I want to add a Chicken

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lenn, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. lenn

    lenn In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2014
    I tried thus past weekend to add a polish hen to my 5 hens... It was tragic, devastating and disturbing. I want very much to add to my small flock - by add, I mean a few 1-3. Is this possible? I can never EVER have what happened happen again! Will I need a separate coop/run? Is there a safe way to introduce them. Are chicks better than a hen? So upset and frustrated.
  2. ProviderEx

    ProviderEx In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2014
    First and foremost, I am very sorry for your experience.

    I gave two birds to a friend just recently. She has 6 adults.
    she said she will wait 3 weeks before introducing them.
    First reason is to prevent any cross contamination with her chickens. (Safety First)
    But also to give them time to adjust to her and get bigger.

    I have been told you only introduce at night, when they are all calm and sleepy.

    As for it possible. Yes, it is possible and many do it with no harsh consequences.

    I'm positive someone with MUCH more experience in this field will jump in and help.

    Best of luck
  3. lenn

    lenn In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2014
    Thank you. My girls are 7 months old. I love them but can't believe what happened! Now that I have chickens I want to be pickier with the breeds. A polish, a silky etc... So afraid at this point to even consider it.
  4. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

    Dec 10, 2013
    After your quarantine period you could try putting your new chickens in a cage where they can all see each other but not mingle. Let them get used to each other for a week or so. Then go out at night and put the newbies in the coop with the rest of the flock. They will still have to re-establish a pecking order but its usually peaceful again in about a week. Just watch for excessive bullying that brings blood. If a chicken bleeds get em outta there or the other chickens could kill it. Its also better if you get at least 2 new chickens at the same time. I've personally never added less than 4 at one time. That way it won't be just one chicken taking the brunt of the pecking. Integrating new chickens can be stressful but it usually works itself out. I have added chickens to my flock twice. Once with half grown chickens and once with 3 day old chicks hatched by Momma Hen. I plan on adding 2 full grown hens next month. Just remember that establishing the pecking order is normal chicken behavior. Try not to intervene unless it gets really bad. It only prolongs the process. I've had to walk away more than once. Hopefully you will have a better experience this time.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Age doesn't really matter, but size sure can.
    It's about territory, new birds are 'invaders', and a separate or adjacent coop/run is pretty necessary to have for integration.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens to flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies

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