Introducing a new set of hens to existing flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wberry85, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. wberry85

    wberry85 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2011
    Milton, GA
    So this spring I got a bunch new chicks and eventually they will need to be introduced into my current flock. I have heard horror stories about this.

    Whats the best way to go about this so the process is as peaceful as possible?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Lots of threads on here about this. They should all be about the same size when you mix them. It's good to get them used to each other by keeping them separate but close to each other for some time, like a month. Then there seem to be two approaches. One is to put the new ones on the roost with the old ones after dark. The other is to have them in a large yard with hiding places available, and offer treats when you mix them.
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member


    There are a lot of variables, but one thing to recall is that chicken-time moves at a different pace than human-time, IMO. So drag the process out for as long as you can. If you have particularly calm breeds, and if the chickens are used to each other, you and they will have an easier time of it.

    1. They should be able to see each other for long enough that they are all familiar with each other by sight before integration. (They should mostly ignore each other).
    2. If you can free-range them together for a period of time, they can begin to work out their new pecking-order with plenty of space and room to run if someone is getting picked on.
    3. Make sure that there is lots of feed and water (extra feeders and waterers if you can arrange it) when you put them together.
    4. Some people slip the chickens in together at night so they will all wake up together in the morning. Make sure that it isn't just one new chicken (if you can) being put in with older chickens.

    I just put my 2 BPRs in with my new Ideal 236 and Easter Egger, but they have known about each other for about 4-months now. There was no great drama, and now they are all living together, but there is still a little pecking going on when one of the younger ones irritates one of the older ones. One thing mine started doing was visiting the coop of the other ones when all were free-ranging. One evening, I just closed them all up in the larger coop----and since then, they have been sharing space together. I do also let them out of the coop and run to free-range in the morning and most of the days that I can arrange to be around.

    Hope that you get lots of good replies for this question, and good luck with your combination.
  4. wberry85

    wberry85 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2011
    Milton, GA
    Hmm how to do this with only one coop is the question then?

    My plan is to take them outside on weekends as much as I can so the other chickens can get some exposure to them until they go back into their brooder inside. Hopefully a couple weeks of that will be enough. All of mine free range, so the only times they will be forced together is during the night and before I let them out in the morning. Ill get another feeder and waterer for them.

    Does it matter that the full grown hens are only a year old?
  5. Zigmont

    Zigmont Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2011
    I have had flocks that are fine, but my latest are a bunch of the meanest alive. Last week they pinned my little girl and ripped a hole in her head. Two hundred dollars for the vet, plus several hours of labor later, she and her buddy now have separate day quarters. They roost together at night, but all five, including the rooster attack her on sight during the day, even though the pens are adjacent with full view and even ability to touch. After months of slow introduction, I thought all was fine, but then she started to lay and they did not like that. Very frustrating. Good luck and I agree... Slowly......
  6. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    Great thread! Thanks for the info

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