New additions


In the Brooder
Jun 19, 2020
Westminster, MD

I recently added 4 hens and 1 rooster to an existing flock of 7 hens. I left them in a dog crate for a day inside the run and put them in the coop at night. The next morning they were free to roam the run with the older hens and at dusk, we watched to see if they’d return to the coop. The rooster did, but the 4 hens did not. We decided to lock everyone down in the coop for 24 hours to establish it as their home. Once the coop door was open, all the older hens ran out. The rooster also ran out, but the 4 new hens stayed in a corner all day. We haven’t noticed them eating and only drinking 1 time. They are petrified of the older hens. Once nightfall hit, the 4 new hens were found bedded in the nesting boxes instead of on a separate roosting bar from the old hens. The rooster was on the roosting bar with the older hens. Do any of you have any advice for me with making this a little smoother? On a side note, the new additions were brought up on mash instead of crumbles which we have been attempting to give them, not sure if this is the root of the feeding issue.
The existing hens are a year and a half old and the new hens were said to be dropping their first eggs recently but we have yet to see any eggs.
I left them in a dog crate for a day inside the run
That's often not long enough for the 'see no touch' technique.

As long as the newbies are not being beat down and bloodied, you might just cover the nests an hour before roosting time to force them to use their roost.

Make sure they are eating and drinking by providing multiple feed and water stations spread apart and out of line of sight.

Here's some tips about.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom