Issues with introducing a new pullet


9 Years
Aug 4, 2013
New Jersey
I introduced a new pullet (12 weeks) yesterday to my two older pullets (25+ weeks). The two older birds never had any problems with each other. There was never any aggression towards each other, they never even pecked at each other. They were always pretty quiet and just seemed to be very happy. Everything was great.

I put the 12 week old in a small dog kennel outside by the coop. At first the older birds didn't really care. Great! But then one of the older birds just locked in on the young one and has been trying to get to her. It's not a constant attempt to get at her, but when she is close to the kennel she is well aware that she is in there but she can't get to her. She doesn't try to attack the young one, she just stands there and stares at her. Sometimes she will seem as if she will try to peck her but then realizes she won't be able to reach her through the kennel. My guess is, she wants to tell her who's boss. And to be honest, before this, I was never sure who was the boss between the two older pullets since there was never a problem between them.

Now my real question. Since she has seen the younger bird, the older bird has become very vocal. What is this about and why is she doing it? Last night I was sitting in my living room watching tv with my wife and son when I heard a chicken "talking". My first thought was it was the new bird. I went to check on them and it turned out to be the older pullet that was making all the noise. I try to keep my chickens low key so I need to solve the problem rather quickly.

Since the new pullet is separated but the older one knows she is still there, is that her way of saying I'm in charge here?

This is turning into a stressful situation for me.
It is tough to know what that pullet is thinking. She may just want to make sure the new comer isn't going to be a problem, or she wants her gone, maybe just I'm the boss and your are an underling. You won't really know until they can interact without a barrier between them. I have no real firm answer on when they will quiet down. My guess is when they are familiar enough with each other it will stop.
Well I put them together today and it didn't go too well. The older one kept pecking, scratching and chasing her. The young one didn't even fight back. She just tried to get away and at one point put her head low and into the corner of the run in an attempt to get away. I let it go on for maybe 15 minutes but then I felt I needed to separate them again.

When the young one ran away, the older one chased her and really went after her. It reminded me of a predator chasing its prey when it runs.
We are having a similar problem..We brought home a 4 month old rooster today and put him in the run with the hens. They pecked at him, chased him and ran him into the corners. We took him out and put up a fence in the run between them. The hens have been standing at the fence staring at him and trying to peck him at times. He is sleeping in a dog carrier tonight. I was too afraid to put him in the coop tonight. I need some advice and help too. Also if anyone knows what breed he is I would love to know. He seems so docile right now. He would not fight back, maybe because of his age or the trauma of going to a new place. Thanks for any help

GSPx2: It looks like you'll have to keep them separated for a few weeks. Hopefully by that time the aggressive one will have accepted the chick's right to exist, and the chick will have more will to stand up. I would watch to see when they older ones just go about their business and ignore the chick on the other side of the wire.

eggs4me: Yes he is rather young to be able to walk right in to a new flock and assert himself. At 16 weeks he is barely starting into his maturity. Plus it is a new flock. You didn't say if he was the only one your are adding, but single introductions always have a rougher time. Give him a few weeks of getting to know them through the wire and maturing more.
Introductions can be challenging and because of this, most recommend the slow and safe introduction. Keep the new ones in a pen near the existing flock where they can see each other but with the safety of a barrier separating them. Most recommend keeping them separated but in proximity to each other for AT LEAST one week. Also, the farther apart they are in age, the more challenging the introduction can be to have it go smoothly.

I've only done one introduction and it went fine. I put 5 8-week old pullets in a pretty big pen inside the coop where 10 10-week old cockerals and pullets were. The 10 existing flock members free ranged so they were in and out of the coop all day. But the 5 pullets stayed inside their enclosure that whole week. The existing 10 sometimes would try to peck at one of the 5 through the fence but the enclosure was big enough that the 5 new ones could just back away from the fence. Then, one morning, I let them all free range together. It went fine. The 5 pretty much stayed by themselves and the 10 went off by themselves. The 5 generally stayed out of the way of the 10 and when they did cross paths, there was not a lot of serious chasing. Everyone understood everyone else belonged and they just had their own space.

A few other things you can do is try to provide as much space as you can once you do integrate so the new members can get away and not get cornered. Also, make sure there are things for the new chickens to hide behind and fly up on to get away. Anything that is sturdy and that won't fall over on top of the chickens will work, like stacked cinder blocks, a bench, a barrel, a big planter. Whatever you have laying around. Try to arrange these things in such a way that the new members can be out of the line of sight of the existing members.

Also, multiple feeders and waterers are also helpful and maybe even a second place to roost. This lets the new chickens eat and drink and sleep without being in direct conflict with the existing flock.

Hope this helps,
Good advice Guppy, after I thought about it for a while, we did put in a seperate water container and food area for the rooster. That along with a seperate "house area" did the trick. Through out the day and the following days, he is mingling with them, free ranging and they don't seem to notice him as much as they did the first day. Things are getting better. I appreciate all the help from everyone. They allowed him to sleep in the coop with no problems.
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