Need the truth on adding birds to a flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Manok-Tao, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Manok-Tao

    Manok-Tao Songster

    Jan 6, 2010
    W-S NC
    I'll be starting a small group of laying hens soon. Most likely Comets, but some BR's may be available at the same time. I'm looking at a farm close to me in NC that sells pullets that have had all inoculations and have been debeaked (am I a fool to go this route?)(too much a rookie to start with chicks). I've read that adding birds to a flock can be real touchy as the pecking order has already been determined and the new addition(s) get beat up real bad, possibly killed.

  2. Barry

    Barry Songster

    Yes adding new birds is a problem, a problem that I have never been able to solve.
  3. Manok-Tao

    Manok-Tao Songster

    Jan 6, 2010
    W-S NC
    that said..these great photos I see posted here there and everywhere of large flocks...are the additions all from chicks and not a more mature bird?
    I feel like the obvious idiot..what am I missing?
  4. gkeesling

    gkeesling Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    If you are adding just one hen to your flock she might get beat up on a bit. If you are mixing flocks, and the two groups are about the same size then that's better. I've read on here about people keeping the new chickens in cages, or separated, for few days where the current chickens can see them, and I"ve read about putting chickens in the coop when the current ones are on the roost. What I do, if there is more than one new addition is to just throw them in with the current hens. I did this with 7 new ones to 12 current ones this summer. There was a whale of a ruckus at first, but after a few days it seemed like they were all old friends. None were worse for the wear. I had one that seemed to live on a roost for a day or so, but she came down to eat and drink, then ran right back up to the roost. If you are adding new birds I would suggest that you have something in the run the new ones can run behind to hide if they want.
  5. lavacaw

    lavacaw Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    The only bird I ever had a problem adding to the flock was a young roo that came from a friend. For her sake, I tried to keep him but he immediately started a fight with the two I already had. After numerous attempts, I gave up. I put the new birds on the roosts at night. They all wake up together the next morning. (When possible, I put them in the pen in a large cage for a few days first.) If at all possible, let them free range the first few days so they can avoid each other if necessary. They will establish a pecking order all by themselves.
  6. srhcth

    srhcth In the Brooder

    Jan 1, 2010
    Do you already have chickens or will you be adding two breeds from the same farm?
  7. New2Peeps

    New2Peeps Songster

    May 11, 2008
    I added 3 young pullets to my little flock of 4 one year old EEs. It has been interesting. I put them in their own little coop for awhile with attached run and they watched the older girls for a couple of weeks. Then let them out and they never did fight---I suspect because they had a really large area to range in and they just would avoid each other. They all get along fine now but it is funny how they still hang out in the original group of 4 EEs, then the new group of 3. They mix about and then regroup over and over during the day. Interestingly at night, 3 of the original 4 EE girls go to sleep in my small coop which was their original home, the other EE girl and the 3 new pullets all go to the new coop. It is odd but it seems to work for them.

  8. twister

    twister Songster

    Sep 12, 2009
    I added 3 pullets to my flock of 4 mature birds this fall. I kept the new pullets in a pen that the mature birds could see but not touch and vice versa for 30 days... then i introduced them to freerange together... for about 3 months , the mature birds were not mean, but kept the new birds at bay. Then one night, i just put them in the coop together. they did fine. still, would free range somewhat in 2 separate groups for about 3 months. Now the pullets have reached maturity ( egg laying ) and the roo is now interested...they are accepted...they all stay in one group.

    Hope this helps you somewhat.
  9. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    ive had no trouble adding pullet to the flock as long as its more then two and they are old enough to fend for themselves 18 weeks +. I WOULD NOT go the deabeaked rout its cruel to the birds and they cannot forage for food and survive outside as well without their beaks.

  10. Manok-Tao

    Manok-Tao Songster

    Jan 6, 2010
    W-S NC
    Quote:Great question. I'm not sure. I'll start construction on my new coop/run this weekend.....should finish within 6 permitting...the farm up the road a bit sells pullets of Red comets, BR's and black sex link. I'd like to have two of each but timing of my complition and availability will dictate. It may turn out that I get 6 hens of the same breed.

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