Adding to flock...when to let them mingle?

Trish1974

Araucana enthusiast
5 Years
Mar 16, 2016
3,082
6,866
592
North Central IN
My Coop
My Coop
I'm in the final stages of adding 2 new hens to my flock of 5 hens. For two weeks now they have been separated by a fence. The newbies have their own coop in the back part of my existing chicken run. My golden comet has been extremely aggressive with the newcomers; puffing up on them like a tom turkey and pecking them through the fence. Should I wait until she completely stops showing aggression to the new ones before letting them run together? Or is this just normal top hen behavior and will it continue as long as the fence is between them? Anything else I should do?
 

ChanLillie

Chirping
May 28, 2017
79
25
56
Carl Junction, MO
My Coop
My Coop
I read that it's best to put them in at night that way the flock just thinks they've been there the whole time.

I have also seen where people keep them for a few days in a subsection of their coop and let them "mingle" through the fencing.

I haven't personally had an issue with mine not accepting new members to their group.

I know this sounds silly, but do you have any distractions or toys hanging in the coop? I have read that hanging little mirrors and whatnot will keep them from pecking eachother out of boredom. I think that you will always have the top rooster/hen in the pecking order, but maybe if you put some distractions it will help with it a little?
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,023
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
If she's the only one showing aggression, I'd remove her from the mix, when you let the new ones mingle with the rest. How big is your coop and run? And how big is your flock? dimensions please. Sometimes the size of a coop/run, or it's set up make it impossible for newcomers to satisfy flock social protocol, so they are subject to much aggression. If you can let them out to free range together, that often makes integration much easier.
 

Trish1974

Araucana enthusiast
5 Years
Mar 16, 2016
3,082
6,866
592
North Central IN
My Coop
My Coop
They will maintain separate coops, but share the run. The run is currently 15' x 30', but will be adding on 8'x20' in the next few weeks. There are 5 hens in my current flock and 2 more are being added. @ChanLillie, none of this is occurring in a coop, they are fighting through the fence that separates the run. @lazy gardener do I remove the aggressor and do short stints of socializing with the new girls or remove her completely for awhile and let everyone run together full time?
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,023
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
I would remove her completely for a while and let the 2 new girls visit with the other 4. It might even give the new girls the "home court advantage" if you allow the established girls to visit the run with the new girls first. By maintaining separate coops, you are setting yourself up for a situation where the new girls may never get established successfully into the flock pecking order. Birds are flock animals. There will be a sense of vulnerability with the 2 new girls being "coop segregated" from the "larger" flock.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom