I've been asked to adopt seven new 2 year old hens.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Vickery, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Vickery

    Vickery Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2013
    Carson City, NV
    Hey all,
    I have been raising chickens for eggs for a couple of years and have added "hatchery chicks" to my existing flock in the past months...wasn't a lot of fun watching the bullying however they're all good now. Anyways, I have been asked to take on seven 2+ year old hens to my existing mixed age flock of 7...Am I crazy? We currently are building a sizable coop but can anyone tell me if this is going to be difficult, or have suggestions on ways to do this? I'd like to help the "donors" out (and wouldn't mind having some nice laying hens without the chick rearing 5 months) but I'm not sure if I can pull this off. The others free-range on 2 acres during the day hours so I could keep them separated for a while...HELP!!!! Need guidance here. Thanks, Vickery.
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    As you free range them, the issues are less grave than they could be.

    Start by the "see, no touch" principle, i.e. partition part of your coop for the new hens and possibly make a small run so they can be outside, but still safe. I would keep the new hens in the coop for 48 hours (that way, they will know where they should go on an evening time) before letting them out in the separate run.

    The see, no touch approach should be used for a week or so, but it depends on what observations you make whilst this is in operation. If your original flock take an interest, but don't try to peck the newbies then you can let them be together after a week. I find this works best if you let the newbies roost with the original flock on a night time when they are likely to be less aggressive and them let them out together.

    Ensure that you have at least 2 feeding and watering stations once you do let them out with the original flock. There will be some squabbling for sure, but thats normal. The newbies will be able to escape any serious pecking.

    There are many threads on introducing chickens to an existing flock, so i would suggest that you read them for a more comprehensive account of what you may wish to consider doing.

    Good luck

  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Have you thought of quarantining the new hens before adding to your flock.? they could be bringing in unwanted hitchhikers, like mites or lice, or intestinal parasites.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Sorry, but my first thought is someone is dumping birds on you [​IMG]. At that age, and this time of year, you're not going to see eggs until probably March or so, and then likely only 4 per hen per week. You have to feed them for 6ish months while they're not producing anything. I'm not seeing the benefit to that? I'd far rather invest the feed in a chick that's going to churn out 6-7 eggs a week for a solid year.

    That said, if you're determined to add these birds, I'd say just add them. I'm not a fan of long, drawn out integrations. If your current birds are all adults, and you free range with lots of space, just turn the new girls out with the current flock. The drama should be pretty minimal as you're adding a large number of new birds, and they're all adults.

    If you're concerned about the new birds knowing where home is, you can work something out to keep them confined to the coop/run for a week or so while the current flock ranges during the day. This will also train the new birds where to lay when the do start laying.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I would recommend against taking these birds, for the above reasons, and because of biosecurity issues. Bringing in outside birds is a very big risk, and not just because of parasites, which are easily treated, but because of diseases that could wipe out your flock! Healthy appearing hens could still bring in something that you wouldn't want. Mary
  6. Hawk12

    Hawk12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2015
    Hayden, ID
    I've taken in chickens on 3 different occasions and each time my birds ended up with lice. For that reason I won't take in adult birds anymore without givig them a lice bath and a thorough check. The other thing you need to think about is their age. If your main purpose for taking them in are for the eggs, their production may be slowing down. Why are the donors getting rid of them?

    If you decide to take them in, I would put them in the coop at night after the others have roosted. Because there are so many to introduce you shouldn't have a lot of issues. If you were only introducing 1 or 2 then I would definitely seperate them and do a slow introduction.

    I love chickens so it's hard for me to say no to helping out people who don't want them anymore but I have to consider how it will affect my flock before I agree to taking any in. It disrupts the pecking order that has already been established.

    Good luck in your decision :)
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I agree with the last 3 posters. Unless your goal is to open a geriatric wing for aged hens, these birds will not meet your goal of having a productive flock. They very well could bring in disease, and parasites, even if they look to be the picture of health.
  8. Vickery

    Vickery Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2013
    Carson City, NV
    Thanks All!
    I have taken heed of your advice and declined the offer! Have a great day! Vickery
    1 person likes this.

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