Incorporating New Birds Into The Flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Browser8, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Browser8

    Browser8 In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2009
    We incubated a few eggs and they hatched on October 17th 2008.

    We kept them in the house with us until a little after the first of the year and then we moved them to the back yard and then we let them roam free range and they bed up at night in the chicken coop.

    Here is the problem. The hens are NOT having it. One of them especially.

    I never expected incorporation into the flock to be so difficult.

    Right now I have 3 hens roaming around together and 2 18+ week old chickens roaming completely separate from them. They have nothing to do with one another and even though they use the same chicken coop at night the new ones had better not even think about the top roost or the one bossy hen is going to have a fit.

    So... my question is 2 fold.

    1. Is there anything I can do to make the flock one?

    2. I have apparently done something severely wrong in my timing and incorporation of new birds to the flock. What should I do differently next time?

  2. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    From what I've read here on BYC there is always a pecking order and that there is always a head hen and then the low man on the totem pole. I havent had any real problems integrating new members in with mine but I've only done it twice. I can tell who is the boss and who is on the bottom.
  3. Daynna

    Daynna Hatching

    Oct 22, 2008
    I think there are always going to be some problems when you introduce new birds to an established flock. It has always made me feel bad to see the new ones picked on.

    What we found that works best for us is to introduce the new birds at night, when all are roosting. They all spent the night together, and when morning came, it was as though they had been together awhile. We never noticed her being picked on.

    We're Cracking Up
    Cracking Up Farms
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  4. sweet_peeps

    sweet_peeps Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    I have the same problem.
    Had 6 (9 month old) Barred Rock hens
    and introduced 2 (5 month old) Buff Orpington hens.

    2 weeks later I got a 5 month old Buff Orp. rooster which I named "Fry".

    The hens were a little peeved about the new hens but nothing compared to how angry they were when I brought the rooster home.
    They pecked at him everytime he approached them, the food, etc.
    I had to throw food in a separate area just for him.
    I never threw food outside before he came. But I was worried he wouldn't stand up for himself to be allowed to eat.

    And no, I didn't read about separating due to illness until AFTER I got him. The guy I bought them from told me to just put him in there. That they would all get along fine! HA!!

    Anyhow, it's been 5 weeks since I introduced the hens and 3 weeks since I brought Fry home and they still peck at him but a couple are starting to take dust baths with him.

    But all in all, my barred rocks hang out together and the 2 buff hens hang out with Fry.

    I still feel guilty about it.
    But I do love Fry.
    So he's not going anywhere!

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