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Best to add New Pullets at Night?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by happybooker1, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 Bantam hens (1 silkie and 3 Ameraucanas). I'm adding 2 or 3 more Silkie pullets. I heard it's best to slip them in the coop after dark. Is this correct? They are at least 4 months old (the new ones).
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It is best to wait until the new chickens are about the same size (if they are four months old they should be close), and have a long period of seeing but no touching ... through wire seem to work best, ie dividing the coop into two sections or keeping the new/younger ones in a cage inside the coup for a couple of weeks to a month at least. The chickens will get to know each other and sort of work out a pecking order before actually coming in contact with each other. If you can, letting them free range together is a good idea and should help... It will take a couple of weeks to get the pecking order sorted out. There is a nice article in the Learning Center on integrating flocks you might like to check out, the part about actually combining them is after the quarantine section https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock The adding them after dark seems to work best in larger flocks that have a large area, where new birds don't stand out as much... in small flocks the strangers are pretty obvious.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Ditto what Kelsie2290 said. With a small flock popping new birds into the coop at night is almost a guarantee of a nasty fight in the morning. In small flocks the existing birds are smart enough to recognize that there are strangers in their coop when it gets light and the coop is often where they are most territorial. If you are not right there to supervise it can go very badly for the new birds. Far better to do as suggested above, fence off an area for them next to the older birds and let them get properly aquainted for a couple weeks through the fence. Then try letting them out together. Chickens HATE newcomers and they can be brutal. Slower introductions are much less stressful for the new birds and for you as well!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    One way chickens have learned to live together in a flock is that the weaker run away or avoid the stronger. If you put them in the coop at night, please be out there before daylight to open the pop door so they can run away if they need to when they wake up and hope they don’t get trapped in a corner where they can’t run away.

    A lot of times it will work to just dump them in the coop. A lot of times it works to put the together during the day. Many times integration goes a whole lot smoother than people expect. Just because chickens can be deadly brutal to each other doesn’t mean they always will be. But they can be. In my opinion, your odds of success are much greater if you slowly introduce them and give them as much space as possible when you do integrate.

    Good luck!
     
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got a relatively large coop, so when I introduce new hens, they typically go in a large dog kennel I have (2x2x4 I'd guess) that gets placed inside the coop. They stay in there for a couple of days... by the time I let them out they've usually found their place in the coop, and they've been habituated to home (so you don't have those first day disappearances)
     
  6. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 4 older girls are so laid-back I can't even IMAGINE them pecking another chicken to blood. OCCASSIONALLY when I put out leftovers one Ameraucana will deliver a swift peck to the Silkie and the Silkie will squawk & jump & then it's over.

    Lacking another place to hold them over I slipped the 2 new Silkies (exactly the same size as the Ameraucanas) in the coop after dark. The others were already roosting. I always open the pop door when I leave for work, which is about 1/2 hour before sunrise. They have a good-sized fenced in area to "free-range" with plenty of bushes & the coop to hide under if necessary. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything will go just fine.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I use this little pen inside the coop for new chickens or for young pullets--it can be covered with bird netting on to to keep chicks in, and others out, and the poultry netting can be placed around it to keep little chicks inside. The segments come apart or can be expanded to make it bigger, and it can be turned upside down for littles, and the way it is for older ones. They stay inside this for at least a week, then they know where home is, and will come inside at night on their own to roost.

    [​IMG]
     

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