How to Introduce a Chicken to a Flock of 2?


12 Years
Dec 15, 2007

My grandma has a separate free-ranging flock(a pair of slightly deformed roos and a normal hen) of an unknown breed in the backyard. My flock of 2, 5-month old New Hampshire Reds(a pullet and a cockerel) lives in a coop. When I let my flock out for free-range time, my grandma's flock attacks them when they come close, while my flock doesn't fight back and flee. It's probably because 2 isn't a flock....... The hen of my grandma's flock just started laying, and we don't have a nest box for her, so we decided to move her in the coop with my flock. She is the leader of my grandma's flock. Will the laying hen attack my 2 chickens, or will they establish a pecking order? What will happen to the 2 deformed roos?

Thanks in advance!
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Everyone eventually will get along. This is what chickens do. There is always drama when you introduce new chickens, you can't avoid it. Let them free range together, perhaps letting your chickens out first so that it doesn't look like they are invading the other's domain. After a week or two put them in the coop together at night, they'll be sleepy and there won't be as much drama.

The concern to me is the ratio of 3 roos to 2 hens. The hens will be stressed and exhausted. Is there a way to separate the roos so that the hens won't get beat up?
Thank you very much! Sorry for the late reply.....

Yes, I also thought that I must let them get along, even if blood needs to be spilled.... Quite hard to watch, but still. Oh, and the new hen I am going to introduce to my flock was from my grandma's free-ranging flock. She originally belongs to a different flock with deformed roos. They have no coop - only roost on trees. Yes, I was convincing my family to help me build a coop for them, even just a small one, but my grandma thinks having them free-range always is much better..... I now put her in my coop with a pullet and a cockerel. They had some fights, but eventually stopped. I have a feeling this is not over. I wish they would get along soon.

But I'm quite worried on the 2 deformed roos - when the hen gets along with my flock they might say, "Oh hen please come back to us!" But the hen will say, "Sorry, but SillyChick's flock is my family now." The hen was originally the leader of the pecking order, probably because the 2 are deformed. Poor roos.....

Oh, and I heard that a roo can fertilize 8 hens. Would that stress my pullet and the new hen? I don't think the deformed roos will be able to mate my hen and pullet.

My flock:
1 New Hampshire Red Pullet, 5-months old
1 New Hampshire Red Cockerel, 5-months old
1 Newly-added hen, breed unknown, originally from grandma's flock
Lives in coop
Usually attacked by Grandma's flock during free-range time

Grandma's flock:
2 Slightly deformed roos of the same unknown breed and age, probably missing their hen and finding a way to get her back
Lives in free range

Thanks in advance!
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I read something that said it's best if you can avoid introducing any new chickens into a flock, and in our case that seems to be true. We had two babies, about 15 and 17 weeks old, that we were meticulously separating from our three older hens until the babies were bigger. Well yesterday I accidentally left the top off the baby pen, which is inside the hen house, and came out to find the younger of the two (we think it was a rooster) dead. I really think one of our dominant RIRs killed him. Which is very disheartening, and makes me wonder how things will work out for the other baby...
The best way to introduce chickens into an already established flock is to seperate everybody for a few days first.

I've done this with a small flock of sex-links that would kill any newcomers within a few hours, so it works. I don't know how you would do this if it were a larger flock.

Say you have 5 birds already established in a flock, you would seperate each one into a cage or crate of somekind. Then place the cages away from eachother(a couple in the garage, a couple in the tool shed, and a couple still in the coop, but in cages). You keep them this way for almost a week and then when the week is up you re-introduce everyone and add the 2 new ones in at the same time.

Chickens have short term memory and will not remember who was in the flock before and who wasn't, they'll just be glad not to be alone anymore. There will still be a little competition going on trying to re-figure the whole pecking order, but it won't be the whole established flock against the newcomers, it will be every chick for itself.

This method has a latin name, I think it means something along the lines of confusion, or dissarray. Using this method I was able to introduce a single game hen, when the pre-established flock(6 sex-link hens) had already killed 2 sex-links, I had tried introducing earlier.

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Kim, that was really helpful. I will definitely remember those suggestions if we try again. I'm wondering though if our little guy was actually murdered or if he could have been sick. We couldn't see any sign of trauma on his body, but he did seem perfectly healthy the day before. So I don't know...

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