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adding one new pullet to existing flock? how long does it take?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katenboo, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. katenboo

    katenboo New Egg

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    Jul 26, 2011
    Hello everyone,
    we have four pullets, about 7 months old. Our friends had a fox/racoon/something nasty attack their coop and they only had one hen survive. She is about 18 months old. she's healthy now, and is coming to join our flock. (they are moving, can't have them at their new place yet, not getting more chicks until the spring).

    Last night we introduced them all outside of the coop, there was a fair amount of chest bumping / pecking / hackle raising / squawking going on, we intervened as we saw fit. We then fenced off one end of our run (12x8) and put the new girl in the fenced off section. she has a roost, food and water, and a nesting box in there. Its probably 15 sq ft. sides are chicken wire, tarp over the top.

    She and the rest of the girls have spent most of the day pecking at each other through the chicken wire divide, but hopefully getting used to each other somewhat.
    I'm wondering how long we should keep them seperated.

    I think we'll let them all free range together tonight and see how it goes, but I'd like to get her sleeping inside the coop by Friday night as the temps are supposed to drop below 50 and I don't like the idea of her sleeping out in the run when it's chilly. I know about putting her on the roost during the night, but how 'civilised' do they need to be to each other before we try that?

    Any suggestions on how to manage the integration would be welcome. I did the hanging cabbage trick but no one is interested in that yet.

    thanks for any advice.
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well, she really should have been quarantined for a few weeks, but that's done now. I would still check her over really well for mites/lice.
    Introducing one is always more difficult. I think integrations always go better when free ranging is involved, so do as much of that as possible. It's not the temps you'll need to worry about nearly as much as predator protection - chicken wire doesn't generally provide much in the way of night time safety.
    Personally, weighing all the factors, I'd probably try full integration as soon as you're able to supervise sufficiently. As long as blood isn't being drawn, I'd let them work it out. I would normally take a much slower approach. But the newbie is not in a safe environment for nighttime, so I think it's worth a shot...
    By the way, full acceptance can often take a few months...
     
  3. katenboo

    katenboo New Egg

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    Jul 26, 2011
    We figured she was pretty much quarantined since she's been living on her own for several weeks and isn't sick. The coop has pvc coated wire sides (strongly stapled) and an 18" dig guard. We typically leave the small door from the coop into the run open all the time. Should we be shutting that each night?
    I'm not expecting total harmony any time soon, just hopefully no blood being drawn.
     
  4. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    I introduced three (about 20 weeks at the time) to my then year old hens a few months ago. We let them get used to eachother for about a month where they could see eachother but not reach. The runs were set up with about a foot and a half in between with the younger hens in the new coop (big enough for six). After they were moved in together two of the three new girls were accepted in about a week. Salsa, our little Spangled Hamburg, took about two months to be accepted by our head hen(Scrambles) and still refuses to walk into the coop on her own at night. Scrambles picked on her pretty badly, to the point I was seriously looking into rehoming her.

    In the end I think a fair bit has to do with the temperment of the chicken you are introducing and the overall atmosphere of the flock they are entering. Salsa was very flighty and easily intimidated; she is on the absolute bottom rung of the pecking order and I suspect that would be the case no matter what flock she was in. Velvet was probably accepted the quickist, she is very mellow and just kinda swung into the lower end of the pecking order without argument. Freckles took a bit longer and still earns a peck here and there (she has bad chicken-manners and irritates Scrambles). She's second in the ranks and had the guts to stand up for herself after the first few days. She and the oldsters had some stand-offs and she staired down everyone but Scrambles.

    Oh, and to help reduce the bullying we acted as the 'rooster' whenever we were in the run. A quick poke with your fingers simulates a peck pretty well and doesn't hurt the birds at all. We also played 'chase' once or twice to break things up. It's interesting that introducing controled chaos into a scenario can actually result in a calmer environment afterwards.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. katenboo

    katenboo New Egg

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    Jul 26, 2011
    thanks to both of you for you quick replies and good suggestions. I really hadn't thought it should take so long (hey I'm pretty new to all of this). new girl is standing up for herself pretty well, she's not very submissive. I didn't know if this would get it worked out faster or make it take longer.
     
  6. HollidaySmith

    HollidaySmith Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Peru, Indiana
    We are getting ready to double the size of our flock. I've heard that the best time to merge/introduce the two is at night while the old flock is roosting. Has anyone tried this?
     
  7. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Quote:Yes, we still had a blow up in the morning. The little ladies/new pullets bolted out when we opened the coop and just hid as best they could in the far corner. Maybe in a larger flock it would have worked better but we had three new pullets and three established hens. The newbies were definantly noticed.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:I'm not sure what pvc coated wire sides is??? I just know that basic chicken wire will not hold out against most predators, including raccoon, dogs, etc. Chicken wire is fine for containing chickens, but not for keeping predators out...it's thin and woven/twisted rather than welded. Do a search on chicken wire or looking through old predator posts, and you'll see far too many posts about pred. breaking through chicken wire.
    So if you're using chicken wire, I would suggest shutting their pop door each night.
     
  9. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] When we intro a new member to the group, we stay close watching them that first day [​IMG] any aggressiveness [​IMG] will give the offender a day in the dog kennel-crate(jail) We find this helps the general population calmly ajust and accept the new girl.[​IMG]

    [​IMG] With good luck & the bully locked up, that first day should be a great start, Be sure to keep an eye:old on the flock every once in a while. Especially once that bully has been released from jail.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  10. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Wisconsin
    We introduced 6 new hens to our flock of 8 hens and one roo! All I can say is our Roo made sure there was NO fighting and that he ruled everyone! The hens were over each other with in a few mintues due to our Roo basically running full force at them if they were fighting![​IMG]

    I really wish I had our video camera out there I have never seen anything like it! Makes me like our rooster even more he such a great Rooster! Plus hes even got more girls now!

    But in time they will get over the new hen and be fine.
     

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