Introducing a new hen

Vannahen

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2019
20
11
29
Missouri
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I have 7 hens, have never had any issues with getting along, I have just adopted a hen down the road, a fox got in a Woman’s coop and ate all the hens but one, so I’m taking her. How do I put her in the coop? Should I do it at night?
Thanks guys!!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
7,486
7,507
536
western South Dakota
Introducing a single bird can be a tough, the flock knows she does not belong, she knows she is in a strange place. A lot of people will recommend the see no touch, which is a good strategy if you can do it.

I have had good luck, I let the flock out of the coop/run and lock them out, while locking the new bird in. This lets her explore the new area without being chased for her life. Set up the feed along the fence. Wait as late as possible, nearly dark to let the layers back in. Then the urge to roost is nearly as strong as the urge to roost. Get down there early in the morning, to be sure. Might do this a couple of days if needed, but really the less you interfere the better.

If there is pecking on the roost, you can make a temporary divide with a piece of cardboard and some duct tape.

Often times, there are one or two birds of the original flock that are just relentless, and people tend to pull the victim out, and basically start over again. It is better to pull out the meanies, maybe in a dog crate for a day or two.

Do have hide outs, clutter in your run, multiple feed stations all help. A box, a piece of plywood, an extra roost, a ladder, a chair, anything that clutters up the run, so that it is just not a wide open space. This allows birds to get away from each other. To a bird, out of sight is out of mind.

good luck,

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,687
81,478
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
This might help:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/

As might this:
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/
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,538
13,037
707
Southeast Louisiana
I assume they are all adults, that simplifies things. It looks like you have a lot of room, which helps. Tight spaces and immature chickens complicates it.

You can go through what they said above, those are really safer things to do, especially if space is kind of tight or there are maturity differences. But it is not the way I'd try it. I'd turn her loose with the others during the day when I could be around to observe. Sometimes it is hard and those other things are good things to do but sometimes it is just that easy.

They will determine her place in the pecking order, especially the more dominant hens. They will almost certainly peck her and try to intimidate her. How rough that gets will be determined some by the personality of the more dominant hens and to a large part on her reactions. There is no telling how violent that will be, that's why you need to observe. In general as long as there is no blood and they are not pinning her down and attacking, especially the head, I tend to let them go.

One caveat to that. I don't see any fences. I don't know what she will do at night. She might follow the others into the coop or she might sleep in a tree were she could be really hard to catch. In that case I'd house her in a cage or crate inside that open area of the coop for a couple of days and nights to give her the idea that coop is a safe place to spend the night. You'd get some advantage form the see but don't touch, but I'd still expect some violence when you first let her out to play with the others.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,687
81,478
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
One caveat to that. I don't see any fences. I don't know what she will do at night. She might follow the others into the coop or she might sleep in a tree were she could be really hard to catch. In that case I'd house her in a cage or crate inside that open area of the coop for a couple of days and nights to give her the idea that coop is a safe place to spend the night. You'd get some advantage form the see but don't touch, but I'd still expect some violence when you first let her out to play with the others.
Most important aspect to keeping them confined at first is to 'home' them to the new environment.
 
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