Introducing new hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sweetpeep, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. sweetpeep

    sweetpeep New Egg

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    Oct 6, 2008
    6 days ago I introduced 6 new girls (4 and 6 mos. old) to my 3 5 mo. olds. During the first day I kept the newbies in the run while my established girls free ranged and checked them out through the fence. I put them together at night and then the next day again let the old ones out and kept the new ones in the run where they could see eachother. For the last 4 days they've all stayed together in the coop and run. Lots of pecking and herding into corners, but no blood so far. I've had to make sure the new ones have access to food and water because they were being bullied away.

    I'm new at this - the lady I got the new ones from suggested I keep the new ones in the coop/run for at least a week before letting them free range - so they would know where to come home to. I have two questions:

    1) Would it be best for me to keep letting the established hens free range during the day so they're not picking on the others so much, or should I just keep them together so they can work the pecking order out more quickly?

    2) After a week or so, is it okay to let the new ones free range (we live on an unfenced two acres) even if they're still not getting along? Or will they be scared away by the bullies and/or not come back to the coop at night?

    Thanks!

    BTW - I know I should have quarantined them and didn't - I couldn't figure out where to keep them for a month!!! I guess I'll just hope for the best.
     
  2. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    They must establish a pecking order, regardless to how mean we think it is, as long as there is no bloodshed, then it should be ok.
    (Remind me of this when I introduce my little girl to a younger roo!!! She is going to beat the stuffin out of him! She already prooved that.)
     

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