Aging layers... thinking pullets

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
My three girls are aging, and we are wanting to add some egg layers to our clucker family. I know I don’t want chicks, so I am looking for pullets. That said, my hens are not sociable. Barely tolerate each other. I know existing cluckers can be really cruel to new additions, so would it be best to get more than just two pullets? I also don’t have a way to integrate the pullets - no way to keep them separated from my hens... at least not now during the cold months. I’d appreciate some advice. TIA
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
1,691
5,511
377
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Everything I have read about this issue states that chickens cannot tell age, but they do know size. So if your pullets are small, they may get some bad treatment from your other hens.

Why is it that your 3 existing hens do not get along with each other? Is your coop too small? I know that many here on BYC forums recommend a minimum of 4 square feet per bird in the coop, but here in northern Minnesota where my chickens spend most of the winter in the coop, I actually built my coop for almost 8 square feet per bird. I think all that extra space helps keep the chickens from picking on each other. Anyway, I have 10 hens and they all get along well with one another which makes me happy. Also, they must be happy because I am getting lots of eggs from them.
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
Thank you. Not sure why my current ladies pick at each other. The coop itself is rather small, but they have a large covered run they have access to during the day, or if its warm enough they have the run of the property. The picking is not severe - and because I inherited the girls, I have no idea when it began or why. Ironically, the chicken that gets the brunt of the picking is also my best and most consistent layer. :🤷: So, just wondering about introducing pullets to the mix: number, best age, etc. :)
 
Nov 28, 2017
1,824
2,865
346
UK
Chickens shouldn’t just naturally be bullying each other, pecking order arguments are fine, but constant picking and pecking isn’t. Sounds like it’s gone on a while unaddressed but it’d be worth sorting that issue out first. If you’re just throwing some new pullets in, they will fight, and even flocks without existing issues can be ruthless, to the point of killing others. How big is your coop and run? What do you feed them? How old are they? Can you describe this picking, are they pulling feathers or causing wounds? What breed are they?
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
Chickens shouldn’t just naturally be bullying each other, pecking order arguments are fine, but constant picking and pecking isn’t. Sounds like it’s gone on a while unaddressed but it’d be worth sorting that issue out first. If you’re just throwing some new pullets in, they will fight, and even flocks without existing issues can be ruthless, to the point of killing others. How big is your coop and run? What do you feed them? How old are they? Can you describe this picking, are they pulling feathers or causing wounds? What breed are they?
Okay... my vagueness has led to assumptions that I need to correct. My hens are not pulling feathers or harming each other. As far as I can tell, it is a pecking order situation, but my Austra also has a definite dislike with sharing food, so she tends to be more cranky with my Red and Sex-link. And they prefer to be apart when loose, often going off in opposite directions rather than moving together. While I am concerned about integration, it is more based off other chicken owners’ horror stories than my own chickens’ behavior. I want to prevent an issue before it is an issue. :) so... back to my original question, revised: when integrating pullets to an aging flock, should I get more than one? Does size/age matter? Etc. (I am not concerned about coop and run size.)
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
They're going to be mean that's just the way of the hen lol!
Getting two or more pullets will help by distributing the butt kicking across a wider selection.
The meaness will improve once all new pullets are actively laying, something about everybody suffering equally warms old hen's hearts.:)
I just had flashbacks to when I was little... my mom’s chickens hated me! I think I was five, and she always had me let them out of the run, and toss them her bread scraps. I don’t remember much except they’d chase me and pecked at my legs. Lol Anyway, now as an adult, I think they just wanted something better than bread scraps. Lol

I just want to have more egg layers. I think I’d like to get more of my current breeds. I don’t know if that will help with integration, but I know they tolerate the weather here wonderfully, and are over all great layers.
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
You definitely should introduce two more and the more the merrier.
You will need a look no touch introduction. Things can get pretty brutal introducing chickens. Red birds are more aggressive also. What breeds are you planning to introduce?
Thanks. I am thinking of getting another Sex-link plus a Wyandotte (sp?). Though, bc my Red is such a great layer, my hubby wants more Reds. I am still researching breeds (laying, temperaments, and ability to handle crazy cold weather).
 

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