Introducing new same(ish) aged hens.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jeffross1968, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I have a triplet of brown leghorns, a barred rock, a couple unknowns and a golden sebring rooster that we purchased separately in a couple day period about 5 or 6 weeks ago, and introduced to each other at the same time, into the same coop/run. Kept them all in there for a week before letting them out daily for free ranging. The only trouble is/was the rooster bullying the unknowns, but not to the point of blood or any real damage. Just very bossy and controlling. The free ranging helps, as they get most of the daylight hours on their own if they want. Couple questions...

    1) Plan on getting a couple more laying age hens in the next week to add to the flock. I really have no separate coop or cage to keep them in for a slow transistion, so plan to just pitch em in. Will their closeness in age reduce the problems of introducing new chickens?

    2) The others stay pretty close to the house during the day while free ranging, and come back to the coop at night on their own. But they were imprinted with their new home for a week before being let out. Will the new ones just fall into place and learn from the others? I'm hoping I don't have to keep them locked up in the coop with the others, or while the others are out free, for a week. It would cause a few issues, because the current hens are used to returning to lay during the day, and also their food and water are available inside the coop.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  2. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Everything I've read seems to discuss adding chicks or very young chickens to an established flock. Any ideas with adding same age chickens?
     
  3. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    If you introduce them at night while the others are roosting there will be less squabbling. some birds don't really care if you add new birds others really fuss. there will be some pecking and squaking no mater what you do [​IMG]
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    457
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Usually it's recommended to do the adding or merging when they reach a similar age or size. The two common methods seem to be, add onto the roost at night, and add while out foraging in a large enough space that they have room to get away from one another, with a distraction (treat.) I've never done it; this is just from reading here.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock
     
  5. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jeff, sometimes new girls just wander away if they aren`t familiarized with new surroundings. Since they will be at odds with the flock for a few days and not really know that your place is home, I would be leary of your plan to just "pitch em in". The idea to put them in with the others at night may do it, but they still would have no allegence to their new home, or the flock, in the morning. Perhaps just a ring of wire about 4 ft or so around would keep them contained for a day or so til they get somewhat established. Good luck.........Pop
     
  6. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Quote:I do have extra chicken wire that I could make a little spot for them to range during the day that should keep them safe from the rest of the flock. Probably a good idea. As for at night, the only separation I could give them, is a dog cage that is only 2ft x 2ft. I guess at night, I could set it next to the coop and give them their own water and a roost. Anyone think that would be sufficient for a few days?
     
  7. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    793
    4
    121
    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Quote:I do have extra chicken wire that I could make a little spot for them to range during the day that should keep them safe from the rest of the flock. Probably a good idea. As for at night, the only separation I could give them, is a dog cage that is only 2ft x 2ft. I guess at night, I could set it next to the coop and give them their own water and a roost. Anyone think that would be sufficient for a few days?

    I definitely wouldn't just toss the new girls in. I think it's a much better idea to create a contained space for them, separate from the others, where they can see one another and get acquainted without anyone getting hurt. I'd keep them separate like that for at least a week. In my experience, hens don't typically integrate in a matter of a day or two, it takes awhile, and the process can be bloody if they're not carefully managed. Keeping them in a separate space where they can see each other and mingle without danger won't guarantee that they'll integrate easily but it will definitely betters the odds!

    As for the crate at night, I'd use it. Put it inside the coop, if possible. When you're finally ready to fully integrate the girls, do it at night so it's less stressful. In the morning they wake up hungry and are less likely to focus on the newbies. By then, the new girls should recognize the coop as home and they can free-range with their new "friends", which will also help them safely integrate. It's worth the extra trouble!

    (If possible, it's always a good idea to isolate new birds for a month before mixing them with an existing flock, because even healthy birds from different places can make one another sick.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  8. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Well, what I'll do (if I even have any luck finding what I want...grr...for another thread, LOL), is make them a little temp pen for during the day, and then put them in the dog cage at night next to the coop. The size of the dog cage would unfortunately crowd the coop way too much. After a few days, I'll let them out to socialize and see what happens, and after a couple days of that, I'll add them, at night, to the rest and see what happens.
     
  9. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Good plan, Jeff. Have fun.......Pop
     
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,750
    1,253
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I wouldn't put them in a crate outside the coop. A predator will help themselves. They'd have better luck being in the coop with the others at night and their own section during the day.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by