Introducing New Birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by antiqsolo, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. antiqsolo

    antiqsolo Out Of The Brooder

    39
    1
    24
    Sep 28, 2016
    I have seen many threads about how to introduce multiple chickens into an established flock, but my question is this: how would I go about introducing an entire new flock to one current chicken?

    We currently have a flock of nine; they're sweet birds but only one is a good layer, and she's also the only affectionate one- coming right up to you for treats or a pat. So we've decided that, come springtime, we are going to order a rainbow flock of more docile breeds, and the other eight girls will head off to a new home.

    At what age would I introduce these new birds to the one remaining? (The eight others will leave in the morning, coop will get a scrubdown and new hens introduced at roosting time.) I've heard people say to keep the new chicken in a pen inside the existing pen so that they can get used to each other.. should I be doing this with the older hen? Or, since there is only one remaining, will there even be an issue? Emma, the hen we're keeping from this flock, is currently near the top of the established pecking order currently.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    There should be little to no issue - I would wait until the young ones are about eight or nine weeks of age before introducing. And yes, do the introduction at night. I see no reason for any kind of separated introduction, just plop them in there.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,760
    9,256
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Are you getting older birds or day old chicks?


    Are these the unwanted birds?
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1144376/in-between-coops-where-to-house

    The one day "The eight others will leave in the morning, coop will get a scrubdown and new hens introduced at roosting time." is a little scary from a biological point of view.

    Should be interesting to see how the one Emma reacts to it all ....
    ......hope you report back here how it works out.


    Best of cLuck to you!
     
  4. antiqsolo

    antiqsolo Out Of The Brooder

    39
    1
    24
    Sep 28, 2016
    Aart,

    Yes those are the birds! We do love them, but we're wanting to start the process from day-old so as to have more affectionate, less stressed out birds. (It's quite stressful, as first time chicken owners, to not know how to properly care for chickens with pretty bad anxiety.) So we're keeping them until spring (hence why we're building them a run, and why I asked about whether or not they could be kept in a small kennel/tractor for a day), and then they'll probably end up going to a friend who keeps pet hens purely for the pleasure of it, as opposed to keeping a laying flock.

    It is a scary thought from a biological view, I would agree, but I don't want to stress our one girl out and leave her alone for too long. I would give her longer to adjust.. but she, more than any of our other birds, seems to need company. So we'll probably follow QueenMisha's advice, and introduce the new flock at eight or nine weeks. I'd like to introduce the new birds the same day the older ones go, and I've read that you're supposed to scrub the coop down between flocks.. it seems like maybe an unnecessary step (especially since the coop/run will only be six months old at that point).. what do you think? I'm vey anxious to get this whole thing right, and as I've mentioned, I'm very new to raising chickens- and there's an overwhelming amount of advice out there!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,760
    9,256
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep, there's a lot to learn.......it takes time and experience.
    Chickens are pretty naturally 'anxious', being prey animals...but most can be won over with patience and time.
    It especially takes time, you've got to spend a lot of time with them until they learn not to be afraid of you.

    Quoting centrarchid:
    "Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."



    Consider biological/medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  6. antiqsolo

    antiqsolo Out Of The Brooder

    39
    1
    24
    Sep 28, 2016
    These girls aren't afraid of me anymore. Mostly, they are very good with us- took them three or four weeks. They're very anxious in general though, and cruel to each other- they will peck at each other (not just pecking order.. they screech, pull feathers and get very upset), at the eggs another lays (they use the same nest box, their own choice even though they have options, but if one lays an egg and I don't get it out of the nest in time, the next will go in, peck open the egg, and lay her own), etc. The woman who'd had them before, I don't know what she did to them, but they won't likely soon forget. The one day that she came back, into the barn they're in, they ran away from her, around my feet.. they would not stop shaking for a couple of hours afterwards. So I think that they have higher levels of anxiety that I'm not ready to deal with yet, unfortunately. Otherwise, they are the sweetest birds, and I'm learning a lot from them so far! They have no problems with me being near them, they're very inquisitive- climbing on my shoes, singing when I pick them up. But I think they'd do better with someone more comfortable and knowledgable.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by