Integrating new hens

MCreery

In the Brooder
May 29, 2020
15
8
16
Dallas GA
I have 5 hens and one rooster (7months old), they have a coop and a large yard. I'm building a second coop and small yard for future chickens. In November I am getting 3 - 4 month old Silkie hens. How long should I keep them separated? After that period of time, would it be good to put one or 2 of my existing hens in there with the new ones for a few weeks then introduce all back together? Thx!!
 

MCreery

In the Brooder
May 29, 2020
15
8
16
Dallas GA
2 Buff Orpington hens, 1 wydotte hen, 1 American Hen, 1 Barred rock hen and my Rooster is a barred Rock. Hes great with them and tolerates us!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
86,313
102,384
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
Is that your coop in your avatar?
What is your climate/location?

Here's some more 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.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

MCreery

In the Brooder
May 29, 2020
15
8
16
Dallas GA
Is that your coop in your avatar?
What is your climate/location?

Here's some more 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.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
Yes, the coop itself is in the back drop but their yard is 16x20, roosting bars, feeders, they get 2 snacks a day :) They are spoiled rotten!
I bought a prefab one from Tractor supply, its fine and supports my 6 just fine. But my new one that I'm building has a 5x7x4 inside area, with a 12x8 run. Then my plan is to connect the 2 next year with a 2x2x2 caged fence area. We've just had too much fun with them and treat them as pets.
Thanks for the info, helped alot.
 

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