Introducing a new hen to my flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sunshynertc, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. sunshynertc

    sunshynertc In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    I currently had 5 hens (2 are 5 months old and 3 are 6 months old). I had the opportunity to get a 6th hen who is 6 months old from someone who is 18 miles from me. So I thought that she is the same age as my older hens, and the owner of the hen participates in the NPIP and said his hens are healthy. Since I am 6 months into my backyard chicken experience, I did not do the research I should have. The new hen is the same size as the other hens but they will not let her eat or drink. Tonight I found her asleep outside the coop.

    Should I keep her separate from the others and gradually get her introduced. How do I do it? I also have a mother hen and 3 pullets. The mother hen was part of the group but I separated her when she raised the chicks (the pullets are 10 weeks old.)

    What do I do about the lone hen? How do I ensure she is warm at night if I separate her from the other hens?

  2. rje ma

    rje ma In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2013
    First of all welcome to the backyard family.!
    In the future I would not combine any outside birds with my flock with out a one month quaranteen. Bio security is top priority.
    That being said you might want to take your chicken and bring her in and put her on the roost at night when the others are already there. After I did that a couple of times they got the idea. Also add some additional water and food stations and a couple of hiding places in the run. Then stand back and let them work out the pecking order. Only step in if they draw blood. It is always best to introduce more than one bird at a time. Last time I inroduced 6 new girls to 3 adult girls but only after the newbies were about the same size. I Did not have any problems at all.Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Adding a single bird is one of the hardest integrations. The established flock know that she does not belong.

    Personally, I would think that mixing the new bird with the chicks and mamma might be your best bet, if there is space enough. Keep them together for 2 weeks, and then add the whole works to the established flock. The mamma might attack and be unfriendly, but the chicks should not be too aggressive, so it would just be one adult and one adult, and they should work it out in a few days.

    Adding a group of birds is a better deal, as they do have a pecking order/friendship figured out, and there are SOOOO many new birds, the established flock can't just pick on one bird, so the fighting is spread out a bit.

    Mrs K
  4. sunshynertc

    sunshynertc In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    I know I created a problem by getting the new bird. I removed the alpha female so that the new hen can get acquainted with the rest of the flock. I do however think that this will create a new problem when the alpha female is returned.

    I will try to create a large space for the mother hen and the pullet with the new hen and see how that works out.

    If I put her in were the mother and the pullet are now the space it too small.

    Maybe the new hen is going to have to live separate from the flock.

  5. nab58

    nab58 Songster

    Mar 28, 2013
    I'm in the same situation as you. I added a single hen to my flock. She was not getting along in her former flock and for some reason, I thought she'd be fine in mine.:rolleyes:
    Like previously mentioned, the other just seem to know she doesn't belong. Plus, we feel she either has some mental issue that makes her not able to integrate with the others (this is the 2nd flock she hasn't gotten along with).

    We now have her roosting with the others. She crouches down on the poop board so they can't peck her head. We keep her butt covered with blue kote so they don't bloody her but they continue to pull her tail feather. Her head and comb are not injured at this point so we figure this situation just may remain as it is.
    She still refuses to go out in the run with the other and I often have to water and feed her by hand as she's very reluctant to come off the roost. I don't know if she'd allow herself to dehydrate/starve to death.
    It's very frustrating to see the others be so mean!

    I did see the rooster mate with her yesterday. I'm hoping if he continues to mate with her without any incident he may protect her from the other meanies.
    Good luck with your hen. Ilol be looking for updates to see if you get any good advice or make progress.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  6. sunshynertc

    sunshynertc In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    The new hen is Ameraucana-Maran, the two Ameraucana's do not seem to have any issues with her and have accepted her.

    My hens are now divided into three groups until the spring. The alpha hen with two others that the Alpha hen does not attack are in the first group (they are giving me eggs), the three Ameraucana, Ameraucana/maran hens are in the second group and the mother hen and her pullets are in the third group.

    I have just created more work for myself.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes, but you successfully solved a problem, learned a lesson and some new management techniques...hang in there!
  8. sunshynertc

    sunshynertc In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    An update to this story.... it has taken me 6 weeks to get the other hens to accept the lone hen that I introduced to the flock. The new hen is a very good winter layer.

    The Mother hen is with the other adult hens and the pullets are in an adjoining enclosure.

    When the fence (that we share with a neighbor) that got blown down in the recent storm gets fixed they will all share the orchard I have and roam freely in it.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015

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