Could this be a way to add one new hen to flock?

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
53
50
71
Hi all, I currently have 3 hens. Two I've had for months; the third was integrated with those two about a month ago (along with a fourth, who unfortunately subsequently become sick and died). I would like to have 4 chickens, but am concerned about adding in a single hen to my current flock of 3.

The new hen is lowest in the pecking order. I was thinking that maybe I could put her in with a new hen (after the new hen's quarantine, and separate from the original two), for a week or so, after which time I would integrate the two flocks of two. What are people's thoughts about this approach?
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,296
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Florida
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It might work. You could separate the older birds and put the new girls in the coop and then in a couple of weeks put the older ones back in with them. Sometimes changing coops and pens helps then when you put them all back together the transition goes a bit more smoothly. Luckily I have several coops and when I want to integrate birds I usually move them all to another coop so it is new to all of the birds. Good luck...
 

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
53
50
71
That's a good idea cmom! I hadn't thought of taking the older hens out of the "main" enclosure. The only thing is I don't have 2 coops, the separate area where I usually put new hens has a shed that I lock them in at night rather than a coop...it doesn't have nest boxes and while it has a perch that I built, chickens never seem to use it and sleep on hay on the floor instead. But I don't see that it would matter if the "old" hens go in the shed temporarily? No one is laying now.
 
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cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,296
29,311
901
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
That method has worked about the best for me. They will still establish a pecking order so their may be a little bickering now and then, but then you would move them back into your main coop and there would be other birds in their now and they would be the newcomers.

From a past experiences a little story. When I first started showing my birds at poultry shows, I would have to take birds out of their coops to get them ready for show. I have integrated birds prior but it was usually combining several birds. The problems weren't with the females but with the males. I separate my males from my females when the males really become annoying to the females and put them in bachelor coops and pens. I do sell my extra males but keep the best as future breeders. After a show I couldn't put the males I took to the show back in with the other males, they would fight and sometimes draw blood. I'm lucky that I have multiple coops and pens. I put the males that I took to the show back in with the females. They will establish their pecking order. Currently I have 3 males in one coop but as soon as I set up my breeding pens they will be moved. And it starts all over again. Now there aren't any shows because of covid but I will be setting up my breeding pens after the holidays. Good luck...
 

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
53
50
71
Interesting, you would think they would remember each other - but then, they *are* chickens, not the smartest ;) One reason I don't want any roosters! So far I've been lucky and haven't had any surprises in that regard.

Thanks again for the advice!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,455
13,087
656
western South Dakota
The original post is a good idea. Put the young birds together in the strange coop, or your temporary option, wait a week. Then flip them, put the older birds in the strange coop, and the young birds in your main coop. Do set up hide outs, multiple feed bowls, and roosts in the main coop. After two or three days and nights, then let the old birds in.

A lot of dinking around, but it will really help.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,296
29,311
901
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
More than one feeder is a good idea. I have had to do it because one bird would appear to guard the feeder so I put a second one in. One coop I cut a second pop door because one of the hens would guard it and not let the pullets in. She was a bully and eventually had to go.
 

onthefarmnj

Chirping
Sep 3, 2019
53
50
71
Thanks for the great ideas everyone! I will definitely have multiple feeders set out, along with separate areas for loafing in the shade. I like the idea of flipping them around in the different areas for a bit, seems like it would help even everyone out.
 

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