Integrating chickens...


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 24, 2010
I am trying to integrate a chicken into my 2-3 year flock. I have some "Browns" and a friend gave me a black cochin that is about 5months. I put the chicken in the established flocks coop at night and they give her a heck of a time during the day. I have been locking them (the browns) out of the run so she can get some fresh air and peace...I don't know what else to do. Soon the weather will change and they will all have to be in the coop. Does anyone have any ideas for me?
integration is normally a difficult process.
Its harder when you are trying to integrate only one chicken into the flock because it will take most of the beating, compared to integrating lets say 5 more chickens (they flock won't know which one to pick on).
It also doesn't help if the newbie is younger or smaller then the others.

what you want to do is let them see each other through something like a mesh wall.
Let them be in the coop and run together so they get use to seeing each other, but so they can't harm the new one (you can use some type of crate or temporary fencing.
Once they have seen her for about a week or so, they may be less aggressive to her.

If its still a problem, take instigator/trouble maker starting the fights, out of the coop and introduce her back in about a week.
Then she will be seen as the new one and not highest on the pecking order anymore.
When you have to lock them up you could use a cage or dog crate to keep her in for a wk or 2. They can see her and she can see them but they cant hurt her. Then you could let her out and of course the pecking order will be established. Its better to introduce them like this instead of just throwing them in to fend for themselves and get beat up. I have 2 newbies and tried it the way you did and it didnt work so I have a large cage in my coop and placed them in there and will soon let them out with the other girls.
I agree that it's harder to add just one. I've been using the "buddy system" - I find that it works better to add 2 or more.

I just added a flock of 4 to my flock of 12. I divided my backyard in half with chicken wire and gave my new guys the side with the smaller coop. They got to see each other every day but couldn't fight with each other. After a week, I took down the wire (at night) and put the new guys inside the coop with my original flock. There was very little "henpecking" and there was no drop in egg production that sometimes happens as a result of re-establishing the pecking order.
Thank you so much! I will try your suggestions! I am heading out to take care of it right now! Thanks!

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