Introducing 2 birds to established hen

Peeple Who Need Peeple

9 Years
Apr 1, 2010
Hello All-
One of my Americauna chickens died today. We think she ate pine needles. Anyway we are down to one chicken, 1 year old. I have been Googling various opinions on the best way to introduce new chickens. I would really love BYC owners expert opinions. Is Scarlet in any danger by being the only chicken?

I have a chicken tractor that my previous three, than two, now one Americauna chicken live in.
I have a small separate run for introducing new chickens.
I literally have backyard chickens in a development, so I can't have too many.
I don't have a fenced in coop where I can put a cage in to introduce the chickens that way. I was envisioning putting the two runs next to each other for a few weeks.
Scarlet is one year old. Can I introduce pullets?

Anything else you would advice me on I would really appreciate.

My blog has pictures of the chicken tractor and the soccer-net-separate-run. (I don't know how to attach photos on this site)

Thank you, Donna


10 Years
Oct 8, 2009
Just make sure that if you buy pullets or full grown hens that you quarantine for at least 30 days before you do any kind of introducing


In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 1, 2011
Long Beach
here's what i do.
i'm no expert.
in anything.
so take everything i say with a grain of salt . . .

1. isolate your new chicken for 30 days.
2. at the end of 30 days - observe - does your new chicken show any signs of illness? i.e. runny eyes or nasal passages? or, perhaps has it turned a funny shade of green and is sporting glazed over milky colored eyes and clucking out something that sounds a bit like "braaaaaaaainz?"
3. DO NOT put this chicken in with your established flock - you do not want to launch a chicken-zombie-apocalypse. trust me on this one.
4. BUT if your new chicken seems okay, clear eyes, clear nasals, no zombie-chicken-mutterings then it is time to start the introduction process.
5. find a suitable chicken containment unit. a large dog crate is fine.
(or, if you are like me you can scrounge around for building items most commonly associated with gilligans island - bamboo, twine and chicken-wire - and cobble together a home-made temporary chicken containment unit. don't worry, spelling doesn't count and it need not last forever, really just a week or so.)
6. set up the temporary chicken containment unit in nearish proximity to your chicken tractor. not close enough for the chickens to actually touch, but certainly close enough so that they can mutter chicken obscenities at one another.
7. during daylight hours place your new chicken into the temporary unit with her food and water. cover part of the unit with a towel or blankie so that she can have a bit of shade if she wants it.
8.don't forget to put her back into a SECURE space once it gets dark. predators can breech a dog crate in no time. and chicken wire is not an issue for the average racoon, coyote etc.
9. check on your chickens often, observe their behavior. give them treats. tell them that part of growing up is learning how to get along with chickens from a variety of walks of life. after a few days you might notice that they are not muttering evil sentiments at each other anymore. pat yourself on the back for being such an effective chicken negotiator.
10. do you have some space in your yard to allow your chickens to safely free-range? awesome! let's use it. let your established hens out of their tractor. ply them AND your new chicken with delicious treats at the same time. let them do this for as long as you are able to supervise them. then reason with your hens and convince them to return to their tractor. when that doesn't work bribe them with some delicious chicken junk food.
11. the next day do the same. are your established chickens pretty much ignoring the newcomer or at least NOT rushing straight at her crate with their neck feathers standing straight up like jack-assess? good. allow the new chicken to come out of her containment unit. give everyone lots of treats.
12. there will probably be some squabbling now. chicken egos will puff up to enormous proportions. chases will ensue. but as long as there isn't any real violence - just lots of clucking and puffing and swearing it's okay. after 30 minutes or so, if no one is acting a fool, see if you can get EVERYONE to return to the tractor together.
13. check on your girls often to make sure that no one is being bullied. if there is any substantial violence remove the newcomer and go back to step 7. after a day or two try to facilitate a mixer once again. keep doing this until your chickens decide that getting along is easier than putting up with your ridiculous shenanigans.

good luck!


11 Years
Jan 26, 2010

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
Just to throw a wrench into the whole works, I will give totally different advice,
I think if you only have one hen, it is NOT like you are risking an entire flock, with years of breeding. I would get similar sized hens that look and act healthy, and put them in the coop after dark.

The next morning, they will probably act like they have always lived together.

Introduction problems occur when you are adding one hen to an established flock, not two hens to one hen. I would add two new hens to the one established hen. I had a flock going into winter, something got in, and I was down to two, not enough for body heat, I added 3 hens, all I could get at the time, and the new hens started laying the next day, and not a squabbler.

Quarantine is very very important if you are a serious flock raiser, with a great deal of time, genetics, and money invested. It is also important if you are very attached to your remaining hen, and would be devastated if you lost her. However, if you just have a few chickens cause you like chickens, and want a few more, it is a small risk. While there are diseases that show up later, or birds that are carriers, for the most part, healthy chickens look healthy. And there is not guarantee that even your own flock will never get sick.

There... totally different advice
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8 Years
Feb 16, 2011
Newport Tennessee
id say get at least three, to four hens, for security and heat, so you end up with about five. roosters dont seem to count much except with noise, unless you have security trouble for the girls, so i dont count them if you cannot have them anyway. or get the banty ones that sound like kazoos).

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