I suppose this is a bit more of an article than a post, but I felt it was worth sharing. In reading through countless posts on BYC and several other Internet resources I was unable to find a suitable solution for introducing hens or pullets to an existing small flock (4 hens) in an urban setting. So here’s the "city dwellers" version of our experience. Hope it helps others in similar situations. We live on a quarter acre lot in a suburb of Salt Lake City. Keep in mind that our home takes up some of that acreage and our backyard is about half the remaining acreage so we are city dwellers raising backyard chickens to provide eggs for our family. We enjoy our girls as pets too and our flock free-ranges daily as their coop has an automatic pop door. We adopted 4 adult hens (RIR, Leghorn and two EEs) from a client of mine in March 2016 and have no clue as to their ages. Needless to say, it’s been a steep learning curve. We had no idea how much there is to learn about keeping hens and mistakes have been made along the way, but everyone is happy and healthy. That being said, we love them and LOVE having fresh, organic eggs. Egg production is not super consistent (we assume we have some older girls) so we decided to add two Wyandotte pullets to the flock in early September to maintain egg production. Little did we know what we were getting into when it comes to quarantining, introduction and assimilation into our existing small flock given our limited acreage. I made arrangements with the lady I bought the two Wyandotte’s from (a black laced red and a blue splash) to pick the girls up on a Friday morning, giving us a week to prepare a quarantine space—no easy task—and to allow us to keep a close eye on them over the weekend. We were not able to put them the recommended distance from our existing flock given our lot size (that would have put them in our neighbor’s backyard), but did the best we could with what we had to work with. We have a small side yard that was fenced and separate from the backyard and decided to put them there, bringing them in every night (to protect them from predators) to sleep under an open window in our living room in a metal dog crate with food and water, which we covered with an old blanket and lined with cardboard around the lower half of the crate in an attempt to contain the pine shavings. Our house smelled a bit like a barn for the next 3 weeks. We put a tree branch across and through the wires for them to roost. As a newbie to my first chicken integration project, I was feeling pretty proud of myself given our limited resources. I also capitalized on the week of “prep time” before picking up our new pullets to make sure my chicken first-aid kit was fully stocked with everything we might possibly need (thank you fresheggsdaily.com for the comprehensive first-aid kit list!). The side yard quarantine area was very basic: food and water and an old plastic medium size dog kennel as a nesting box with a tattered tarp draped across the top held up with bungee cords to the fence and a sturdy bush to keep the rain off of them. They free-ranged during the day and were rounded up as the sun went down, then back out the next morning for the next 16 days. I suppose if you had a large enough plastic dog crate with a locking door they could live outside in it for the quarantine period, but I was paranoid and felt better having them inside at night since our side yard is open on top and only has a 4' high chain link fence. To complicate matters, when I picked up our new pullets I noticed right away that the blue splash (Gertie) appeared considerably smaller and younger than the black laced red (Stella) and she was making chick sounds, not hen sounds. The lady I got them from had obviously mistaken their ages, which worried me as I thought I was buying two 20-week-old pullets and planned to introduce them to a small flock of adult hens so size was important. We dashed out and bought chick crumble and added Nutri-Drench to their daily water to give them a boost and kept a very close eye on them, inspecting them every morning and evening when we took them in and out. Having never raised chicks I had no idea how old Gertie or Stella were so I researched information on age, size and development. I ultimately guess-timated that Stella (the black laced red) was about 20-24 weeks old and Gertie (the splash) turned out to be roughly 8-9 weeks old as she began her second mini-molt shortly after we got her. Given that Gertie was so much younger and smaller I worried about how this would affect her integration into an adult flock. It was simply impractical for us to quarantine them for 30+ days so after 16 days we took a calculated risk based on careful daily assessments and moved to the “introduction phase.” The 16 days felt like forever. Orange temporary construction fencing was erected with rebar to cordon-off a section of our backyard so they could “see, but not touch each other.” Within hours there were mini-brawls through the plastic fencing…I was terrified. We continued this segregation for 4-days bringing Stella & Gertie in to sleep in the living room crate at night. I couldn’t help but think this was just prolonging the agony of true face-to-face interaction and establishment of a new pecking order, which was inevitable. We attempted the sneak’em into the nesting boxes on the 4th night after everyone was asleep, but all hell broke loose and Stella & Gertie wouldn’t remain in the boxes. The so-called “zombie state” of sleeping adult hens proved not to be the case despite it being 10 PM. Stella & Gertie were promptly removed and brought back to their living room crate. On the morning of the 5th day we opened the fencing so they could roam and threw lots of tasty snacks and scratch all over the backyard in an effort to keep everyone busy and full. We sat on the patio and kept a close eye on everyone. There was some chasing and squawking and the new girls kept their distance, foraging at the opposite end of our backyard from wherever the existing flock was. I diligently and closely monitored interactions and “refereed” as needed when it came time for everyone to meet face-to-face and I’m glad I did. I’m lucky to work from home, which allowed me to keep a watchful eye on the girls as the older hens most definitely took after Gertie. Thankfully, Stella stepped up as her protector and with the entire backyard to run and hide they held their own. That being said, having watched this process I would absolutely NOT recommend integrating a younger, smaller pullet to an established flock that is kept in a coop and run. If Gertie had been stuck in the run and coop and I was at work all day, I’m fairly certain the older hens would have killed her or severely injured her. Our coop is not large enough to haul in branches and hiding places for them to take cover under as is likely the case with most coops and runs in urban backyards, we just don’t have the acreage for huge coops & runs in most cases. I read several articles that said assimilation into the flock can take up to a week. Well, it’s been four weeks and we are just now beginning to see actual assimilation and it’s still a bit tenuous at times. A couple of our hens still chase Gertie with fervor. We continued to bring Stella and Gertie into the house at night for about a week after introductions and then one night Stella was in the coop with the other girls and Gertie was hiding under a bush nearby. Gertie continued to sleep in the house for another week after Stella joined the coop due to her size. A week later I took Gertie out after everyone went to sleep and sandwiched her between the coop wall and Stella on the roost where she would be protected (Gertie seems to think Stella is her mama, it’s very cute). Our RIR (Dotty) is quite the bully and is fine when they’re all outside, but mean as a hornet when in the coop for the night….and doesn’t quiet down despite complete darkness. I had to remove Dotty from the coop the following night as she was intent on attacking Gertie and put her in the living room dog crate for four nights in a row to put her in her place. If all this seems a bit arduous, it is. It’s been four weeks now and everyone goes in the coop on their own, although there is still some squabbling and squawking as they get settled in. The greatest improvement occurred just this past week. The lesson in all of this is simple. If you live in a suburban or city setting with minimal acreage and plan to add chicks, pullets or adult hens to your existing flock you had better take the time to plan, prepare and be ready for a lot of hard work. Chicks must remain separate until they are close to the size of the adults, which is roughly 20 weeks and that’s a big time commitment. This was not easy and took a lot of time, patience and effort to keep everyone safe and healthy. Boy, do I wish we owned a farm, it would have made things so much easier. In the end, we successfully added two pullets to our flock and are still working out the kinks in the pecking order, but now in our 4th week since face-to-face introductions things are finally starting to gel. Now, if we could just get Stella to stop laying eggs in the bushes all over the backyard, ugh. Stella began to lay as soon as we moved them into the backyard. Gertie is still growing her new feathers after her juvenile molt and I’m sure has a couple of months yet before she begins to lay. By then there will be snow on the ground and hopefully Gertie lays in the beautiful nesting boxes they have in the coop. Gertie still gets chased regularly, but is quick to run/fly away to safety and sticks pretty close to Stella. I keep telling her she needs to stand up for herself, but she ignores my guidance. The existing flock still won’t “share” breakfast with them and I have to provide separate dishes placed several feet from one another so Stella & Gertie can enjoy some high-protein breakfast gruel that I make every morning to help our girls get through their fall molt quicker and encourage egg-laying. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before the new girls on the block officially join the flock harmoniously.