Introducing New Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by AshRosc, Jun 12, 2019 at 5:51 AM.

  1. AshRosc

    AshRosc Chirping

    30
    70
    66
    May 22, 2019
    Hi! 3 weeks ago I got 6 hens, they were around 22 weeks old. Today I am getting 6 more hens, they will be the same age and I am getting them from the same place as the first 6. Any tips on how to integrate the new birds with the existing birds? My chickens are free range so there’s no run for them. When I got my first 6, I kept them confined for 3 days. I’m not sure how to do that this time though since my existing birds will need access to the coop.
     
  2. The_BirdNerd

    The_BirdNerd Chirping

    28
    78
    64
    Wednesday
    Australia, Melbourne
    Hi there! You’re very lucky to have so many chooks, hope you have fun with them all!

    Usually when introducing birds, it is best to get two or more from the same batch just so they don’t feel alone, then you should keep them separate but at a place where they can talk to the other chickens. A dog kennel or dog gate can come in handy, as the chickens don’t need to be able to touch each other to get to know each other. After about two days or more, and the chickens are used to the others and their environment then they should be good to start putting them with the others.

    Sorry for the long Paragraph, I’ve only actually done this process with budgies and it’s worked perfectly, but chickens could be different. I’d suggest waiting for another person to reply :)
     
    AshRosc likes this.
  3. AshRosc

    AshRosc Chirping

    30
    70
    66
    May 22, 2019
    Thank you for the advice! I’m excited to have more. One of my ideas was to section off a portion of the coop(probably with pallets or something similar) and keep them in there but I don’t know if that will stress them out too much.
     
    The_BirdNerd likes this.
  4. The_BirdNerd

    The_BirdNerd Chirping

    28
    78
    64
    Wednesday
    Australia, Melbourne
    Generally most chickens do well whether being free ranged or in confinement. If you are still worried about them getting too stressed, you could let the first chickens out for half the day and the second chickens for the other half. That way they both get time to roam and get fresh air! If this is not possible, just make sure that there is a plentiful amount of food and water for the chickens that are sectioned off, it could maybe give you more of an opportunity to socialise with them too!
     
    AshRosc likes this.
  5. AshRosc

    AshRosc Chirping

    30
    70
    66
    May 22, 2019
    That’s a good idea .. I’m hoping it ends up being really easy to do since they came from the same place. 3 weeks ago they were all in a coop together so they won’t be completely new to each other.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    60,707
    49,601
    1,347
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That's a good idea.
    They will be stressed regardless, better to have them in a safe space than be harassed by the other birds where they might run off because they are not 'homed' to the coop. After a week or so let them range, late in the day, and see what happens.

    Don't count on that. They might be fine but it doesn't take long for birds to become 'strangers'.


    Here some tips on....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
     
    AshRosc likes this.
  7. AshRosc

    AshRosc Chirping

    30
    70
    66
    May 22, 2019
    Wow! Thanks for all of the information
     
    The_BirdNerd likes this.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,626
    5,340
    476
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    No they will not "remember" these birds.

    I am praying you really do have a coop big enough for that, it should be be at least 48 square feet, so a 6 x 8, 4 x 12 feet. Too small of coop causes a lot of problems and free ranging will not compensate for too small of coop.

    As you are adding like birds to like birds, same as in same size, same breeding, same number and same age, that is to your advantage.

    What I would suggest is letting your original birds out in the morning, putting your new birds in the coop and shutting the door. You can arrange a temporary nest near the door they would enter, say a small dog crate, or a box, with a nice nest and some fake eggs in it if you need a place for your layers to lay eggs. Then very late in the day, at nearly dark but not quite, open the door to the coop.

    The new birds should not wander far, but I would stay close by, with a long stick in my hand to tap the ground with, and without yelling or running, just kind of keep them in the area of the coop. Throw scratch on the ground in a big area, really spreading it out so if covers a huge amount of space thinly.

    What I would expect to happen is the original birds will come in for the treat, and there will be a couple of dust ups, let those go as in do not interfere with them. With equal numbers of birds, it will keep a single bird from being ruthlessly picked on. If for some reason, one is bearing all the attack, break that up.

    The urge to roost will be pretty strong, and the originals will lead the way, the new birds may hang back, just stand back and let them take their time. If they start to leave the area, just tap the ground and say "Hut, hut" in a firm voice, but not yelling. Do not chase them even if one or two gets away, they will come back. Just keep the most of them in the general area of the coop door, you might have to move farther out, just do so. The idea is just to keep them between you and the coop. Add just the slightest of pressures by taking one or two slow steps toward them, just so that they take a few steps away from you, toward the coop. Patience and moving slow is truly faster. They will go in eventually, then shut the door, and get down there early in the morning.

    When I add adult birds, once they have stayed a night in a coop, as long as the coop is the nicest area to roost, they go back there the next night. But as you have no run, I would go down several times the first few days with a can of scratch, shaking and calling them. The last one near dark.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 3:24 PM
  9. AshRosc

    AshRosc Chirping

    30
    70
    66
    May 22, 2019
    My coop is 160 sq ft. Thanks for the advice :)
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,626
    5,340
    476
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Sweet! 160 square feet? WOW!

    I only mentioned it, because many people get chicken math, and do not have enough space, and it causes SO many problems.

    Well then, I really don't think you should have any problems at all. Set up some hideouts, and you should be golden.
     
    AshRosc likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: