Introducing Chickens - Eight New to the Four Existing

lpyrbby

Songster
Oct 11, 2015
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166
Holly Hill, South Carolina
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Seeking some input on what to expect.

We started out, in May, with four 9 week olds. One we knew was a cockerel. A second cockerel showed himself a few weeks later. About 2 weeks ago, we picked up eight 6 month olds (the first four are now about 5 months old). They've been in an introduction pen next to the coop. Yes, I know, I skipped the 30 day quarantine. I will deal with the repercussions as necessary. So far, so good.
We are having kennel panels delivered tomorrow morning. As soon as I can get those panels up and secured, I want to let all the birds out and standby and see how things go. The 8 birds are in a small, 8x3x3 pen that, at best, can house 6 chickens comfortably. That's what I planned for but when the 8 showed up for sale, I figured a couple of weeks wouldn't be *so* bad so bought them all.
Should I let one group out before the other? How bad is too bad when it comes to bullying? Should I insist that they go back to their respective pens when it's time to go up, or just encourage things if they're okay with roosting together? Input?



This is their current arrangement. The four existing birds are in the big coop. The eight new birds are in the small pen. When we get the kennel panels, one panel will go at the rear, behind the introduction pen. The other panel to close up the expansion will end at the front of the main coop, to the right. We're getting 20x20 worth of 10ft long panels. The shape of the expansion pen is going to be a little weird, but we'll make it work somehow. Either way, they're looking at 30ft on the long side and 18ft or so for the "short" side.
 

dekel18042

Songster
Jul 18, 2013
2,195
299
241
Pennsylvania
Seeking some input on what to expect.

We started out, in May, with four 9 week olds. One we knew was a cockerel. A second cockerel showed himself a few weeks later. About 2 weeks ago, we picked up eight 6 month olds (the first four are now about 5 months old). They've been in an introduction pen next to the coop. Yes, I know, I skipped the 30 day quarantine. I will deal with the repercussions as necessary. So far, so good.
We are having kennel panels delivered tomorrow morning. As soon as I can get those panels up and secured, I want to let all the birds out and standby and see how things go. The 8 birds are in a small, 8x3x3 pen that, at best, can house 6 chickens comfortably. That's what I planned for but when the 8 showed up for sale, I figured a couple of weeks wouldn't be *so* bad so bought them all.
Should I let one group out before the other? How bad is too bad when it comes to bullying? Should I insist that they go back to their respective pens when it's time to go up, or just encourage things if they're okay with roosting together? Input?



This is their current arrangement. The four existing birds are in the big coop. The eight new birds are in the small pen. When we get the kennel panels, one panel will go at the rear, behind the introduction pen. The other panel to close up the expansion will end at the front of the main coop, to the right. We're getting 20x20 worth of 10ft long panels. The shape of the expansion pen is going to be a little weird, but we'll make it work somehow. Either way, they're looking at 30ft on the long side and 18ft or so for the "short" side.

If they are let out together to free range and have enough space to get away from each other there should be less of a problem.
At night they will probably go back into their own respective coops
I have three groups in coops next to each other who free range together with no problems yet to a bird each returns to his own coop at night. During the day they go in and out of each other's pens.
At some point, after we decide which are the keepers, usually as the weather is getting colder we will move those in the two smaller pens to the main coop (or we may combine the two smaller coops before then.)
This has been accomplished the last several years with minimal problems
If your birds want to roost together, so much the better. at some point when they seem to be getting along, then you might want to force it a little more
 

lpyrbby

Songster
Oct 11, 2015
675
226
166
Holly Hill, South Carolina
My Coop
My Coop
If they are let out together to free range and have enough space to get away from each other there should be less of a problem.
At night they will probably go back into their own respective coops
I have three groups in coops next to each other who free range together with no problems yet to a bird each returns to his own coop at night. During the day they go in and out of each other's pens.
At some point, after we decide which are the keepers, usually as the weather is getting colder we will move those in the two smaller pens to the main coop (or we may combine the two smaller coops before then.)
This has been accomplished the last several years with minimal problems
If your birds want to roost together, so much the better. at some point when they seem to be getting along, then you might want to force it a little more

I'm hoping they'll take to each other with minimal bickering. All the new birds have for a roost is out of PVC and they keep breaking it, so I kind of expect them to try to roost with the others since they're pretty much without.

Part of me is concerned that the 8 will gang up on the 4. I don't know what to make of that. I'm hoping that the 30x20 will be enough escape space for 12 birds.
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
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Jan 30, 2015
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I would imagine that problems will be minimal. Providing multiple feed stations will help reduce food based aggression. I got two new birds a couple of weeks ago and put them in my grow out pen, intending for them to be there for a few weeks. The day I got them, they flew out of the pen and roosted with the main flock - the best plans of mice and men... Anyway, quarantine not withstanding, they are happily part of the main flock.

Ct
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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So the kennel panels will encompass the doors of both existing enclosures?
I'd just open both doors and see what happens...
.....definitively put some hiding places, extra roosts, and feed/water stations in both the large hoop coop and the new kennel area.
 

lpyrbby

Songster
Oct 11, 2015
675
226
166
Holly Hill, South Carolina
My Coop
My Coop
So the kennel panels will encompass the doors of both existing enclosures?
I'd just open both doors and see what happens...
.....definitively put some hiding places, extra roosts, and feed/water stations in both the large hoop coop and the new kennel area.

Yep! That's the idea.



I'm dragging my feet because it's hot already lol. I think I'm going to start at the right side of the coop here and use zip ties to hold the door panel upright so I can work on getting each panel up, one at a time, at least until husband surfaces from slumber (he's still on a 2nd shift sleep cycle). My next small task, though, is just to get the clamps unscrewed from the fence. Baby steps I guess lol. The chickens are also "thrilled" that I'm out there bringing big scary things around their home.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Quote: Great visual there!!
Might be a good idea to put a tpost or two along the straight sections, would make it easier to get it all up too.
I don't blame your reluctance, I'm hiding from the heat myself. Looks like the birds could use some shade too.
 
Last edited:

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Looks great!!...maybe put a couple wide views pics here for discussions sake.

Put lots of distractions/hiding places in there before introduction......
.....or I foresee a strong possibility of them going right over the little coop and out.
Might want to use chicken wire to keep them off the little coop roof altogether.

Best of cLuck!!
 

lpyrbby

Songster
Oct 11, 2015
675
226
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Holly Hill, South Carolina
My Coop
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I have no idea what else I can put in there to offer some hiding space or distractions for them :( I have an old metal type chair where the seating is starting to tear. Um...We are out of money to build or buy anything else. We still have to redo the roosts inside the coop to accommodate the new birds better too. And a ledge for them to more easily get into the nest boxes.

We are going to put netting on the top and "close up" around the hoop coop to keep the adventurous in, especially the side with the introduction pen since they have a launch point. I'll keep trying to think if we have some other stuff to put in there.
 

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