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introducing new chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PuffMommy, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. PuffMommy

    PuffMommy In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2008
    Fairfield, CT
    i have 5 hens that are 12 weeks old. i just brought home two more that i think are probably closer to 8 weeks. they are NOT getting along. they did manage to all finally get into the coop for bed, though. right now it's the original 5 ganging up against the new 2. they free range during the day so the two groups stay pretty clear of each other. will they eventually start to get along? how long will it take before a truce is made?
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    yes! [​IMG]
  3. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I think they will eventually unite while free ranging as they get the pecking order straight. Thats just my opinion from what I've read. [​IMG]
  4. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I've only been raising chickens for about 3 months now, so I don't have a wealth of information, but in those short three months, I had the nerve to twice introduce new chickens to my original three.

    My first three (all standard size) were about 3 1/2 months old when I picked up two little 3 month old bantam cochins. The first thing that happened was that the standard cochin went right up and stood very tall over the little girls, looking down her beak at them. (She can get an evil eye when she wants to!) Then she started pecking them sharply on their tiny little heads. It was so sad!! The other two standards started doing the same thing and I just was so worried about my little girls, I quickly built them their own tiny coop so that at least at night they would have their own space. All the girls free ranged in the yard during the day, and because there was so much space and so many hiding spots, they got used to each other and after about a week, the banties started hopping up into the big girls' roost for the night. No problems after that.

    The second incident with introducing a new chicken went much worse, I thought, because I only introduced one new one. I traded the two banties for one black maran who was supposed to be three months old but may have been younger. She was pretty tiny and is a standard size. All three of my hens started in on her so bad, I thought she'd be bloodied after the first day or two. I felt so guilty! At this point, none of them were free ranging because we'd built a small run to attach to the coop, and the little maran did a lot of flapping around and hiding from the others. She would make sure to be in the coop if the girls were in the run or vice versa. It took about two weeks or more, but now all four lay down together for daytime naps, and roost together without issue. The new little one evens spars with the giant cochin! It's hilarious to watch. I changed the maran's name to Plucky after I watched the way she fearlessly snatched food out of the beaks of the older ones. Funny bird!

    I hope this gives you some idea of how it might go. I would say it's much better to get at least two new ones at a time to introduce to the old group, and that if they can have lots of neutral area to roam, the getting-to-know-you phase will be a lot gentler.

    I've learned my lesson. Any new hens getting introduced will be in large numbers, AND in a new space for all of the hens. I can't stand to see innocent little hens hurt like that.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I freerange, so my birds have too much to do to start picking on each other. They will give a peck here and there to some young upstart near the feeder or roosts but they are so busy eating or dusting they have no time for anything else. I would say in a confined area, things might go differently but they will still eventually establish a pecking order.

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