I want to make it as easy as possible, less bullying ect...

  2. Lorettachick

    Lorettachick In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2012
    Southern Middle TN
    I added 5 new hens to my flock of 5 hens about 2 weeks ago. I added them at night and everything is going fine so far. There is definitely a pecking order but I just use several feed stations and no one is getting badly mistreated so far. However, my original hens stopped laying completely for the first week so I guess it upset the order of things. I have finally gotten a couple of eggs the past 2 days. I have read that it's not good to add chicks...they can be badly pecked. I had a hen go broody in Dec and hatched 7 chicks. :) We built them an adjacent pen so they can all see each other but didn't add them to the flock. Good luck!
  3. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I'm building a halfway house of sorts -- an annex next to the main coop for the chicks arriving in March. They will live there between brooder and coop so they can have a gradual introduction to the hens.

    Last August, I brought home three grown pullets -- all between 4 and 9 months. I put them on the roost at sunset and rushed out there at dawn. It was awful. The hens weren't nice at all, the newbies were hiding on the roost, and the rooster was chasing the new girls the moment they came down. He wasn't trying to mate, he wanted the intruders gone. I removed the rooster from the coop and the ladies eventually worked things out but it was hard to watch. The reintroduction of the rooster to the ladies was even worse -- he ended up killing one.

    I decided that all future introductions will be gradual and we dispatched the rooster.
  4. gg706

    gg706 Songster

    Jul 5, 2011
    WOW I had NO idea a rooster would be opposed to more hens joining his flock! I just got 6 chicks yesterday and was planning to add them to my flock of 3 hens and 1 roo. I was planning on raising them up until they are ready to go outside then partitioning off a small space in the tractor for a few weeks so they can get used to each other. Then letting them in together. Boy I hope it goes well. I have no plans of building another coop this year. And I really do not want to butcher any of my current flock. We have gotten fairly attached to them.
  5. Fur & Feathers

    Fur & Feathers Chirping

    Sep 7, 2011
    My Coop
    he is being territorial over 'his' space to outsiders as they are not from within his established pecking order.
    its normal roo behavior.
    woud recommend pullets not chicks,chickens shoud be given more even ground when it comes to being integrated into a flock; imagine being a very young child going into high school-its full of older overbearing kids,theres a pecking order-its very threatening and our birds experience the same sort of threat.
    its best to give them that chance to grow a bit first before integrating but having their coops near each other is a good idea to allow them to get used to each other with the added safety of their own territory.

  6. gg706

    gg706 Songster

    Jul 5, 2011
    Ya I can see how going into a flock of adults as a chick would be difficult. I may have to keep them seperated for longer than I planned. I expected the hens may possibly be nasty but I did not think the roo would attack new hens. I learn something everyday!
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  7. jyurina

    jyurina In the Brooder

    Dec 14, 2012
    Phoenix AZ
    Jumping in here-how long do you usually wait when they can see each other but not get to each other? I one hen and one roo from a summer hatch, and four new 11 week old pullets that are currently in the chicken yard in the chicken tractor with their own brooder that has been turned into a transitional coop. They have been near each other for a couple weeks now and the initial showing off and pecking at one another through the wire is over. How long should I wait before integrating? I also wonder how you seperate the feed since they are still on grower crumbles and the older ones are on layer crumbles. Any thoughts?
  8. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I don't think there is a set period of time when you're assured of a smooth transition. If you range at all, I'd try letting them co-range next.

    As for how to separate feed, you don't. Just feed the whole lot grower and serve shell on the side for calcium. The layers will eat it, the youngsters won't. This way the littles don't hurt their kidneys and the adults get their needs met.
  9. kawilcox814

    kawilcox814 Hatching

    Feb 21, 2013
    In my experience I have kept the newcomers totally separate from my existing flock until they are feathered. Once they have their feathers, I introduce them to the flock and I haven't had any problems so far doing it this way. It also depends on your breed as well. I have RIR and Golden Buff's which both have pretty mellow temperaments. The Golden Buff's much more so. There will still be some occasional pecking from your dominant bird(s), but that is to be expected. I have not had any problems with injuries. My remaining RIR definitely rules the roost and makes her dominance known to any newbies but eventually she warms up to them and they are all foraging together![​IMG]

  10. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    My rooster protects the new chicks, but he was inside when they hatched (may make a difference) and heard them hatching and got to see them. He also accepts any pullet or hen I wish to integrate into the flock, and will get on to any hen that gets carried away with the pecking order. I do put new comers in a side pen for a day or two, where they can see each other and visit, then they go into the coop at night. The chicks went out only during the day until they feathered out good then went to an area of their own in the hen yard. They have a fence which they can go through, and they go out and range with the others around, lots of hiding places also. They have their own water and feed that the others cannot get to, they have been outside for 3 weeks now and are 9 weeks old today. They range as far as the older birds do, I was watching the roo trying to get them to come to him, calling to them holding food, and yes if one had came to him he would give it the food!

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