Introducing new hens to a laying group

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickens? WOW, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Chickens? WOW

    Chickens? WOW Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    39
    Mar 21, 2010
    Western Montana
    Three of my hens, have died in the past two weeks from predation, I have learned my lesson. I am very sad, but I have been thinking about introducing new hens to my group. I have 6 black sexlinks, 2 Aruacanas, 2 Barred rocks, and 1 Buff orpington. I can get chickens from local sources around here. I was wondering if I should bother getting new hens, I have heard that it is hard to introduce them, to an established group. I have 11 hens now. I was thinking that the buff might be picked on because she has no other fellow breed-mates do you think she will? Do you guys have any special ways of introducing new hens to your flocks? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    I introduce newbies all the time. Infact, I am introducing my 5-6week olds to my POL as we speak. Just make sure you observe strict quarantine for the new birds before you do this.

    I have two methods of intro. For adults, I have a small 8ft x 3ft x 3ft run butted up to my large coop. New adults go in there after quarantine for 1-2 weeks with a devider depending on the bird to be introduced (intros always go better with multiple newbies). Once the new bird is comfortable, I remove the divider so that the flock and the noob can enteract through the fence. Once everyone is comfortable with that, I slip the noob onto a roost in the dark, and watch carefully the following day. I keep everyone locked up for a week or so to observe interactions, and to make sure the new bird knows where to come back to roost at night.

    [​IMG]

    This is the adult intro pen. Durring the first part of the intro, there is a sheet of corugated metal that goes between the small pen and the big coop/run.

    For babies, like what I am doing now, I plunk down a removable pen in the middle of the coop, put everyone in it, give them a place to escape incase the big girls breach the pen, and make sure everyone has ample food and water until it is time to take the pen down. Because I put them out little (my current babies went out at 5weeks), I keep them shut away until the babies are big enough to be too much effort for a hawk to try to carry one off. By then, they have been out there long enough to know where to return at night, and they have been interacting with the "elders" for long enough to get along pretty smoothly.

    [​IMG]

    I stretch a piece of tarp across this "pen" normally, but couldn't find it this time...Sammie decided to help.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  3. Chickens? WOW

    Chickens? WOW Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    39
    Mar 21, 2010
    Western Montana
    Thank you the pictures were very helpful, and the descriptions are great. I have a pen I could put up right by the big pen, I think I will wait for spring, to introduce newbies. It won't be cold then, and I can get a couple extra in case some more of my girls don't make it through the winter. Thank you again!
     
  4. GrannysRoost

    GrannysRoost Chillin' With My Peeps

    650
    0
    111
    May 4, 2011
    Casa Grande
    Chickens? WOW :

    Three of my hens, have died in the past two weeks from predation, I have learned my lesson. I am very sad, but I have been thinking about introducing new hens to my group. I have 6 black sexlinks, 2 Aruacanas, 2 Barred rocks, and 1 Buff orpington. I can get chickens from local sources around here. I was wondering if I should bother getting new hens, I have heard that it is hard to introduce them, to an established group. I have 11 hens now. I was thinking that the buff might be picked on because she has no other fellow breed-mates do you think she will? Do you guys have any special ways of introducing new hens to your flocks? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    You really need to find out what is getting them first...bringing in new puts them in danger and it won't stop until you secure your pen and coop and find out what and how it is getting in...Good luck!​
     
  5. Chickens? WOW

    Chickens? WOW Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    39
    Mar 21, 2010
    Western Montana
    The girls were gotten when they were free ranging with some supervision they have a super secure pen that they will be in from now on. They don't like being in the pen all the time, but they will survive, literally. I am positive that the animal was a dog that has been seen around the neighborhood. (but not by me, I only got a quick look when he sprinted away) I hope that I can catch him sneaking around some time and turn him over to his owners, with a heated talk to them, or the humane society. Just wish me luck, I probably don't have a huge chance of doing that, but oh well. Thank you for the information.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by