Needing help with introducing new chickens.


12 Years
Jun 1, 2010
New Jersey
I have read through the forum and I know this has been discussed, but I am still not sure what to do. I have a Maran about 10 weeks old and 2 Silkies about 9 weeks old. I just got 3 (a Leghorn, a Wydonette, and a Red Star) about 12 weeks old and much bigger than the original 3. How long will they peck at each other? The new ones seem to ignore the silkies, they peck at the maran (she was the top chicken for the last week). I left the new ones in a crate in the coop for a while and then let them out supervised, they grazed and ate...pecking at the others for about 45 minutes....I decided to re-crate the new ones. I am afraid my Maran will be pecked to death...there is alot of squaking and posturing and the pecking. Now what?????

Update...I have seperated the run into a back section and have the 3 new ones away from the old ones. How long to keep them seperated? Everyday should I put them together? When can I put them in the henhouse together? If I do it tonight after the ols ones are sleeping will it cause a problem? The older ones are smaller than the new ones, is that an issue?
Who new this would be so hard??
Here are some general principles:

The longer you can let them see one another through a fence or whatever, before you introduce them physically, the better.

Introductions should be supervised and for short periods of time in as much space as possible, with the amount of time increased gradually.

Birds at the bottom of the pecking order will tend to be more aggressive to newcomers than birds at the top. It is sometimes a good idea to introduce new birds to the dominant birds first.

Pecking and chasing, even with occasional feather pulling, are normal. Attacking, cornering, constant chasing, mobbing, and drawing blood are not to be tolerated at all.

When you have a problem bird who tends to be overly aggressive to newcomers, remove that bird for a couple of days and reintroduce it. It will have fallen a bit in the pecking order, and will generally be less of a problem. In fact, it will probably be chased a bit.

Size does not always matter. Some bantams are bullies, some large fowl are overly submissive.

Good luck! You will get lots of good advice here. We are all still learning about these surprisingly complex creatures.
PS. When you finally do combine flocks, putting the new ones on the roost at night does help, but it does not work like magic (at least not for me). In terms of how long they should be allowed to look at each other through the fence before they are introduced. I would suggest at least a week or two. At such a young age, a week might be sufficient. But remember, when you finally do let them intermingle, supervise and keep it short.
Thanks for the advise. I hear and read alot of different things, i was not sure of the best way to go. We are VERY new to chickens. For now they are seperate and I guess will remain that way for now. We will have to redo their coop, but better for all involved (except DH - who continually modifies the coop).
I did not seperate the two I introduced to my flock. I introduced 2 and I had 6. I introduced them a few hours before bed time and they did peck and I broke up every major fight, left the little ones alone. I also removed the trouble makers and once they were gone it seemed like when they went back into the flock they lost their order in the community and needed to start over again. I did this to a few and it shook them up a bit. They slept in the same coop on different sides and days later they are best friends. I dont know if this was a rare event but I do believe that removing the trouble makers did make a difference. My intos were 2 hens to 6 pullets. I hear when you intro pullets to hens its a whole different story. Dont give up and try whatever feels right, you never know if it will work. I also did monitor the coop for 1/2 hour at a time then stepped back out of sight. Not very good advice but its the best I have so far from my experience.
So far the new ones are seperated in the same coop. The Maran is completely traumatized...she is not acting normal. The original 3 are in the henhouse for the night and the new 3 now have the run of the whole outside area (currently they are roosting together on a fence in the coop). Tomorrow, I will seperate them again (within the coop where they can all see each other) and when we are home from work, let all 6 together and see what happens ( I will take note of who is aggressive and if one of them is OK, perhapse leave them with the original 3) Tomorrow we will see about the sleeping arrangements...Thanks for the advise.
I let my 8 week olds meet my 2 week olds outside in the backyard where if chasing happened, they could all disperse accordingly. Now the little ones are 4 weeks old and my oldest are 10..... The older ones do peck the younger ones but I haven't had an issue with major fights; it's been more of a dominance thing than anything else. Just start super duper slow.

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