Introducing new ones

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lablover, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

    572
    9
    124
    Apr 7, 2012
    I have a flock of 8 that include 1 rooster and 4 hens that are 1.5 years old, and 3 young hens just starting to lay. They have a 10x10 dog kennel coop with a 10x28 run. That run is directed connected to a 12x7 (approx) run that is then attached to a 4x8 chicken tractor. It's basically a long run with 2 coops at the ends facing each other. The run are separated by a single fence. I have 2 new pullets that I want to add to the flock, so they are currently in the small setup. When I added pullets last time, there were 3 of them. They bonded quite nicely with each other, and still to this day, even after being with the older flock for months, prefer to go off on their own while free ranging, no matter how much the rooster tries to keep everyone together. So, with these 2 new girls, how long do I keep them separated? Is there any way to keep them from being so independent of the flock like the others?
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    988
    126
    171
    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    I would say keep them separated for maybe a week before trying anything. If you put them with the others and you see serious aggression (there will be some pecking either way, of course) then give it a little more time. As for them being independent, I have four Barred Rocks that I raised as chicks and introduced them to the rest about two years ago and they still kind of like to stick together, but they have really gotten a lot better at hanging around with other girls, so I think they will eventually just start getting more courageous as they go.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    34,028
    462
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    There are a lot of ways to approach this. I've often read to keep them side by side but separated for a month, not a week -- but I'm sure a week or even less would work with some birds. Here's a thread about this that has a lot of ideas. In particular, read Ridgerunner's post, as she has many years of experience.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/803815/integrating-two-groups/0_20
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  4. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

    572
    9
    124
    Apr 7, 2012
    Thanks, that was very helpful!

    The aggression from the older birds has already decreased from yesterday, although I did have to reinforce the dividing fence. The new ones wanted to be in with the flock, and the older ones were grabbing them through the fence. In a day or two, I will take down the reinforcement, so hopefully some less aggressive pecking will be able to take place if necessary. When I introduced the new ones before, I did it while the older ones were free ranging. For several days, the two flocks never came in contact even though they were housed so closely. The babies found their hiding spots. I did wait about a month for them to grow to a decent size before introducing them. But since these newest ones are about at that same age, I will try it earlier, so that they still maybe want to be with the older flock instead of being little hermits. If they are, that's ok, like LRH97 said. It really is a balancing act.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    34,028
    462
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's not unusual for a flock to have "sub flocks," even indefinitely. I have one hen has been a bit of a loner all her life, 2 or 3 years now. For a long time she wouldn't even roost on the roost boards. When there were 20 or 25 chickens, there were usually three groups who foraged separately from each other. When I had more than one rooster, each would have a different group of hens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by