Introducing a new hen to 12 week old flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by astarr2, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. astarr2

    astarr2 Just Hatched

    Jun 29, 2016
    I have 4 hens (2 Silkies, 1 Isa Brown, 1 Barred Rock). Could I safely introduce another 12-16 week old hen with little conflict or should I wait till they're a little older? Our original 5th "hen" turned out to be a roo.
  2. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Is it possible for you to provide a divided enclosure so they can get to know each other through a fence of some sort?
  3. astarr2

    astarr2 Just Hatched

    Jun 29, 2016
    Hmm. I've got some extra chicken wire. I could set up a small area for the new hen to get acquainted. The coop isn't segregated, but I'm sure I could rig something up if I needed to.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I assume that your 4 current pullets are also 14-16 weeks old?
    (Pullets and cockerels until a year old....hens and cockbird/roosters after one year old)

    Single birds integrations are often the hardest. Territoriality is a real and strong impulse.
    It is best to split coop and run for introductions/integrations......might have to do some mix and match between the two enclosures until everyone settles down. Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, and places to hide/get up and away, etc,etc,etc.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    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.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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