Introducing a new chicken to the flock

Wisegirl99

Chirping
Oct 19, 2018
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I have 4 chickens, I am brand new to keeping chickens. I've only had them for about 1 month. The guy I got them from is wondering if I would like another one. But I'm wondering if my other hens will fight with the new hen. I don't have any way of keeping them separated for a time like people suggest. What do you all suggest?
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
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The may know each other already if they grew up together. Did they? This could lesson the impact. There will be disruption to the pecking order. The risk of biosecurity is somewhat lessened by them having been together so recently. How old are they?

There is a trick I have used in the situations that can lesion the impact.

Do not introduce them during the day, rather simply put the new hen on the roost when it is really dark. They all wake up together and it can be just like she was always part of the group.

It is important that she have room to get away if the others react badly or you be observing in case you need to intervene. Overall it can be done and I have done it with little fuss several times.

One thought, if it went really bad, could you return the hen if you weren't comfortable with how it was going?
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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What does your new set up look like? How big is it? Does it have hideouts? It is a problem of chicken math, that one always wants more, but the coop/run stay the same size.

Overcrowding causes a LOT OF PROBLEMS. That being, I would not expect chickens to recognize a chicken they knew a month ago. I would think you would have much better success if you introduced a trio or a pair of birds, but ONLY IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF SPACE! A single bird integration can be the most difficult, everyone knows they are a stranger and get a peck in. In small set ups, this is much worse than in large set ups.

Otherwise, I think I would get through the winter with what you have, and see how it goes.
Mrs K
 

Wisegirl99

Chirping
Oct 19, 2018
81
53
98
The may know each other already if they grew up together. Did they? This could lesson the impact. There will be disruption to the pecking order. The risk of biosecurity is somewhat lessened by them having been together so recently. How old are they?

There is a trick I have used in the situations that can lesion the impact.

Do not introduce them during the day, rather simply put the new hen on the roost when it is really dark. They all wake up together and it can be just like she was always part of the group.

It is important that she have room to get away if the others react badly or you be observing in case you need to intervene. Overall it can be done and I have done it with little fuss several times.

One thought, if it went really bad, could you return the hen if you weren't comfortable with how it was going?

They are only about 7 months old. They did grow up together with the other one that he would be giving me.

So you're saying to put the new hen in the coop when it's dark. Would you say that I should go out there in the morning before sunrise to open the coop door and see what happens?
I do have the option to return the hen if it doesn't work out. How long does it usually take for them to get used to each other
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jan 1, 2016
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When I have done this successfully, it takes no time at all. The only time I would look to return her is if there is a serious injury to her. Otherwise they will settle in eventually.

Does your coop open to a run? I would be there to open the door the first day, especially if it will be a little crowded in the coop. For safety sake she needs room to avoid any potential bullies. My run is big enough I can sit in it and police things if needed. Is yours?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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I would advise against adding at this time.
Adding a single bird is the hardest integration.
They won't remember each other after a month and have a happy reunion.
The adding them at night thing might work, but often it doesn't...
...so be ready with a separate enclosure if you choose to do that.
 

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