How to Introduce a New Hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PreChickenLady, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. PreChickenLady

    PreChickenLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2015
    I have a flock of 6 chickens and I have discovered that one of my chickens is actually a rooster (they are about 15-16 weeks old). I am going to be giving the rooster to a friend who has lots of land and the chickens free-range. In return he is giving me a hen. What is the best way to introduce this hen to my existing flock? I was hoping that I could do a clean swap but my logical brain is telling me, along with research, that is not a good idea at all.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    How old is the hen, it's never a good idea to bring in one hen, she will not have anyone as her friend and she will be harassed and will never be a part of the flock in the same way as those raised together, personally I would wait until my younger ones get a bit older than introduce some younger ones later on, or get two, and house them next to each other for a few weeks than start letting them mingle.
     
  3. PreChickenLady

    PreChickenLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2015
    I was afraid of that. I have read that it can be difficult to introduce a solo hen (but possible) and more than likely she will be older than my current ones so I don't know if that will change anything. Also, my group as a whole are all very docile but I'm wondering if that is because they have a rooster with them who has kept them in line up until this point.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Chicks usually work out the pecking order when young and there isn't a lot of fighting. If your flock is quiet and docile that good and normal, now remove the rooster and try to add one older hen, and add in your girls are about to get moody when they start laying, well the calm could come to an end. I'm not a fan of dooming a hen to a life by herself within a flock, I have had older hens die and leave their friend behind and they do get depressed. So think carefully before doing it, and if you do decide to bring in two try to pick those that are friends.

    May I ask why are you getting rid of your rooster, it sounds like your little flock is working good.
     
  5. DeedeesInn

    DeedeesInn Out Of The Brooder

    Hi, I was in a very similar situation a few weeks ago. I had bought four chicks, and then it turned out that one was a roo, around age ten weeks. The place I bought them from agreed to give me a new hen to make up for the roo. They let me keep the roo, since I had found someone who wanted him (and not to eat). I got a new hen by herself, who was a week or two younger than the four I had. First I had her live alongside the others, in a separate run, for about ten days. Then I let them all in the same big space one day, but let them free range and gave them exciting treats to focus on. They were so busy with all that, that they didn't bother to chase the new hen too much. I had her sleep in her separate little coop a few more nights, and repeated the free range with treats all together a few more days. She got chased away some, but it wasn't too bad. Then one evening when they were all settled on their roost in the coop for the night, I put her on the roost with the others, and it worked. I made sure to open the coop right away at dawn, so that she would not get pecked on in the small space of the coop. She is stil at the bottom rank, but not getting pecked. The more space, the less fighting! Good luck!
     
  6. PreChickenLady

    PreChickenLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 24, 2015
    Unfortunately I have to get rid of my rooster because I live in a residential neighborhood. I would have no problem keeping him if I did not have neighbors...
     
  7. PreChickenLady

    PreChickenLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I am really hopeful that I can make this work. My husband decided that I should just throw her in with the others, but I know that is not a good idea at all. I just need to figure out what to do at night since I only have one coop and I have other animals and I don't really have a good place to put her in the house.
     
  8. DeedeesInn

    DeedeesInn Out Of The Brooder

    Do you have a dog crate or something like that? If not, she might be smart enough to not go in the coop until the others are all settled. Or you could help with that: close to sunset, get her out, and keep her elsewhere until it's dark and the others are settled on the roost. Then just put her in with them. Once hens are in the dark on the roost, they don't really move anymore. Before that, at dusk, it's major squabble time.
     
  9. PreChickenLady

    PreChickenLady Out Of The Brooder

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    The run I build for my chickens is attached to the coop and has a top to it so nothing can get in. Feasibly I could just leave the coop door open until they are all accustomed to one another and let her either stay in the run (I have some stumps in there that she can perch on) or once it is dark I can move her to the coop but with the door open she can make a quick exit if need be in the morning.
     
  10. DeedeesInn

    DeedeesInn Out Of The Brooder

    Yes, the more space for her to run away, the better! If it doesn't get too cold with the coop open ( depending where you live), leaving the coop open would be a good idea! I did that, I am in southern CAlifornia. How big is your coop and run?
     

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