Introducing one new hen to existing flock


In the Wild Plum Yonder
9 Years
Mar 7, 2010
near Crater Lake NP, Oregon
I have four 12 week old hens (two EEs, one GSL, one Barred Rock) who have been living out in the coop and run about 3 weeks now. I also have two 8 week old Welsummers, one pullet and one cockerel. I don't want to keep the cockerel and plan to give him away, but I didn't want the pullet to be by herself in the brooder. The brooder is in the garage, and I turn on the red heat lamp at night because it gets down into the low 40s and upper 30s. The coop is insulated and the temp doesn't drop much below 50 - there is a heat lamp out there on a thermostat which will turn on at 45 and off at 55.

I'd like to introduce the pullet, Maude, to the rest of the flock, and have taken the brooder (a 55 gallon Rubbermaid tub with hardware cloth "windows" and top) outside. My two lead hens squat, ruffle their neck feathers and hiss at the little Welsummer cockerel, which terrifies him. Since he bullies the Welsummer pullet (keeps her away from food, takes food away from her, chases her out from under the choice spot under the heat lamp), I find this semi-amusing, but I know better than to let him out of the brooder and into the larger coop. While I don't like the cockerel, I don't want to see him pecked to bits, either.

It's too cold to leave the brooder outside at night. I had been taking the brooder outside everyday last week, but it's been raining off-and-on for the last 5 days or so, and I don't want to get the chicks (and their bedding) wet. If I get rid of the cockerel, do you think I'd have better luck introducing the pullet? How do you introduce one hen to four?
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12 Years
Jul 21, 2007
Regarding the introductions, you can put them in an enclosure where the others can see them but cannot get to them. Let them get used to each other for a couple of weeks, then let her out with the rest. There will be some degree of pecking/chasing before they establish their social order, but they will. Keep an eye on them for a while just to be sure. Hopefully, your little roo will be gone by the time they are let out together. Good luck!

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