Advice needed from ppl with TINY flocks - about adding 2 new hens to 2 existing hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by guesswhatchickenbutt, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    I know how you're supposed to add hens to regular flocks... 60 days quarantine... slow integration.... But I also know that's not reality for people with a TINY flock of 2-3 hens. I'm interested in how you handle it.

    I had 3 hens years ago. When they got old two eventually died and I was left with one I had to give her away to a friend because she thought she was a rooster. (Long story... don't ask LOL). As weird as that all turned out it allowed me to start over from scratch.

    I then got 3 chicks. Here I am four years later and one hen died recently so I'm left with two 4-year-old hens. I'd like to add two more so I'm up to 4 total. The reality is I have nowhere to quarantine hens at all. I have one chicken coop and one run, so quarantining isn't an option. I know plenty of people gasp at this and say I'm putting my 2 hens' lives at risk by integrating without quarantining, but I simply don't have anywhere to quarantine other chickens.

    So WWYD?

    Just get the 2 hens (who are from a very reputable local dealer) and bung them in with your existing hens at night and hope it all works out? Or what?

    What do tiny flock owners do?

    Thanks all!
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    That's exactly what I'd do [​IMG].

    Seriously, I understand about the not being able to quarantine thing. And while I think quarantine is a good idea in theory, it doesn't always work out. I think each flock owner needs to do a risk assessment. If you new birds bring in something, you're possibly going to lose two, 4 year old hens. I understand you're likely attached to them and all that, but in the great scheme of things, not that great of a loss. Acceptable risk, in your eyes too, apparently.

    I know lots of folks are fans of long, drawn out integrations. Me, not so much. I move birds around to different breeding pens all the time. Open coop, get hen, take her to new coop, place her on roost, close door. Simple as that. I do usually do it at night, cause that's when I can catch them easily [​IMG]. I do watch them the next day, to see how things are going. There can be some squabbling and screaming, but overall it's short lived and they work things out in a matter of hours.

    That said, it's a good idea as a chicken owner to have a crate or kennel or something like that to keep a bird if you have an issue. You may need to pull one bird of either set for a few days, if they just won't settle down.

    Play it by ear. Do it on a day when you're available to watch them and just see how your particular birds do.
    2 people like this.
  3. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Thanks - we do have a small crate, but nothing that would work for a long term quarantine. It helped break a broody hen I had a few years ago, but she was in the crate in the run with her girls...
  4. The bottom line is your going to be adding disease to your flock...Depends what ones? ALL CHICKENS carry something, either contagious and threatening or what spreads without you noticing and makes them all carriers...Understand so far?
    We are all guilty of adding to our flocks..The proper Quarantine never takes place..Very technical on keeping things safe..On that note I wont even get into it..

    Add your birds if you need to get them, keep in a look no touch pen...wait a week and let them go with the other birds. Fighting will happen..Chasing as long as no blood is shed, they should be okay in a month or two one they become one flock...

    Best of luck
  5. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    Donrae said it best, great advice and summary... good luck... :)
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Do what works best for you, and realize there are many ways to raise chickens. One thing I do suggest is that you look them over VERY carefully for any signs of mites or lice. You might even dust them, just to be sure you are not bringing in any passengers. don't forget to oil their legs and feet.
    1 person likes this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The crate is not for quarantine, but great for short term isolation if things get too bloody.

    Ditto Dat^^^
  8. Sweetman1205

    Sweetman1205 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 7, 2016
    I agree Donrae....if in fact you were really really worried about illnesses you could always stop at a vet clinic right before you got home...get a quick look over maybe some tests and then throw em in! Just be careful with " reputable" i ordered 2, 9 week old ameraucanas ...i received 2 EEs that were under age, respiratory infections and riddled with worms!!! And i waited 3weeks for them....never the less i learned my lesson...i would recommend getting birds from people you know or friends friends.....chicken swaps here in Denver are great i don't know if you have the ability to go to one but i would! I would also recommend having some medication handy just in case...respiratory infectoins and worms are common putting all the birds on a DE regiment wouldn't be a bad idea too.....good luck!! Let us know how it goes!!
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
  9. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Agreed on the quarantine...and I would be taking a hard look at the next step, which is the integration. You will definitely want a look/no touch setup, otherwise you're going to get a dead/injured bird.

    I have a pretty big run, so I was able to section off a big portion for the new batch of chicks this year - kept them look/no touch for about 4 weeks and then integration went perfectly. The last remaining big hen still gives a warning peck if the youngsters get uppity, but for the most part they're all good now.

  10. Sweetman1205

    Sweetman1205 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 7, 2016
    That is a beautiful coop!! I recently switched to a sand bottom coop like yours and absolutely love love love it!!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by