Introducing pullets to our single older hen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SpinningJenny, May 23, 2016.

  1. SpinningJenny

    SpinningJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey BYC coop mind: I've been reading up on introducing chickens to a flock, and there's a lot of good info here but I have a concern since I'll be introducing 5 young ladies to our one older hen in the coop right now. She came to us as a rescue situation and is about 4 years old, we think.

    Henrietta has been the only chicken for a year now, and she's got a good even temperament. While she free ranges in the yard, I've been keeping the 3-week old chicks in the run of her coop during the day where she can see and interact with them but no one is able to touch each other. So, they're being introduced slowly by sight, as is recommended.

    This morning two of the young ones got out of the "transport bucket" and hopped into the coop with her. She stood VERY STILL and watched them and let them poke at her a minute before I shooed them into the run and closed it off. I was worried she might do something, but she seemed watchful, not aggressive. Good sign?

    What should I do when they are old enough to be in the same coop together, since I'm essentially unleashing a new flock on her territory and not the other way around? I'm afraid SHE will get ganged up on by the five who are very close.

    Any tips on this unconventional situation would be appreciated!
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd be tempted to just put them all in there for a bit to see what happens. She's not going to "adopt" them or anything warm and fuzzy like that, I don't think, but she may tolerate them. If you did do that, I would suggest close supervision, of course. She may just ignore them, or she may get territorial. There is no way of knowing until you try.
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dat^^^

    Multiple feed/water stations can help and other places to hide, perch, etc.
     
  4. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My neighbor had a chicken who was alone for over a year when they introduced a new addition she pecked all the feathers off its vent and behind! They had to separate them for a while. I would suggest a run closed off but next to eachother for a few weeks and don't introduced the newbies till they are at least 6 to 8 weeks old. Then u can put several feed and water stations out in the run so everyone can eat and drink peacefully.
     
  5. ldawntaylor

    ldawntaylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just my two cents here...I introduced my nine young ones to my one adult hen almost a month ago.

    I was planning to do the "see but not touch" routine with them but when I saw she was more interested than anything else I took the risk and let the chicks interact directly with her. Each of the chicks got a pretty solid peck from her when they got too close or got into "her" food.

    Since then they have kept a respectful distance.

    And she has been eating and drinking more. Until then she had not left the hen house since November. (The door has been open during the day - her choice not to leave). Since, she has been out in the run several times and is a lot more active.

    So, for me, this has been an easy transition. The results depend a lot on personalities, feed and water arrangements, and space involved. It is possible, it just may not be as easy.

    This second introduction of 3 week olds to the 8 and 9 week olds has had to be a lot slower.
     
  6. SpinningJenny

    SpinningJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This was pretty much my plan. They are in the closed off run during the day right now, with their own food and water. They can see and hear each other and so they are getting familiar, but they are safely behind the fence of the run! Keeping multiple feeling stations is definitely a good idea. I will do that.
     
  7. SpinningJenny

    SpinningJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you tell me more about introducing the littles to the adolescents? We are aiming for 16 chickens (15 for the big coop on my friend's property and 4 for our little coop in the yard, with me doing the rearing because I've got kids and it's the funnest part), so we will be hatching or getting more chicks in a couple weeks (soon as the new coop is finished). I'd love to hear more about how you introduce the two young batches in anticipation of our next phase!
     
  8. ldawntaylor

    ldawntaylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In essence I have a dog crate in the hen house that the youngest chicks were living in for a few days. I wonder does having younger chicks mean a shorter introduction time? That dog crate has food and water inside for them.

    A couple days ago I left the adult hen and the younger chicks in the hen house. And the other birds were out in the run. I made sure they had food and water available too. Then yesterday I have allowed all the chicks to interact. For a while I was checking on them every few minutes but they've been fine.

    At this point the dog crate is still in the hen house. The door is open but propped in such a way that only the newest birds can get in and out. There is still food and water inside the crate. I also make sure the hen house door is open as soon as I can see without my flashlight.

    A week intro is long compared to the 10 minute intro between adult hen and older chicks. I also wanted to point out that when I was introducing the older hen to the older chicks I only introduced one at a time instead of all 9 at once. That way the adult wasn't overwhelmed and the younger ones were just a little unsure of themselves.

    At all stages I have been ready to go back to the "can see but can't touch" introduction if I needed to.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I think it does..having just experienced it and having read about many other folks integrating younger, I'm convinced....younger chicks are less of a threat maybe.
    Tho I've noticed after 4 weeks together as the chicks get larger in size there's a bit more squabbling, but my coop is very crowded at this point.
     
  10. ldawntaylor

    ldawntaylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know if some of my older chicks being bantams makes a difference or not. I also don't know if subsequent introductions are easier. This 9 week olds introduced to 3 week olds was actually the third introduction this spring for the older chicks.

    Granted this is my first year with chicks and only the second with chickens at all. So there is a definite learning curve.
     

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