Introducing new Hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicken03, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Chicken03

    Chicken03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am going to get 5 more Golden Comet hens. I already have 9. What do I need to do to introduce them to the flock? Will they get along? Do I need to quarintine them? Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Jennings Gamefowl

    Jennings Gamefowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    how old are they? i mostly just put them in there. YES the other hens will peck at the new ones but its just a pecking order.. the older hens are letting the newer ones know whos boss
     
  3. chickeneer

    chickeneer Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Hello,

    I have a similar question. I am a complete novice at raising chickens. I hatched 15 chickens and live in an urban neighborhood. After giving away most of my flock, I have one hen and one rooster. The rooster is going to have to go! He is so noisy, I'm worried about my neighbors complaining. I have two questions: After I give away my rooster, will my one remaining chicken be lonely? If so, can I put an 8 week old hen in with my 6 month old hen? I have a small coop that we built to accomodate no more than 4 chickens. Help? Thanks.
     
  4. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You need to be careful introducing new birds to a flock.

    (PLEASE be sure to do a quarantine period with the new birds before they are allowed anywhere near the other flock!!!)

    Occasionally it will go without any hitches but you really don't want to assume that all will go well!
    The consequences are really horrid and pretty dire (death or mutilation) if it doesn't go well and it can happen fast. Chicken03 I would put the new chickens in a cage or enclosure next to the others for about a week. Then what I like to do is release them all into an area that isn't 'owned' by any group. Then I hang out with them for as long as it takes, on the initial intro sometimes not long at all. As soon as things start getting too intense I put them back into their separate areas (a helper can be a good thing depending on how well your chickens do with being picked up or shooed into/out of areas) I do the supervised 'social time' as often as I can until they seem to have ironed out the most serious of the pecking order issues. I don't allow them to gang up on anyone, a little sparring and pecking, the occasional feather yanked is pretty normal. But if it gets too intense I break things up pretty quick. This has worked very well for me this far... Make sure the birds have things to hide behind or on top of if things get tough. I find that having some hay bales or higher roosts can really help and plenty of space so they can get away from each other if they need to. Also make sure that you have feeders and waterers in a few different places so that everyone can get to food and water without having to go past that dominant hen/s to get there. Sometimes it is just easier to get a new flock altogether rather than hassle with the introductions. It also depends on the breeds you are dealing with, some are a lot more tolerant and less aggressive and others will not tolerate newcomers at all and there WILL be bloodshed.

    Chickeneer, yes your remaining bird will not like not being in a 'flock' of some kind. In the wild they are much more vunerable on their own. HOWEVER, I would never put a much smaller bird with the older one. THat is a recipe for disaster unless the larger bird is the mother. If you want to get those two together then you will have to wait until they are nearer in size and then try. If you keep them next to each other but separated, the introduction will usually go a lot smoother when the time comes. Of course there is a lot more pressure on the relationship because there are no other birds to diffuse any differences if things get heated... and it doesn't sound like you have much space ... good luck figuring things out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  5. chickeneer

    chickeneer Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Godiva, Thanks for the feedback. Do you think the dynamics would be better if I introduced 2 younger hens to my 6 month old single remaining hen. Or should I find one other adult hen to introduce for company? That darned rooster crowed all day today and simply has to go tomorrow. My girl will be all alone and I am trying to figure out what to do! I do appreciate anyone's advice. Thank you.
     
  6. IggiMom

    IggiMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2009
    West Virginia
    I have NO IDEA if this really works or not. If you try it, please let me know.

    I was reading Practical Poultry from the UK and someone suggested going in at night and squirting everyone (not in their little faces) with some perfume. Need not be expensive. Supposedly they then will not be able to tell who is who.

    When I had sheep, if I had a ewe who would not accept her baby, I would rub Vicks vaporub on the lamb's behind and the ewe's nose, and she would then accept it. Sometimes. Same principle, I guess.
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. I would quarantine any new birds for at least a month before I put them together. I would keep them near each other where they can see each other but not touch each other. When I do put them together for the first time it is in a common area such as the yard. At first I give them turns in the yard. When I do let them all into the yard together I spread out plenty of scratch grain treats. Hopefully they will fixate more on the treats than each other. They will still bicker as they are establishing their pecking order and some integrations do go more smoothly than other. Not to be taken for granted.
     
  8. thesteven

    thesteven Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2009
    have NO IDEA if this really works or not. If you try it, please let me know.

    I was reading Practical Poultry from the UK and someone suggested going in at night and squirting everyone (not in their little faces) with some perfume. Need not be expensive. Supposedly they then will not be able to tell who is who.

    iggimom i read that too, i've introduced hens at night, without perfume and it worked. i've watched hens, they can be more cruel than roosters.
     

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