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I Need Tips on How to Add Three New Hens to an existing small flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Catfsm, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Catfsm

    Catfsm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2011
    West Lnn, Oregon
    We have 7 chickens and two roosters. Three hens are in one house with one roo, and 4 are in with the second roo.

    All of them are full grown around a year or less old.

    I love them, and I am getting three more this week! I want them to live with the 3 hens and the roo. The new ones are about a year old.

    I need tips on how to introduce them, how to be sure they are safe, etc.

    Will the other chickens hurt them? Will the roo like them? Is it OK to just put them inside and watch to see what occurs?

    Thanks.
     
  2. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 1, 2011
    Columbia, MS
    I am new to chickens myself. I know they say you should incubate them for awhile to make sure they aren't sick. Of course, my husband just puts them in there with them. We have done this several times adding to our exsiting flock and usually goes well a little pecking but not bad. The first time we added 2 EE's. They stayed on the roost most of the time. Would get down and eat while the others freeranged. Then we added 2 Autralorps. There was some fighting that evening but after that it has been fine. Then we added 3 BCM and 1 BCM chick. I was worried mostly about the chick but it has all gone fine. There is gonna be some pecking !
     
  3. ChickenLove123

    ChickenLove123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2011
    I'll be interested in seeing what others say. I have heard that a "see but not touch" arrangement is good -- like putting them in a pen next to your existing birds so they get used to the idea of each other before they hang out together.
     
  4. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Unless you hatched the chicks yourself or got them from a reputable hatchery, you should start with a quarantine time. Generally 2 to 3 weeks worth of time will give you an indication of whether the birds are healthy. Otherwise you risk bringing in disease to your healthy flock.

    Then you decide how aggressive your birds are - would they be okay with you just putting the new birds in the coop? If so, after everyone falls asleep move the three new birds onto the roost and listen in the morning to see how things are going. That is the time of day when I merge my chicks into the larger flock.

    If you aren't sure how things will go or how aggressive your birds will be with these outsiders - then you can do the side-by-side thing for a week or so. Let them be in a run/coop nearby but not in the same area as your current flock. In the past I've created an exercise pen out of tomato cages and chicken wire. Then after they've heard each other and seen each other for about a week - I let them all be together, either freeranging or in the same run. And again keep an eye on how things go. Make sure there are places for the hens to hide if they are getting attacked. Only interfere if there is aggressive blood letting going on.

    There will be some pecking and squawking because they'll have to establish a new pecking order. But what will probably happen is the 3 new ones will stick together as a subflock. Eventually they may merge into the larger flock especially once the rooster starts mating them. He won't need much encouragement to mate the new hens if he's like my Foghorn. He had no trouble mating the 3 younger pullets that were merged into his care.

    Hope everything works for you - chickens are cool to watch when they are establishing their pecking order - I like to try to guess who will be the head hen.
     
  5. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2011
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    As long as the birds appear healthy and don't have any problems I've never quarantined them. I started off with 2 birds and now have 10. There have always been some pecking, but nothing that bad. I had one time with chicks and they lived in a cage in the coop because they were small.

    I didn't have a roo though, I added them last after the girls were established.
     

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