Introducing new hens to flock


Apr 22, 2021
We currently only have three 14 week old pullets. 1 salmon faverolle and 2 silkies. They have a 6x5 ft coop and currently only stay in their run which is 13x10 ft. We will eventually let them roam the garden when they’re a bit older and bigger and once we’ve put up cat proof fencing around the whole perimeter of the garden walls, as there are a lot of pet and a few stray cats in my area and they like attacking my neighbours chickens. We also have a lot of foxes here too and they are ruthless little buggers when it comes to attacking the chickens around here. We were thinking of rescuing a few battery hens which are around a year or so old. Do you think we should wait until the pullets are older and bigger before introducing new hens to the flock? I don’t have a clue about integrating new hens to existing flocks as all the chickens we have had in the past have been raised together since hatch. But we would eventually like to add to the flock.
You need to keep the new chickens away from your flock to make sure they are healthy and not carrying any illness or disease. You should keep them on opposite sides of the property so if they have a respiratory disease, your flock won’t catch it. Most people do this for a month.
Then you do the see but no touch integration for 2-3 weeks to make sure they will all get along.
I don’t have a clue about integrating new hens to existing flocks as all the chickens we have had in the past have been raised together since hatch.
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:

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