Introducing more hens to the flock tomorrow!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by krazychick28, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. krazychick28

    krazychick28 In the Brooder

    Feb 13, 2011
    I got a Plymouth rock, a red production and an australorp coming tomorrow. The hens were born last summer and are laying so I heard. My chickens normally pick on the new hens and put them through a lot of hell for like a day or 2 until they adjust. Is it okay for the health of my other hens to keep bringing in more hens to the flock?

  2. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    you need to quarintine the new hens for 30 days before introducing them to you existing flock, or risk losing your flock to an unknow sickness the new hens might have
  3. krazychick28

    krazychick28 In the Brooder

    Feb 13, 2011
    Why 30 days?
  4. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca

  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing 8 Years

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    If you find yourself continually adding a couple birds here and there, it's best to build the quarantine cage right into the coop if you can. Something big enough for them to be comfortable in. 30 days is about how long it takes for them to show symptoms of disease, buys you time to really know if they are free from mites/lice/worms before putting them with your existing flock. I don't worry about disease as much as I worry about parasites personally, only because I've never encountered anything worse than a cold. But I have had to deal with scaly leg as well as mites in the past, and that sucked. I did things much differently with this new flock I have.

    I had a big wooden box just hanging out in the yard, I don't know what purpose it had for the last owner. But I took it, flipped it on it's side, screwed some boards to the sides, and put the roosts those side boards, right on top of that box. The open end retains the floor space in the coop, and acts as a poop board, AND, when I see a bird I have to have, I have a piece of fencing that fits the opening perfect, and I throw the new birds in there. Right now my 3 babies are in there getting used to the coop and the big mean girls. But it's been way easier than digging out a cage, finding space, it's right there ready for a new bird or 3.

    It also makes the introduction easier, because they could see and hear each other during that time, just no contact. At the 30 day mark, cut them loose in the evening near bedtime. They seem to take it better when they sleep with the new birds harmlessly. Course the new birds will likely sleep in their old quarters starting out.

    Chickens are birds, and birds are sensitive to disease, drafts, parasites, all kinds of things. It really doesn't take much, just one sick bird that looked healthy on the 1st day, to doom the whole flock or half of it. In my case, battling bugs is a pain. I am still bug free in this flock because of being "paranoid".
  6. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    With the 30 day quarantine the new chickens are supposed to be AS FAR AWAY from the original flock as possible. Quarantine in a garage, house, or basement, somewhere your current flock will NOT be sharing space. Most poultry illness' are airborn, and you need to keep them far far away from each other if possible.

    At least that's what they say.

    Also.. Quarantine ONLY gives you a chance, (slight) to catch any signs of illness. Chickens are prey animals, so they hide symptoms EXTREMELY well. You can quarantine for 60 or 90 days and sill add a sick bird to the flock. Some symptoms never show, and some birds are carriers while whatever virus is not openly active. Really, the best thing to do is not add birds at all, unless they are chicks from a hatchery and you brooded them yourself. There are so many risks involved with bringing in new birds, quarantine really is nowhere near bombproof.

    That being said, I know quite a few experienced chicken folk who actually do not quarantine for health reasons, only to integrate. Some chickeneers believe survival of the fittest. Whatever birds are not strong enough to fight off the illness, well.. they die. And those strong enough to overcome the symptoms live. Do they come across sick birds? Yes. Do their birds get sick? I am sure. But I have not heard of one losing more then a few birds in a flock of 20-30. When it comes to chickens, to each their own.

    just imho
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  7. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    Why quarantine?

    Info on introducing new birds from

    I think that over the past 7 years or so I've introduced chickens to others on about two dozen occasions. Thus far I haven't experienced any real major problems other than the 'pecking order' ritual and fairly noisy punch ups.

    Firstly I would say to introduce when you've a couple of days (or six weeks !!) off and can keep an eye on things.
    Friday would be a good time if you're professional etc.

    Nine times out of ten, I've simply put them in to the Chicken House (not in the open) and waited for them to find their own way out.
    Once out, they'll always know their way back in.

    When you do this, there may be some squabbling at dusk when all and sundry are returning to their home and on a few occasions I've had to catch the new ones and physically put them into the house.
    Not always an easy task and you usually end up with the neighbours complaining about the cursing !

    Each of the hens will have their own particular spot and will get obviously irritated if a newcomer steals it.
    After a while though, they settle down, often with the new ones down on the floor.

    By far the best method I have used is to wait til dark and put them into the house then. That way, they are not stealing anyone's favourite spot. You simply have a torch, go in, find an empty place and for want of better words, plonk them there.

    The last time I did it this way, I went up the garden quite early in the morning to see if all was well and all the chickens old and new were walking around the Pen as if they'd known each other for years.

    I didn't have one problem atall with them.


    On the odd occasion though there may be a real problem, especially when introducing just one on it's own. Two will partner off together and during the daytime keep out of the others way and go about their business.

    When you feed them, just sprinkle the food all over the place, not allowing for a mad rush to one particular spot.

    Chickens will always chase the last handful going in. They seem to think that the last is the best for some unknown reason. But it would appear this is just greediness.

    If it appears the old chickens are injuring the new one's the best idea is to separate them, but let them see each other and be close.
    This will mean building another smaller pen with chicken wire surrounds.

    But, if doing this, I would still move them into the Hen House at dusk - it is extremely rare for them to fight during the dark.
    Chances are, after a few days, they will be in harmony.

    Introducing ex-Battery Hens can be a problem sometimes. For one year they've been cooped up with nothing else to do than eat and peck each other.
    This can leave bad sore marks which other chickens are going to go for.

    Saying that, they can certainly look after themselves and won't stand much nonsense from

    But be warned, chickens are very magnetised to blood. If you go into a Pen wearing shorts and you have the smallest of gashs on your shin, they'll find it.
    You can only do so much. I would guess the settling down time to be around 6 weeks.

    During this time, the new and the old may go a bit off-lay.

  8. PinkchickenWhisperer

    PinkchickenWhisperer Hatching

    Dec 5, 2010
    I enjoyed reading everyone's experience in introducing new hens to the flock. My neighbor is moving out of state and has asked me to take her nine Red Sexlink hens. If I read up on them correctly they come from a cross with a Rhode Island Red rooster and Delaware hen and should be good layers. I have 14 other ladies and 1 rooster. I got him in a moment of 'feeling sorry for the underdog' and thought he was a hen. But as the cute fluffy-footed chick grew it became apparent he was a rooster. He has fathered 6 new chicks with my hens (we had 2 set last fall) of which 5 have survived. I have already gone through the pecking order. I really hate that! I sure hope these new nine will be able to band together for protection and just become part of the family. Sorry if I ramble - first time submitter.[​IMG]

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