New Chickens and NO Aggression (?!)


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 24, 2012
Southern Maine
I am babysitting 6 of my friends chickens for a few months while she deals with a fox situation. They are all very healthy, well-kept birds, no parasites, as are my 4. They were all treated with "Flock Protect" and the coop was cleaned out, new sand, shavings and hay and dusted with DE prior to their arrival to be safe.

She brought them over last night. I have a 9x3 enclosed run and a hen house that sits over a part of the run. I blocked off 3 feet of the end with chicken wire from ground to ceiling for the new girls. They have a couple of roosting poles and fit fine but it's tight. It was only supposed to be 4 at first but 2 more came out of hiding 2 days after the attack that took the rest of her flock. I put them in while my 4 were out foraging so they came home to house guests. They weren't even phased, just went up to roost for the night so I just figured they were too tired to care.

This morning I went out and the new girls were still on their poles, my hens were doing their regular thing. Still, no one seemed to care about each other.

I went home at lunch to check on them, look in the temp pen and count 5 on the top bar and...what the...TWO on the bottom bar! I have no idea how but one of my RIR crosses got over there and was hanging out on the bottom bar with the new RIR cross. No one was picking on her, she wasn't afraid or trying to hide, they literally were existing peacefully. While I was trying to get her out, my EE got in the other side and still, no one cared.

Is it possible for new hens to just not be aggressive with each other? Maybe because the two flocks are large enough and established enough that they will just maintain their own order in separate families?

I am going to wait a couple of days before I let the new girls out to forage to make sure they know where their home is but should I keep them stuck in their 3 foot area or does it sound like it's going to work out ok? I hate having them stuck in such a small area and would much rather just have them enjoy the co-existing they seem to want.

My Flock: 2 1/2 year old Easter Egger & Buff Orp and two 1 1/2 year old RIR/BO crosses
Her Flock: Polish Buff Lace, 2 RIR/Link crosses, 1 Buff Orp, 1 Ameracauna, 1 RIR

Here are the new girls. That pink crate had hay in it for a nesting box but their first order of business was to remove it and use it for a roost.
I would have kept them in a quarantine situation for 3 weeks before putting them in with my own, but I realize this is an emergency-type situation and you may not have had time to prepare a quarantine area for them. It also sounds like they were well "prepped" prior to them coming to your place.

I have found that in pends WITHOUGH a cock bird, there is sometimes - not always - less fighting at first. I have ALSO seen where there is no fighting at first, but after a few days, the pecking order will begin to be laid down.

I think you're lucky that you didn't have any fighting going on! It was awfully sweet of you to help your friend in this way!
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You are right, it was an emergency situation and we both did our best to minimize the risk. It's not ideal for sure. Of all her chicken friends she trusted me with them so I was honored and happy to help :)

I only have experience with introducing one other time and it was a mass of chest bumping and feather ruffling between the bars and so they stayed behind bars til they figured it out and now the 4 of them are thick as thieves...I was wondering if it may just be a delayed reaction, I'm glad to know someone else has seen this and to know it may still come so thank you for your response!

I think I may wait to integrate until the weekend when I'm home all day to watch them. I can just open up the coop and let them all out together and go from there...

I'm set to prove that having 10 chickens is better than 4 so when they go home I can get more for myself
Sometimes these integrations go so smoothly you wonder what all the worry was about and sometimes they end in disaster. Most are somewhere in between. Sounds like you have a real good chance of things going smoothly. I raise my chicks where they can see and be seen by the adults from the time they go into the brooder and just let them go together at 8 weeks. There are hardly ever any problems, but I have lots of room. I'm convinced room makes a lot of difference.

I think waiting until the weekend is a great idea. I'd open it up first thing Saturday morning and see what happens.

Good luck!
I think that you had similar size birds, and you introduced a group to a group...... really the best kind of integrations. I have done this several times and had no big problems.

The big problems come from adding one or two birds or birds that are smaller, or birds to a space that is not big enough. Any of those, or worse a combination of them really causes problems.

Mrs K
I introduced a new pullet in with my other two and I was worried about her being picked on... no problems and its been a week!
One to two established and no problems...... you got lucky, or have lots of space.

I, too have gotten lucky on occasion, but I have never done a single introduction........ a very big risk for a tough integration. However, as RidgeRunner says, these are animals and you really can't predict how they are going to act.

Mrs K
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