Flock still not accepting new hen after 3wks


◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊
14 Years
Aug 19, 2008
Hi all,
Previously I had a flock of 3 hens (2 older mixed ameraucanas, one younger silkie) and 2 small silkie roosters. I adopted a new hen and quarantined her from the rest of the flock when I initially brought her home. 3 weeks ago she was first introduced to the rest of the flock while they all free ranged. For the first couple of weeks I kept her in a sectioned off area in the enclosed run so that she could be with them but they weren’t able to get into fights. At night she slept in a small dog carrier in the same coop- again, so they could be together without attacking her. After a couple weeks I began slowly introducing members of the flock with her in the sectioned off run space, starting with the hens who were lower in the pecking order. I introduced the two roosters last (one at a time). Initially she dominated the beta rooster, but the alpha rooster immediately just wanted to attack her and chase her and everywhere.
I read that it can take about 3 weeks for new chickens to get used to each other. After 3 weeks, she still won’t free range with them because the roosters (especially the alpha) keep chasing her away. At night when they go to bed she’s the last to go in and the alpha rooster just keeps chasing her away from the coop. During the day she just hides in the coop, up on the window sill where they can’t bother her. But whenever she comes down to get food/water, she gets chased around (I have multiple sources of food and water- both in the coop and outside in the run). I get that a new pecking order needs to be established, that’s just how it is with the chicken hierarchy, but why is it taking so long? I feel bad and I worry about pecking injuries. I feel like I’ve done everything I can and just need to let them figure it out at this point.
Any advice?
ETA: I try and remove one of the roosters during a portion of the day so that they’re not both going after her all the time. But for the most part they all need to be in the enclosed run together while I’m at work because we have too many predators around for them to free range all day unsupervised.
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Mrs. K

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
Introducing 1 new bird to an established flock is the most difficult introductions. If you could pull 1 other hen, and keep them together, they will have a dust up, but it should settle with just one to one. Introducing 1 to 5, with two being roosters is a tough one.

Post some pictures of your set up, often times experienced people can offer suggestions that will help.

Measure your coop...what might be enough space for 5 hens, is not enough space for 6 birds. Some birds take crowding better, but a lot of birds do not.

Mrs K

Crazy Maizie

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2020
Can you find a home for one of your roosters?

Here's a good article about introducing a single hen. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/

Introducing 1 chicken can be difficult. I think the idea of separating another one with her, maybe the lower one of the pecking order, is a good idea. But, I think you need to do that for a good two weeks. Another suggestion is to isolate the bully and fence them off so that they cannot attack the hen - this would also need to be done for a week or 2 before introducing it back to the flock.
Also rearranging the run and adding new items so the chickens aren't as focused on the new one helps too.
You need space as well and separate feed and water stations to have a successful integration.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-to-integrate-your-chicken-flock-the-easy-way.63034/#:~:text=This is one of the,not even pick at all!

And, I can't find it, but @aart has a good post or article regarding integrating with obstacles in a run that limits bullying.

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