Can I introduce new hens when I have a baby chick in my flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Helenahenbasket, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Helenahenbasket

    Helenahenbasket In the Brooder

    5
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    Dec 16, 2018
    Stockton, New Jersey
    Hello,

    Helena here, I’m new to backyard chickens. I have a flock of 4: 1, Rooster, 2 hens, and 1 chick that’s 2 months old. The Mom has separated herself from the others to care for her chick alone. I’ve been wanting more hens in general for a few reasons. I just want to make sure that introducing 2-3 new adult hens won’t cause to much stress and upset? Or, if I should wait a few more months and then introduce them. My hope is that the 2 new hens will help bring the mom and baby back into the flock again. I don’t like mom and baby being alone from the flock.

    Thank you!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    53,533
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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC....love your screen name! :D

    What do you mean the mom and babe are 'alone'?
    Did you separate them or.....??

    Adding birds can be tricky....lots of space really helps.
    Knowing more about your setup, coop, run, range...
    ...dimensions and pics would help us help you.

    Oh, and....
    Where in this world are you located?
    Climate is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
    upload_2018-12-16_9-30-45.png
     
  3. Helenahenbasket

    Helenahenbasket In the Brooder

    5
    16
    29
    Dec 16, 2018
    Stockton, New Jersey
    Thank you, Art. I added some details to my profile.

    I live in New Jersey. I have a 4 hen box winterized chicken coop with a run. Our chickens are free range, everyday. They don’t even use the run.

    I did separate mom and baby by building them their own run away from the coop because the one hen was aggressive as well as my dog. For a week now the mom and chick have been integrated back into the coop. So, all 4 of them are sleeping together and get along fine. It’s just that during the day Mom separates herself and baby from the other 2. I feel that they would be safer with the rest of the flock.

    I don’t know if I should wait to introduce 2 new hens or just get the new ones in there....
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    53,533
    37,037
    1,237
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That's fine then, good that they all sleep in the same coop.
    It's not unusual for mama and chicks to forage separately from flock.
    Could be some dissension when mama decides to wean that single chick.

    So may be not enough room for more birds?
    Dimensions and pics please?
    Is this your first winter with chickens?
    Might be better to wait until spring,
    but here some thoughts on integrating new birds....

    Consider biological/medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    BYC 'quarantine' search

    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
     

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