Is now a good time to add a few more hens? (3 month old hens)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by simmerda, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. simmerda

    simmerda New Egg

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    Hello all.

    This is my first year with chickens, and thanks to all of your great post, things are going really well!

    We started with 8 chicks, they are now about 3 months old. We lost 2 to one of the family dogs and one to a red fox, however, it seems we have all predators now under control.

    So now we have 5.

    I'm considering adding a few more Hens as caring for 7-8 birds isn't any more work than caring for 5...

    Wondering if you more experienced folks think adding to the flock now has any advantages to waiting until the girls are a bit older? Is there less stress, pecking, etc becasuse they are still fairly young?

    It's just me, my wife and our 1 year old boy, so, 5 Hens will probably be enough eggs for us (once they start laying).

    Any/all thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Will post pics later of our coop and girls...

    Thanks!
     
  2. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    I am going to be adding to my flock (well if you can call 4 a flock [​IMG] ) this weekend. There are a few suggestions that I have picked up from this site. First, keep the new chickens separated from your current chickens for four weeks. I have read many threads where introduced chickens don't appear sick but they get your current flock sick and you could lose more. Try to get chickens about the same age or size. Mine are almost full grown and the ones I am getting are about two months older, so by the time I put them all together, they should be about the same size. Try to introduce the two flocks by letting them see each other but are separated for a while. Not sure how long "a while" is but I am just going to wait and see if when they seem not to bother each other. Once that has happened I will let them free range together so that if one seems to be getting picked on, she can get away. Hope this helps and I am sure you will get a lot of good suggestions from other people who have done this. Watch out though, I have discovered that "chicken addiction" [​IMG] is a real disease and "chicken math" is way worse than "new math"! [​IMG]

    ETA - It's not about the eggs anymore! Had to admit to DH it was for the entertainment! I love the phrase of "chicken TV"!
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  3. simmerda

    simmerda New Egg

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    Thanks for the info dsqard, I've pretty much read all that info a bunch...

    My real question is, will it be easier/better to add more Hens now as apposed to when the girls are older?

    Thanks!
     
  4. pixie74943

    pixie74943 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have six now, I started with two... when they were 8ish months I added a third, and almost a year later they still dont get along... BUT two months ago I brought home a pair of bantams, sadly one of them died, so i bought 2 more hens. The original bantam is roughly 7months old, and the younger two, one looks about 2-3months, and the other 3-4. The new 3 bantams bonded in just one day.

    It seems to me that the hen on the bottom of the pecking order will be the worst at picking on the newbies, probably because she is worried about being pushed further down.

    If you get younger hens, they can live in a seperate area next to the originals with a small doorway, so that the youngens can go through, but the door/hole is too big for originals
     
  5. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    I don't think the "when" really matters. They will have to sort out a new pecking order no matter the age. I really think the most important thing is having them about the same size or age so that the "big girls" don't pick on the "little ones". I haven't done this with chickens before, since I just started with them this year as well but I have seen it in horses too. They have their own "pecking order" and there is always going to be some upheaval when you introduce new ones. Hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    It's ALWAYS a good time to add more chickens. [​IMG] See, you're doing chicken math already.

    The most important thing is that they are roughly the same size. I've integrated twice and it was much easier on both the chickens and me the 2nd time around. If you are going to add more, make sure you get at least 2. Integrating 1 bird can be really tough on the poor bird as all the abuse is directed at her. 2 or even better, 3 spreads it around more. They can't chase/peck birds that are going in opposite directions. Make sure you have plenty of room for them. After about 2 weeks, things will settle down as they establish their new order.

    IMO integrating with younger birds is much easier than older hens that are stuck in their ways. And if you integrate now, it won't affect you getting eggs, as they are not laying yet. (mine quit laying for a week when I integrated)
     

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