Merging Hens in from another flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Steve777, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Steve777

    Steve777 Chirping

    Jul 14, 2013
    I am going to pick up 4 replacement hens today from a friend who is downsizing her flock. I have read about the "right" way to introduce new hens, but I think this situation is a bit different. Our existing flock is down to one hen, after a predator attack a few weeks ago. This one hens seems to be healthy and doing well and laying again. But I suspect that one hen does not constitute enough of a flock to need to go through the usual slow introduction method. If anything perhaps I need to intro the old hen to the group of 4 new ones?

    I was planning on putting all the hens, new and old, into the coop and locking the door this evening and leaving them inside for at least 24-36 hours. Possibly longer as there is supposed to be a 2' snow headed this way so perhaps they will be inside for 3 or more days. I'll check on them daily, but don't think there will be time to let them out before the storm. Hopefully this will be enough time for the new ones to "get" that this coop is now home and know to come back inside after they finally go out.

    I've never added new birds before, and was just wondering if this plan seems OK.
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    If you have the ability, I would recommend that you quarantine the new birds from your current bird for at least 3-4 weeks. You don't want them to infect your current chicken with anything.

    I would not lock the birds in the coop together for any period of time. You very well might come out to find your single girl seriously injured or even killed by the others. Likely they will have an established pecking order and she will be seen as the outsider even though it's her coop. After a period of quarantine I'd intro them in a free-range setting or at least where they all have access to the pen. Room to spread out and places to hide and get out of the way make for better introductions.

    Once the quarantine is over, Is there a way you can house them side by side--separate but able to see each other? Maybe divide the pen?
  3. Steve777

    Steve777 Chirping

    Jul 14, 2013
    Thanks TalkALittle.

    I am not too concerned about disease from the new birds. My friend runs a very good "shop", if anything far cleaner than mine. Not a guarantee that they are all healthy of course, but these new birds will become the mainstay of the flock. I would think that if anything I'd be concerned that my one current hen might give them something.

    I had not really considered that the new birds might gang up on the one old one, that is a good point. I am not sure, given the current state of the weather, if there is a way to slowly merge the two groups of birds. Looks like there will be snow on the ground for a week or more at a minimum. This coop is too small to divide it up (4' x 7'). And this friend is somewhat in a rush as they are moving and don't have room for all their flock at their new place.

    I could keep an ear and eye on the birds in the coop, and take the new one out if there is any trouble. Don't know if it matters, but the old bird was more or less at the bottom of the pecking order in the old flock, so she is not likely to be too aggressive.
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I agree. The single hen is the one at most risk of being injured or killed, especially in a confined setting.

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