Introducing new pullets


11 Years
Feb 10, 2008
Portland, OR
Hi everyone,
It's been a while since I had new chickens and everything was going so smoothly, so I haven't posted in a while. Anyway, my flock had slowly dwindled over the years until I was down to just one hen. I didn't want her to be alone, and was ready to replenish my flock, but didn't want to start with babies. So I got five 6-8 week old pullets today. I picked them up in a small crate, and took the crate out to the coop. My older hen is very docile and scared of the pullets, and not being aggressive to them at all. But they won't come out of the crate. They are all piled in the back of the crate and not interested in coming out at all. I took one out and handled her, then put her down right outside the crate. She calmly walked right back in. I'm not sure what to do! My instinct is to just leave the crate in the coop with the door open, and wait. Does that seem like the right thing to do? They are right near the food and water, and I really want to help them find it. I'd love some advice! Let them be for now, or encourage them to come out? Also, I was wondering if they were cold, and that's why they were piled up, but it's 55 degrees out today. I do have a heat lamp in the top portion of the coop but they're in the lower part. I could also bring them in over night if you think the temperature is the issue. Any advice would be appreciated!

Michael Apple

11 Years
Mar 6, 2008
Northern California
New birds should be in a separate area for at least a month to make sure they are disease free before introducing them to your resident hen. New situations are scary to birds and many other animals. If they came from a warmer environment and are now being placed in a 55 degree environment (how cold is it at night?), that heightens the stress factor. They should have a coop of their own to be locked in at night, a roost to get familiar with, away from drafts, and an area to pick and scratch during the day, separate from your hen. It helps if they can see each other without being in contact with the older hen. Adding some vitamins-electrolytes in the water a few days a week helps with stress and scours.
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