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Introducing new hens to a very recent flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sayuri, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Sayuri

    Sayuri New Egg

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    Hi! We got 5 hens a week ago and at the time I wanted a few more than we bought but the husband said no... Now he has decided he would like 3 more! [​IMG]

    I've read up on introducing new hens to an already existing flock and how careful you have to be but I don't want to upset the present chucks we have either. Because we've had them only a week would introducing new ones really mess up the pecking order or is it still being decided? We are going to be on the safe side and buy another coop and build another run so they are seperated at first and do the free ranging on shifts during the day and then introduce them after a week or so.

    I just wondered if anyone has done this before? Common sense tells me it's probably better to introduce them ASAP than later on, months down the line say. But I love my chucks already and don't want them to become unhappy or risk very bad fighting etc when they already seem to get along so well.

    Thank you for any advice! [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Some people here would just put them together and let them sort it out -- and watch for blood, which may not happen. You should also consider a month of quarantine -- although if they are coming from the same source, this should not be necessary. I don't think I would spend the money on a separate coop just to introduce a few hens, myself, if they don't need quarantine. I'd introduce them while turned loose in a field or the back yard, with hiding places, and watch. Or, put them on the roost after dark and hope no one notices the group is larger in the morning. More than one feeder and waterer is a good idea -- they can be temporary, just some old bowls or whatever.
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I would too. If you are going back to the same place, they have already been exposed to the same place, a week will not make any difference. And the sooner the better, as it is still a little bit strange to your first group, adding 3 more at night in the dark, I will bet that there will be no notice of the new ones in the morning.

    Go get them.

    Quarantine is a good practice, but it is a varies in necessity. IF you have a very large flock of hens, a lot of money tied into a special breed, or are hugely sensitive, where as the loss of a hen will make you seriously depressed. Then quarantine.

    Or if you don't know where the chickens came from, like from an auction, or a fair ground, then you can be really bringing in trouble. And there are horror stories on this forum, where whole flocks have been wiped out.

    But for a small group of hens, especially, basically as you imply that you are getting them from the same place, I would not worry, as long as the hens look healthy.

    I have a small flock, 10 head, have had a flock for 5 years, and have often added different hens, with very little trouble, and never quarantined, but I always got them from a place that I personally inspected not just the hens I was getting, but the hens on the place.

    MrsK
     
  4. Sayuri

    Sayuri New Egg

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    Hi again, thanks for both of your replies :)

    I'm happy to report we added a further 4 chickens to our flock and turned a small shed into a new hen house. We got another Silkie, Copper Black, Fenton Blue and a Fenton Rose. They've fitted in nicely and all my girls are getting along as best as possible. As the hen house was new to them all it helped the new ones to settle in quicker I think.

    Thanks again for all your advice :)
     
  5. Rvl Rookie

    Rvl Rookie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's something I was about to start a thread asking about. I have two roosters (my first ever chickens), and I'm planning to get four or six laying hens at a swap this weekend. My roosters free range every day, so I wondered if I should free range the new hens immediately or keep them cooped up for a bit to learn that it's *home*.
     
  6. whitetrashhorseranch

    whitetrashhorseranch Out Of The Brooder

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    This thread is old now - but I'd like similar input - Last week I have "inherited" an established flock of hens (and one rooster) from neighbors that moved away (shared yard, so the birds are not moving at all). And I would like to introduce one hen - that is currently living by itself in my sisters backyard. It appears very healthy, she simply does not want to have the one hen by herself any longer, and cannot invest the time on a larger flock. I do not have the facilities for quarantine (though I have a dog crate I can use to let her "share space" for a few days to help with pecking order).

    Should it be ok to skip the quarantine?

    Thanks!
     
  7. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It depends on how much risk you want to take. Your sisters hen appears to be healthy and has been living alone, almost a quarantine. The risk is that she is a carrier. Since you are getting the flock for nothing, you'll only be out you effort and the cost of treatment if she is. If I had a small flock I am leaning towards skipping.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I would be quite leery of adding a single chicken to an established flock. EVERYONE will know she is new, and want to give her a thump. she won't have any friends.

    It would be better to take 2-3 of your hens to your sisters for a couple of weeks, and then re-adding the whole group to your flock.

    mk
     
  9. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point Mrs K. That could cover two things at once. A couple of hens with her sisters bird for a couple of weeks could also tell if that hen was a carrier.
     
  10. whitetrashhorseranch

    whitetrashhorseranch Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm thank you both for your input - Going to have to give this some more thought and see if I can make it work out to take a couple there....
     

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