Adding new chickens to a fairly new flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mule & Flash, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Mule & Flash

    Mule & Flash Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2011
    North Central FL
    About a month ago, my husband's boss got some chickens and set them up in the coop out behind the shop. His wife chose the breeds, bought the feed, etc. My husband is the one responsible for their care, and we share the eggs. She got 2 bantam cochin hens, 1 bantam cochin roo, a rhode island red, and another good egg-layer, although she doesn't know what breed it is. We are hardly getting any eggs. I know cold weather can be the culprit for low egg counts, but we live in Florida and our highs have been anywhere from the 40s-70s in the last few weeks, nothing compared to the rest of the country!!
    So I've asked my husband for another chicken for my birthday (Sunday), and it sounds like he's going to follow through. Any advice on introducing newcomers to the flock would be greatly appreciated!! We're still really new at this chicken thing but I love it!
  2. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    You'll see this advice many times on this site: it is always risky to add an adult chicken - even if she appears healthy - to your flock because you may introduce an illness - parasites, lice, mites, viral or bacterial disease. A quarantine period is recommended if you feel that you must do this - many (myself included) would not do it at all. There are also problems with a newcomer getting picked on and stressed - may not lay for quite a while just because of this, and so if you're trying to increase your numbers of eggs right away, this probably isn't going to be a success. Also, your egg production is more a product of length of day than of temperature, and after the first laying year, most hens will drastically decrease in laying during a moult/ short days of winter. You could try adding a light for several hours in the morning (on a timer) and that will often get them going again. I would say, if you want to increase your flock, get some hatching eggs and get one of your Cochins (they are very broody) to hatch you some new additions to your flock in the spring.
  3. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2011
    I add new ones by just putting them in and letting the hens sort it out. RIR should do good with what you already have if you don't over crowd them. I like golden comets if you just want eggs, but EEs are fun to have too and you might get blue/green eggs from them.
  4. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    After the quaranteen period add the new girl way after the flock has gone to sleep.

    I usually add them around 10pm.

    The old flock cant count - when they wake up with more hens they don't notice.

    They will eventually realize there is someone running around that they don't have a pecking order with & will have to work that out, but if you add the bird in the day light the others may see her as a threat to the teritory & attack her relentlessly.

    If she is there when they wake up - the usually dont notice.

    I had only 1 bad experience with this & it was with adding polish chickens. They can't see the other hens & not running when the big girl comes around is a challenge to her. I had to sell my head hen in order to add the polish to the flock.
  5. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would recommend adding two new chickens at a time, so there is not just the one to be picked on. I agree that a 30 day at least quarantine is safest.

    I myself like to buy chicks due to the disease risk, then introduce them to the adults when they are about 4 months old.
    scroll down for adding to the flock

    Also, I would be sure to dust for mites/lice even if you don't see any - and consider worming, but with the worming medications you often toss the eggs for awhile- you should research this before doing it.

    Then repeat the dusting for mites and lice at around 10 days-2weeks.

    Happy chicken-keeping! [​IMG]

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