Integrating 3 hens to existing flock

Csteevo

Hatching
Jun 18, 2019
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0
7
hi all! Looking for advice on adding three hens who need a new how to our small flock of 4 hens and 1 rooster. My 5 are about 6 months old and free range on 2.5 acres during the day and sleep perched on the roof of their coop which is inside a horse stall. I am reading conflicting advice: transition them with new hens in a temporary cage or such or just throw them in with the space we have...advice from those with similar experience?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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Just tossing them in might work....or not.

You'll want to 'home' them to the coop before ranging them,
or they may just take to the trees.
That means leaving them confined in the coop,
but not allowing the existing birds to harass and/or harm them.

If your bird sleep on top of the coop(why?) maybe put the new birds in the coop.
Pics of your coop might help garner viable suggestions.

Here's some tips about .....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

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.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
 

Mybackyardpeepers

Free Ranging
Mar 22, 2019
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Michigan
You could try a throw them all together while free ranging, but once in your original flocks personal space (coop/run) your hens may get temperamental. I always do the look no touch when not supervised and supervised together time. Good luck!
 

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