Introducing one pullet

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by deegee68, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. deegee68

    deegee68 Out Of The Brooder

    May 23, 2015

    We had 3 hens and unfortunately that is the max that I think we can fit in our coop. A few months ago, one of them died. The remaining two have been doing well. I wanted to add one more to the group but didn't want to start with a chick and we found a nice 4 week old barred rock. I know I just cant add the new pullet to the coop but I thought I could let her free range for a while with them. That didn't work, she got her beak pecked with in a few minutes. The last week we have had her inside and have taken her out but when the other two are free ranging, we keep her in the coop and then switch off. They have been curious with each other through the wire mesh.

    I was wondering if anyone has tips on how I can eventually get them together. It would be greatly appreciated.

    David G
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    There are lots of good threads on introducing new flock members and id suggest you take a look through those. Broadly speaking, its good to keep them apart - see but no touch for a while, and then consider introducing your new hen to 1 of the others when they are outdoors and see how it goes, then swap over. It may take some time, so be patient but don't panic too much about pecking, as long as there is no blood involved! If possible, have two feeding stations to reduce food based aggression also.

    Good luck

  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 and/or up and away from any bully birds.

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

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  4. deegee68

    deegee68 Out Of The Brooder

    May 23, 2015
    Just to give an update and ask for more advice. Our new girl is approaching 7 weeks and we have for the last couple of weeks, allowed her to go outside, while the other two are in their run, and then we put her in her small crate thing we made and allowed the two older hens out. So for a while they could only look but not touch. We then let them all be out to free range for a while and here is what is happening. One of the hens (White Leghorn) will walk up, give a small peck and walk away, not really a big deal, the other one (Australorp) will chase her and peck her hard, but the new girl is faster and will either hide or jump higher where the fat ones cant get to her. With this going on for a while and no real damage happening, we kind of just let things be and see how they all react. LIke I said, there is a little pecking going on and an occasional chase, but she seems to find her own niche to hang out in. At night I bring her back in the house.

    With this said, how does every one think I should proceed. I have included a picture of their living quarters for when I eventually get them all together.

  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That's sounds pretty good.
    Might want to put a roost up in the run portion of the coop/run and have them spend some time in there.
    Maybe start with the existing birds ranging while the new bird gets to explore the coop/run on her own.
    Just keep mixing them up trading places in the spaces, keep 2 separate feed/water stations everywhere.
    Try feed treats in one place while ranging, once they start to 'share' you'll know they are getting used to each other..
  6. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    I have a hoop coop I use for meat birds and another small run enclosure I built to house chicks after coming out of the brooder, both of these are in my yard where my regular laying flock ranges, this way they become familiar with the other chicken being in the yard but they can't get at each other. After a week or 2 I will let them all range together, they will squabble at first but it settles out, they all go back to their original coops at night, after awhile I throw them in the coop with the laying flock at night and everything works out OK, by the time I do this the chicks are quite large, maybe not full grown but I like them to be a good 2-3 months before I combine them in the coop. I've tried with younger chicks and they were just too small and didn't have the instinct to fight back or fly away and hide they would pile in the corner together and let the big birds pick them to death
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by