Introducing Smaller Hen into Flock of Young Assorted Hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenLover741, Aug 14, 2019 at 10:48 AM.

  1. ChickenLover741

    ChickenLover741 Chirping

    Jul 19, 2015
    Recently was given a small hen that I think is a cochin? She has feathered legs and I don't think she's laying yet but I'm unfamiliar with the breed. Anyway, I have a flock of 9 bigger hens that have just started coming into lay (wyandottes, Easter eggers, black giants, columbian rock crosses) and I don't know how to go about introducing the new one to the flock. She is smaller than them and I worry about bullying. I have two other hens that I have bought and will be picking up on Saturday (adult brahmas) should I wait and introduce them all together to maybe spread out the pecking? Or do I go for a more conservative approach? I currently have the (possibly) cochin in a dog kennel next to the coop while the other ladies free range. Any advice would be gladly received!
  2. ashlierami

    ashlierami Songster

    Feb 9, 2017
    If they can see her but not get to her that will help them familiarize with the newbies. Besides it's always best to quarantine for a few days when your bringing new birds into a healthy flock just to be sure. I would introduce at the same time so they can establish order at once. Once they are together feed them treats so they eat with each other. Watch to see how they react and take on the newbies. Pecking will be common but shouldn't be brutal. You may be surprised she may be small but her order may be higher up later on. My smallest hen is the boss over all my girls. Some of the girls are twice her size but she's still the boss.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would integrate the 3 newbies first, then once they are doing well together integrate them with the flock.
    Where is this crate being kept at night and during bad weather?

    What does your coop and run look like?
    Dimensions and pics would be most helpful.

    Although quarantine for the one is water under the bridge....
    Might at least be aware of biological/medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article

    ..and here's some tips about.....
    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.
  4. ChickenLover741

    ChickenLover741 Chirping

    Jul 19, 2015
    We have a fairly small coop for the chickens at night but they free range during the day. Cold weather is coming so we're working on converting and winterizing a shed for them. I would love to keep them in a run (predators are inevitable) but as of now we don't have one set up. The crate with the new girl is being kept next to the coop and moved into the garage for poor weather.

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