Integrating New 16 Week Hens To Flock- Advice?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tinyfarmer, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. tinyfarmer

    tinyfarmer New Egg

    Sep 18, 2012
    Hi there, we are looking into adding 2 new Red Sexlink 16 week hens to our flock of 4 - (2 black sexlinks and 2 austrolorps.) The old flock are all the same age- about 8 months old.

    I was going to section off the run for a few days before letting them mix. But they do need to sleep together at night and I'm a bit nervous at how to deal with that. Please give me all your EXPERIENCED advice. What worked for you, what didn't and any tips you might have. I still have time to back out of this if it's not a good idea!

  2. I once had to put 6 new hens with my other flock of 6. I put them in the coop at night once it was the time when they get on their perch.
    They fought a little to work out the new pecking order. I wanted to break the fight but I knew when the fights were over they would all be freinds. Once you add the 2 new ones with the others just watch for 20 minuts to make sure none gat really badly hurt. If they fight dont break it up they just need to work out the pecking order.
    Hope I helped! Good Luck!
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I think you have a good plan. I would recommend not sleeping them together for two or three days but if circumstances are such that they all must be together at night, here is how I would do it. I would let the old girls go to their coop and after dark put the two new ones in the coop. They won't get picked on in the dark. And get them out right before daylight in the a.m. adn put them in their separate run. The second night I would do the same thing but put them in with just a little daylight left. The next morning I'd open the coop door and let them all come out together. Don't know if this is "right" or not but I've done this before with success. Good luck to you!!
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Mine gotta be tough. When the younger ones are four months or so, I just put them in. I do have plenty of space, though, and lots of things for them to hide behind. I add them at night, so they all wake up together. I just expect the young hens to get picked on for a while. I don't have blood, just a lot of squawking and frantically trying to get out of the older hen's way.

    Last night I thought I was being challenged by a younger rooster--I guess he's 5 months or so--but something was off about his behavior. It took me a few minutes to realize he wasn't challenging me, I was just between two older hens he was terrified of! He was jumping back and forth trying to figure out how to get away from them, I was totally incidental. Makes me glad I didn't boot him, poor thing!
  5. dowgirl71

    dowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 25, 2012
    Brewer, Maine
    Thanks for the tips on integrating new chicks. I have 2 BR girls that are about 9 mos old and would like to get more chicks, this spring, but I live in the city, and they can't free-range. Last fall, I had another older BR given to me and was unable to integrate her, but this is my first time with chickens of my own. Would it work to get 3 or 4 chicks to my 2 originals, so that they outnumber them, in addition to what you have suggested?
  6. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i'm glad for this thread. i have four girls & a rooster. the girls are the same age. i hoped they would go broody & i would get some babies - but it seems not. my flock is a little too small & i want to add four more. i want to get older ones. not sure where i would get 4 pullets of the breeds i want. also, i'm concerned about importing a disease. just can't seem to figure the logistics out.
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    The smaller the flock the harder it is to integrate new birds. Just don't rush it. I've had the best luck and least amount of serious fighting when the older birds have had plenty of time to get used to seeing the new birds around. Fencing off part of the run for them is exactly the right thing to do. I personally would do it for more then just a few days. At least a week would be good. If you want to put them in the coop at night with the older birds put them in something like a wire dog crate so they can be seen but not attacked. I do this for as long as it takes for everybody to settle down and stop trying to attack the new ones. When I first let them mingle I usually do it when they are free ranging. Eventually I just let them all go to the coop in the evening and stop putting the new birds in the crate. There will be some normal pecking order scuffles, you just want to watch at first and make sure you don't have a very aggressive older hen who fixates on attacking.

    This may seem long and drawn out but it works. In the past I've had a hen nearly killed while trying to integrate into a small flock so now I take things very slow. As a result we have minimal pecking order scuffles and stress on all the birds is minimized.
    1 person likes this.
  8. tinyfarmer

    tinyfarmer New Egg

    Sep 18, 2012
    Thank you so much for your comments and help.
    I do NOT look forward to this. But I'll take all of the advice and go for it. I'll check in and let you know how it goes and maybe ask for more tips. I get them delivered on Monday at 7 a.m. so a full day or being next to each other before nighttime, that's a good thing. I can't fit a crate in the coop I don't think....door is pretty narrow. I'll have to put them in when the others are sleeping and get them out before sunrise.

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