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Introducing New Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by his4ever, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. his4ever

    his4ever In the Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    I have some ~10week old poults I would like to introduce to the rest of my flock (of three chickens). I brought the poults into the chicken run with them still caged up so that everybody could see everyone. My older girls got really mad and the poults got really scared. What shall I do? Thanks!

  2. surgerynut

    surgerynut Chirping

    Apr 20, 2011
    Leavenworth, KS
    Can you put a divider in the cage so they are on each side but can still see each other? I'd do that for a couple weeks before you put them in the same run together.[​IMG]
  3. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    S.E. Michigan
    But, wouldn't the cage serve that purpose?
    Perhaps I'm confused [​IMG]...
  4. Kirtusjon

    Kirtusjon Songster

    If u have large enough area, the young ones should be able to get away from othe hens. They will have to get their picking order set. Even if in a cage, the older hens will still try to set a pecking order when u let them out of the cage. As long as u put more then one young one in, they should be fine unless u have an extremely mean hen. Sometimes it is hard to watch the older ones peck the younger ones, but it will always happen. Just make sure they are not tring to kill them, just setting the pecking order.
  5. tamglas

    tamglas Chirping

    Jul 24, 2011
    We just went through this process in June and it can take some time. Here is how we introduced two new hens to our flock of three.

    We had a cage that would not fit inside the run for the new hens so we placed it outside next to the run. This way they could slowly become introduced. There were times when we placed a towel between the two cages at the beginning because the two new girls seemed anxious (out of sight out of mind).

    We would have the two groups free range at separate times. It wasn't until the eighth day when we finally let them all free range together under our direct supervision. There were definitely times when we had rescue the news girls over the next few days and separate the two groups again.

    Also, it wasn't until day 9 that the newer hens insisted upon sleeping in the coop so we watched (much better than television) as they all made their way in and tried to figure out who was sleeping where. There were a few nights we had to put the new chickens in their cage because Mathilda (the hen at the top of the pecking order) was being overly aggressive with the newbies. It was after about two weeks when the two new girls came out of the coop in the morning looking very confident that it looked like the pecking order had been worked out, even though we still have problems when they are going into their coop at night to sleep. This maybe normal but can take up to 30-40 minutes for everyone to get settled.

    When they were finally able to chill in the run together we made sure to have at least two bowls of food and two water containers in there so our new girls would not be kept from eating or drinking.

    It took about 18 days before they were one big, relaxed flock and it seemed like a lot of work for us. We work from home so were able to supervise well also.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have anymore questions! [​IMG]
  6. surgerynut

    surgerynut Chirping

    Apr 20, 2011
    Leavenworth, KS
    Quote:I meant put a divider in the run to separate it into 2 portions. My chickens do well if they see each other for a couple of weeks before they are acutally confined together. [​IMG]
  7. smarquis86

    smarquis86 Songster

    Apr 17, 2011
    Yakima, WA
    Quote:im also in the process of trying to introduce my newbies with the old but still young flock. the newbies are about 8 weeks and the older ones are 15 weeks. how old should they be before i let them be together . right now they have a small coop and run in the older one run so they see each other everyday.

  8. tamglas

    tamglas Chirping

    Jul 24, 2011
    @smarquis86 I think it would be about the same time frame as I wrote about with the age groups you are working with but I am no expert on this. I also tried to get chickens that were around the same age as the hens we already had to try and mitigate problems between the two groups. So our old flock was about 4 1/2 months old when we got the two new hens who were 3 1/2 months old when we picked them up.

    It wasn't until after we introduced the new hens that we realized we should have kept them quarantined for a month. We got lucky and haven't had any problems with illnesses but next time we would definitely do this. I would hate to introduce our established flock to any sickness or disease!
  9. christineavatar

    christineavatar Songster

    May 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    I had nine chickens and bought nine chicks. I raised the chicks alone for several weeks and then decided to integrate them. I put them in a dog crate in the coop with a screen in front of it so the little ones could get out but the big ones couldn't get in. That seems to have worked out well. The younger ones still sleep alone and free range in their own group but I have no more need for the dog crate. The younger ones are starting to explore sleeping up in the rafters with the older hens. I put up a new roost just for them. The older hens aren't interested in it but the younger ones were hopping up there last night - they didn't sleep there they just were curious about it around bed time.
  10. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Songster

    Jul 15, 2011
    I have 3 Barred Rock who are almost 6 months old and 3 Ameraucanas that are about 3 months old. I let my BR free range and built a temporary pen for the Ameraucana to run in my yard. I have a very agressive BR so I was worried about the size difference. She corned them and would peck the crap out of em any chance she could. So I used my gentlest BR and put her in with the lil guys to give them some lessons on pecking order. She hardly touched em but would chase them now and then a little bit to the other side of the pen. It worked tho. When I let them all out after about 2-3 weeks my gentle chicken kinda seemed to intervene when the bully got to bad. she let them learn their place but wouldn't let it go to far.

    So if you have a non aggressive or mothery type hen try introducing her first? I know other people who have done the same with success to.

    For the pen I just used a lil chicken wire and 4 t-posts and made a lil 3'x5' pen for them.

    good luck! Its rough watching your babies through this but it must be done and its the way chickens do things......[​IMG]

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