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How to introduce new hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Vian, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Vian

    Vian Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    I have 3 rhode island red hens that are a year old that were raised together and get along fine. One is a clear dominant and the other two are more subordinate and they all get along fine. This year I got 2 new pullets that are about 6-7 weeks old now. I've been keeping them in a 4x4x2 foot box on my back porch with a heating pad cave. I took some chicken wire and set up a play pen out in the grass in the back yard and the last few days when I get home from work and am around to keep an eye on them, I have been putting the two new babies out in the play pen to have some outside play time, dig in the dirt, get some sun, etc.

    The 3 adult hens don't seem interested in the babies at all. They will come up and look at them, then move on without much interest. I put one of the more subordinate of the adults into the play pen with the babies and she ignored them for the most part, then randomly fluffed up and jumped at them. She didn't make contact and I seperated them quickly. The babies are fine.

    Just wondering how I should go about introducing the new pullets to the existing hens?
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The play pen thing can be good way to start things off, and adding the hens one at a time to the pen is not a bad idea either...but I'd make sure the babies have a place to get away from hen if she really goes after them.
    A peck here and there and even a bit of chasing is normal. If things get too rowdy just remove the hen.
    Keep trying this (Chicken Juggling!) with different hens until they go smoother....could take weeks of daily 'visits'.

    How big is your coop(feet by feet)?
    Is there a way to set up a safe haven for the chicks in there too?
    They'll need to 'home' to the coop before being allowed to free range(I am assuming your free range your other birds?).
  3. Vian

    Vian Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    They are free range within my back yard, which is fenced. They don't leave the yard. The coop is not big, about 4x2 feet, but all three of the RIR roost on top of the coop, rather than inside it at night, all cuddled together, except in really bad weather. They still lay their eggs inside the coop though (they tend to lay their eggs in the late morning, like between 10 and 12am) the coop also does not have a door, so they aren't trapped inside it or anything.

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