Is it possible that adding hens to an existing flock can go smoothly?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pugasaurusrex, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. pugasaurusrex

    pugasaurusrex Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2013
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    Today was the first time I added to my existing flock of Rhode Island Reds. I brought home a Black Copper Maran and a Cream Legbar and, for the most part, day 1 of this incorporation has gone pretty well. There were a few headbutts by my Rhode Island Reds and some jumping on the new girls, but that was about it. Now, after a full day, the worst they're doing is just ignoring each other.

    Is it possible that the week-long introduction phase can be pushed forward?

    I still plan on keeping a careful watch on them for the next few days, but I'm hoping that all of the horror stories about Rhode Island Reds being bullies might not apply to this flock. I'd hate to separate the newbies from the original flock for too long.

    Has this process ever gone smoothly for anyone?
     
  2. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

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    I learned from a friend to house the new hens seperate and add some of the older ones to them gradually. When about 1/4 of your flock is added then you can put them together easier. Also add them to existing flocks at night so they will get use to the smells etc. of the new hens before morning. . Do not add new hens into an established flock, they get pecked a whole lot.
     
  3. pugasaurusrex

    pugasaurusrex Out Of The Brooder

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    The first day went great. There was about 2 minutes of rough-housing, but that was it. The old flock just chose to ignore the new girls after that. Now it's night-time and they're roosting. The legbar made it onto the roosting pole, but the maran is sleeping in the nesting box.

    I'm hoping tomorrow goes just as smoothly!
     
  4. That's good! Hope tomorrow is fine too!
     
  5. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine went much smoother than stories I've heard about and read.
    I added mine at night. There was squabbling and at first, the new ones weren't allowed on the roost. There was some chasing, some pecking but nobody was an all out bully. The new ones split off and kept their distance. I set out another feed and water station to make sure they didn't go without. Gradually they would get closer and closer. They free range and had plenty of room with bugs to chase and I think that helps.
    If the flock spreads out, the new ones are usually closer together with each other. I guess they still have their best buddies, but they all dust bathe together and do all of the normal chicken things as one flock.
    I have breeds that are known for being pretty gentle and non aggressive though. It probably depends on the personality too. None of the new ones seem to want the top spot.
     
  6. skunknchatter

    skunknchatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never had a problem. I've always just done a 3 day health quarantine and then thrown them in. There is a little running around and chatter but it settles down pretty quick. I guess, by now, my hens are just used to it. I never add just one though. I always make sure the "new girl" has a buddy because it does seem to take some time for them to join the flock. When I let the chickens out in the yard the old flock usually sticks together and the "newbies" usually stick to themselves. But after a month or so they all hang out together. Not saying my method is the right one but it has worked for me :)
     
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like it went ok and you have nothing to worry about. It does not always result in turmoil.
    Several weeks ago somebody gave me & my buddy a flock of mature full grown chickens and we split about 10 hens & 4 roosters and added them to our own flocks. He took his new chickens home and just threw them in the pen with his own chickens. He ended up with a pen full of chickens fighting all afternoon.
    I did the same thing but I only put my new hens, not the new roosters, in the layer pen and the only squawking I had was my low ranking neurotic game hen jumping on a new scragly looking Americauna going through molt, the bigger Americauna promptly gave the game hen a brisk flogging and drug her around by her comb for a few minutes then everybody started scratching & eating like nothing had happened. That game hen is also a roost bully and she started her crap again at roost time but the Americauna threw her off the perch and that was the end of that. Actually I was kinda surprised because my hens are mean hateful old hens that routinely squawk each other for no reason.
    I credit my smooth introduction to having a bigger pen with more sq. ft. per bird than my buddy does. He runs 12 hens & 4 roosters @ 10 sq ft per bird while I run 25 hens & 1 rooster @ 60 sq ft per bird.
     

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