Introducing 4 hens to flock

lbah03

Chirping
Jun 21, 2019
24
50
64
Nebraska
Hello, I tried to introduce my 4 baby hens to my flock of 1 rooster and 4 hens. I let the new ones out and the rooster came running toward them. Not sure if he is going to be mean or not. The babies just started squeaking and running from him. He was chasing them. The hens did not come to see wha was going on. They were jus out in the yard. The baby hens are 10 weeks. Should I wait or try putting them in the run together? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you
 

coloradowildflower

Crowing
12 Years
Jul 12, 2008
319
198
261
Utah
First, how big are the babies? If they are too small, don't try to introduce them at all.

When they are sufficiently large (fully feathered and big enough to stand up for themselves, they can be introduced to the established flock. Not before, or the hens and rooster may kill them.

When they're big enough, remember to always introduce new flock members with a partition (wire is best) where they can see and hear each other, but cannot physically reach the new babies. Divide a part of your run or put a wire crate (be sure both sides have access to shade, water, and food) in the run. Let them hang out there in the day, then back to their own coops at night for about 2 weeks. After that, when the 2 groups don't seem at all interested in each other any more, you can put them together by placing the new members in the coop with the established flock at night.

Usually, they all come out in the morning and get along just fine (with some minor scuffles to be expected as the pecking order re-establishes).

You do want to watch them carefully the first week, though, to be very sure they are not being picked on. If they are, they may need more time separated before full integration.
Good luck!
 

lbah03

Chirping
Jun 21, 2019
24
50
64
Nebraska
Thank you, They have been in a run next to the flock for 3 weeks. I thought maybe they would be okay. I guess they are a little smaller then the other hens. s I just need to wait. I am just worried about the rooster being mean to them.
 

coloradowildflower

Crowing
12 Years
Jul 12, 2008
319
198
261
Utah
Yes, that's a valid concern. Good job--you've already done the right first steps in introducing them! When they're a bit bigger, I recommend night introduction, as it seems less confrontational. Another great method is to offer a section of the coop with wire divider that they can get under but the rooster can't, so they can get away from him if they feel threatened. Some people have also had success using low branches in a corner of the run for them to hide in for the same reason. Keep up the good work!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,509
130,072
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Here's some tips that might help 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/
 

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