Introducing new hens to flock

SknyCkn

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2020
4
16
26
What are the best ways to introduce 2 new hens to my flock? I have them in a crate near the coop now & it’s been 24 hours. These hens are a lot more wild than my flock who come when call & eat out of my hands! The person they came from free range only! They do not provide a coop at all, just throw some feed out on the ground. I still need to clip one wing on each before letting them lose. I learned that lesson the hard way when one of our barred rock hens who just started laying flew over the fence into a neighbors yard & was killed by her dog!! 😞
Anyway I want my flock to get along & don’t know how to make the proper introductions so they fit in & will stay with the rest! Thanks for all the help & advice!
 

drinkoj

Chicken Chaser
Premium Feather Member
May 24, 2020
551
1,080
196
Upstate South Carolina
You need to keep those new hens isolated for a week or two, to ensure there are no bad pests introduced to your existing flock.

Going to let someone else answer the new hens introduction part, as I've just introduced old pullets to much younger pullets.
 

Chold05

Chirping
May 24, 2020
38
133
56
Pittsburgh, PA
My Coop
I tried to introduce an older hen we tried to adopt from a friend to our flock of pullets... Out girls listen and are well behaved. The adopted chicken was WILD and wouldnt even eat treats when presented. We divided the run and kept them separate for a day. In the morning, we tried to introduce her and our girls picked on the new chicken relentlessly, I couldn't watch. The poor thing slept in the nest box and was TERRIFIED. I didn't have the heart to let it go on another day and we ended up giving her back to our friend.

You may need to keep them separate for several days. That may have helped us, but we were rushed on time. I also think you might have better luck since there are 2 of them and they will have each other.

I also read you can try slowly introducing them while free ranging. It's more of a neutral territory.

Once in the run, providing a place or 2 to let the newbies hide might also help! We propped an old piece of lattice up and they like to hide behind it.

Goodluck to you and the girls!
It's a stressful situation for everyone!
 

Starburst

Free Ranging
May 25, 2020
2,643
31,307
626
Western Washington
I'm so sorry for your loss. :hugs

You'll want to isolate/quarantine the new hens for several weeks to ensure that they don't carry anything harmful such as mites, parasites, and diseases. You might work on taming them while doing this. After several weeks of them being isolated and they appear to be healthy, I would suggest you start with a look-but-don't-touch method to introduce the chickens. You can do this by putting the new hens in the chicken run/yard or otherwise in the view of the other chickens. You might put them in a mobile chicken tractor, use chicken wire or hardware cloth to separate them, anything to keep them from pecking each other while still seeing each other. After a week or two of that, you can begin to slowly introduce them to one another for short excursions. There will be some fights, but after a while the pecking order will get smoothed out, and they should be able to live together with minimal squabbles. I hope everything works out for you!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,610
105,476
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
Might be too late, but...
Consider biological/medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article


Here's some tips about.....

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.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

SknyCkn

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2020
4
16
26
You need to keep those new hens isolated for a week or two, to ensure there are no bad pests introduced to your existing flock.

Going to let someone else answer the new hens introduction part, as I've just introduced old pullets to much younger pullets.
 

SknyCkn

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2020
4
16
26
Thank you! Sorry it took me a few days to figure out how to reply. This is my first go around in a group page like this one.
 

Quilted

In the Brooder
Mar 29, 2017
7
0
38
Vancouver, USA
It's now Halloween, and freezing here at night the last week or so. I have Auricanas and Maran crosses, two roosters and two pullets not yet laying. I am swapping the two roos for one hen of unknown age from the same source/breeder. Hoping the subtraction of the two guys and addition of one female will not upset everything and I end up with a bloody mess. I have NO way to isolate without having someone out in the cold. The raised 4'x4' coop does have three nesting boxes, and the run is 4'x12' so there is plenty of room to run about. And we let them outside, supervised, and they go right back in when we throw treats through the door into the run.
Wish you well with integrating yours new girl.
 

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