Best way to add hens to existing flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenmomma30, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. chickenmomma30

    chickenmomma30 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2016
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    I'm going to pick up to new year old hens in the am to add to my existing flock. Whats some advice you can give me on introducing them? My flock usually free ranges when I am home and I have a fortified 10x10 dog kennel attached to their coop for when I'm at work.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How many new birds, and how many existing birds?

    When I've added groups of birds, I just add them in. I've done this multiple times and had good results. Adding groups is different than adding one or two new birds, it's a different dynamic. There's still a lot for them to sort out, but it prevents the entire established flock from ganging up on one or two new birds and making things too hard on them. Having several newcomers to deal with is kind of like a rooster having enough hens to mate----the established birds spread the dominance over the entire group of newcomers, instead of focusing on one particular bird.

    I think what I'd do is let your flock out, and put the new birds in the kennel. You'll want to leave the new birds in the kennel for a few days anyway to imprint on them where home is. So, old birds out, new birds in. I'd do that for the day, keeping them separate. Then in the evening, let the old birds back in. Maybe make them wait until a bit after dusk, so the new birds have already gone to bed and the old birds are more eager to get on the roost, not so interested in squabbling with the newbies. Just see how things go in the morning when everyone wakes up. If you have plenty of space, they should be fine. I'd set up some hiding places inside the kennel for the newbies to hide behind, breaking line of sight can do wonders. Maybe double up on feeders and waterers, although I've not really had birds persistently chase others away from those.
     
  3. chickenmomma30

    chickenmomma30 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2016
    Pine Island, NewYork

    Thank you so much this is what I was thinking of doing. I have flock of 10 and I'm picking up 2 more.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Well, only 2 might have a hard time.

    I'd go ahead and give it a try. In my mind, there's no harm in trying the fast track method and seeing if it works. If not, you'll need a way to separate the newbies a bit and let the older birds get used to them a bit. I don't think there's a point in doing it more than a few days, myself. There's still going to be some issues when you put everyone together, but you never know how severe those issues are until you try it.

    This is assuming you're not worried about quarantine.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How big is your coop....in feet by feet?
    Do you have a separate but adjacent space to keep them in if the fast track technique doesn't work out?

    10x10 is tight for integration if things get nasty.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

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