Introducing a new hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lazychuckiepig, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. lazychuckiepig

    lazychuckiepig Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2011

    I have just introduced a new hen, we originally had 4 chucks which were purchased from a farmer as End of lay. Over the years they have got old or ill and died off, we were left with 1 Rhode Island red. She seemed really lonely and bored so after seeing her like this for a few weeks we decided to get her a buddy, yesterday we saw a beautiful Bluebell chick at our local garden centre and fell in love, we took her home and introduced her to our original chuck. We now know we should have waited till evening and maybe seperated the run off but being niave and having no problems when we introduced our originals we didnt think it would be a problem.
    Yesterday there was a lot of fighting coming from the red which ended up in bluebell having a bit of a cut above her beak. I know what chickens can be like with blood so i put some chicken wire across the run and seperated them, at bed time they both were snuggled up in the coop together, not at opposite ends as i thought they would be. This morning they are keeping completely seperate, bluebell being so sweet and timid has only just left the coop and only because red chased her out so she could lay an egg! Red is generally terrorising bluebell, chasing her and at one point pinning her to the ground so she could peck her better! Bluebell doesnt seem to have any injuries today but the poor thing seems terrified. We can't let them freerange at the moment as our neighbours dog keeps breaking into the garden. We hope to get a new gate and get the garden secure so they can roam about but decided its not worth the risk at the moment.
    I thought i might purchase some antipecking spray, is this likely to help? Is this situation normal?
    Any help would be appreciated, its horrible to watch red picking on bluebell.
  2. lazychuckiepig

    lazychuckiepig Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2011
    OK now red is in the coop making a hell of a racket! its like she thinks she is a cockerel or something? at least she's letting bluebell have some time outside.
  3. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2011
    I have always tried to introduce at least two new chicks in with the older ones,,,,,I think that may spread the pain a little as one will not get the full attention of the hens(hen). Its still hard to watch, I never had any blood spilled. Going thru the same thing right now. I put in two pullets with my 11 older pullets and one rooster. Yesterday was a week that they've been in together. the new girls hang out in the coop, they only went out in the run once and were chased back in and only come down from the roost to eat and drink when everyone else is outside.
    Before that I introduced 3 new younger pullets to i older pullets. Its been over a month and the three new ones are still picked on but not hurt. They hang together, the other older ones hang together and I guess the new ones will do the same.
    I'm not sure it they ever really get fully intergrated.
    Good luck.
  4. Rachy

    Rachy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2011
    I've got a new hen in a seperate run. The others can see her and eventually get used to her but not kick her butt in the process. They free range, so when things have calmed down I'll let her out and then she'll have enough room to get away if need be.
  5. lazychuckiepig

    lazychuckiepig Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2011
    Thanks for the advice, its a bit late now to get another one but next time i will introduce them in pairs. I hope they do get along as its only the 2 of them, i think bluebells tend to be a bit shy, today she has mainly been in the coop, she has ventured out a few times and red seems more tolerant of her but maybe thats because bluebell is staying out of her way. I hope they become friends.
  6. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    I introduce the new member by keeping her in one of those 2'X 3' wire dog crates for a few hous before putting her in with the older hen.
  7. lazychuckiepig

    lazychuckiepig Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2011
    do you think it means anything that although bluebell seems terrified of red all day, today when i went to shut the coop they were snuggled up together looking best of friends? is this a good sign?
  8. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    that seems like a good sign to me, chickens are very social, so if it is just the two of them I am sure they will adjust quickly- it is much harder to introduce a single bird to a flock- but just one on one they should start getting along soon.
  9. JadeMurphy

    JadeMurphy Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 30, 2011
    It took mine less than a week to become the best of friends - in a similar situation.

    I never separated them in the first place though, and there was never a full blown fight, just shoving and a few pecks at the feeder and water.

    Good luck, I hope everything works out between them!
  10. jojobobo61

    jojobobo61 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2012
    I have the same problem you do, i have to put a pullet in the coop with 3 other hens and a rooster.The best thing to do is let nature take its chorus.

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