Introducing new younger hens to the flock

stephandhens

In the Brooder
Mar 14, 2016
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I have lost three hens and would like to bring three younger birds into my flock of four birds, one rooster and three hens, 2 years old. How do you introduce new birds into the flock with the least amount of abuse and blood shed? I was going to try to get 6 mos. old hens.
 

chickenluver10

Chirping
Nov 7, 2017
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A method I would advise is to have them kind of together...but separated by a fence or cage...get what I'm saying? like have the older ones free ranging but the younger ones in the yard with them and in a small wire cage or something. maybe someone else can word it better, but I mean basically so that they can see and get used to eachother but can't peck each other.
 

Joeschooks

Just clucking around
Feb 7, 2018
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A method I would advise is to have them kind of together...but separated by a fence or cage...get what I'm saying? like have the older ones free ranging but the younger ones in the yard with them and in a small wire cage or something. maybe someone else can word it better, but I mean basically so that they can see and get used to eachother but can't peck each other.
X2. And after a week or so of this, sneak the newbies onto the roost with the big girls at night. Good luck.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
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Nov 12, 2009
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If you can get 6 month hens, they will be laying or laying very soon. 3 new ones to 4 established is pretty close to even. Full size birds to full size birds, and again, it should be pretty good. I really would not expect you to have too much trouble.

If you have a run/coop set up, I have found it helpful to put the old gang outside, free ranging locking them out of the coop/run and put the new girls inside the set up, locking them in. Everyone can see each other, the new ones get to explore the set up without being chased. Wait till near dark, and the new ones have gone to roost, and let the old ones back in.

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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I have lost three hens and would like to bring three younger birds into my flock of four birds, one rooster and three hens, 2 years old. How do you introduce new birds into the flock with the least amount of abuse and blood shed? I was going to try to get 6 mos. old hens.
Best to have extra, separate but adjacent, space to introduce new birds.

Might be safer from a 'pests and disease' standpoint to get chicks instead of 6mo birds. Chicks take less space and are easier to integrate too.

Consider biological/medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
BYC 'quarantine' search

Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

This used to be a better search, new format has reduced it's efficacy, but still:
Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading, BUT some info is outdated IMO:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
 

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