Adding new hens to 4.5 month flock?

jennyinvermont

In the Brooder
Apr 2, 2021
22
16
31
After much drama and getting rid of 3 roosters, I'm considering adding 2-3 pullets to my flock of 8 18 week olds. Is this a bad idea, or fine? I really don't want to deal with any more chicken drama or injuries.

I had 3 of my 11 turn out to be roosters. A couple weeks ago one hen got a horrible head injury - like pecked to bone (I was away and my boyfriend may not be the best monitor - so idk if this was as sudden as he says or if he just missed it getting worse). She has finally recovered and reintroduced 2 days ago but it's a little iffy. All seemed okay but when I checked her today she was definitely pecked more on her one tiny remaining bald spot and it was red. I need to stop her from being injured/blood drawn again. I'm taking the last rooster to our neighbors farm tomorrow. He's a beauty, but since everyone is free ranging in the yard all day I feel like he HAS to be behind the new plucking, since I'm pretty sure she can get away from everyone else? (I was monitoring almost the whole day and never saw anything, but think it happened when I went running? I also found TONS of the white keratin flakes on the log she's been hiding on, like someone had been chewing her up for a while??? why would there be keratin flakes all over the place??) Only 2-3 hens have started laying but everyone is about to. I was thinking if I got rid of the rooster, and maybe added 2-3 new pullets it would shake things up a bit and she'd be left alone. But I don't want the new ones to be injured either. I just want a happy family! I would put the new ladies in the coop at night - but I don't have time or space to do the whole keep them separate but visible for 3 weeks.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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I really don't want to deal with any more chicken drama or injuries.
Then don't get more, get thru your first winter with the ones you have.
Maybe get a few chicks in spring.

I also found TONS of the white keratin flakes on the log she's been hiding on, like someone had been chewing her up for a while??? why would there be keratin flakes all over the place??)
New feathers growing in, the flakes are likely from preening the sheathing of of them.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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After much drama and getting rid of 3 roosters, I'm considering adding 2-3 pullets to my flock of 8 18 week olds. Is this a bad idea, or fine? I really don't want to deal with any more chicken drama or injuries.
I agree, do not add them this year. Adding chickens to solve problems generally adds to the problems instead of solving anything. Especially when some of them are immature. Solve your problems before you add any.

He's a beauty, but since everyone is free ranging in the yard all day I feel like he HAS to be behind the new plucking, since I'm pretty sure she can get away from everyone else?
Go ahead and get rid of him so you are sure, but I'd make sure she was healed up before I put her back with the others. They don't always run away when they are being pecked, it could be any of them. Hens or pullets will peck at raw wounds too.

I would put the new ladies in the coop at night - but I don't have time or space to do the whole keep them separate but visible for 3 weeks.
If you don't have the time or space to integrate definitely don't try it this year. Will you have time and space next year? You never know how an integration will go. Sometimes it will go really smoothly but you need to be prepared for anything.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,477
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I agree - wait on the new.

Even get rid of the rooster. Get some experience.

Make sure your run, has hide outs, roosts, mini walls, where birds can get away from each other. If every bird can see every other bird 100% of the time, you need more clutter in the run. Makes for much happier chickens. Also have hidden feed spots where a bird eating at one spot, can't see a bird eating at another.

Mrs K
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,477
13,145
656
western South Dakota
Another reason to wait, is then you will have room next year. It is a more productive flock, to be a multi-generational flock rather than all in the same year.

Another point - what is the dimensions of your set up. There is a theory that raised together makes for life long friends, and you can cheat on space because of that. In the chicken world, that is not true, and often times when the birds get to be full sized, headed into winter, what was enough space when they were smaller is no longer enough space when they are older.

Mrs K
 

jennyinvermont

In the Brooder
Apr 2, 2021
22
16
31
Thanks everyone! We gave the gorgeous rooster to a nearby farm with tons of chickens, where he seems very happy. We have 8 hens left and everyone seems to be doing fine. Our coop is 5x6 and the run is probably...16x6ish? I forget. But they are out free in the yard most days with PLENTY of trees, bushes, shrubs etc to hide in. I figured it might be easier to add some while everyone is young, but I don't know that we really need more anyway and while our pecked girl definitely seems lower in the order, she also seems safe and no more blood (she's fully healed, just waiting for feathers on one tiny sized patch. She hangs out with our little silkie who I think she knows would never hurt a fly LOL.
 

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