new chickens

jlj1212

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 28, 2013
78
1
48
Hello everyone! Yesterday we got 4 more chickens (we had 8, with the new 4 ladies we have 12) our first go around we were newbies and didn't know to introduce ladies before mingling them all together. Now that we know that we had the 4 ladies in a tub with chicken wire around it and had it in the coop all day yesterday, the ladies we have had were slightly bothered but also curious, today we have all the first set of ladies out in the run and the new ones in the coop ( just so they can get used to it) we are planning on letting our 8 run around back yard for a bit and let new ladies be in run. Is this sufficient enough as an introduction process ? the last time we did this we had chickens attacking one another for a week, it was quite stressful hoping this time it isn't as bad!
these new hens ( two isas and two aruacana ) are a year old compared to 6 months which our last ones were when introduced and seem quite fiesty.
I just feel bad if it's 8 on 4 attacking for a week fear we might lose a chicken! ( like the one that's molting!)
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
212
216
SE Pa.
I usually recommend a week of through the wire, getting used to the idea that there are other chickens, before letting them physically mingle. You never can tell before its done how well and introduction will go, even with nearly the same cast. Sometime it does goes horrible, other times they just slip into the new pecking order with out a fuss. Eight to four is not bad odds for an introduction. It could happen that the four pick on one of the older ones and cause a problem. They don't always follow the same script.
 

ValleyHatchery

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jan 27, 2014
17
0
24
Brookfield Ohio
Den in Pen is spot on, every flock has it's own personality and no two introductions are the same. The idea of separate by wire is the best first step to be sure. Also, rotating them from space to space will help to spread and mix their scents.

Once they seem to accept and ignore each other through the fence, there are more peace-making strategies you can take. For example, some folks believe adding the new birds during roosting sleep will ease the introduction. Whether the birds are groggy from slumber or disoriented because the number of birds have grown in the night and they sense the shift in the pecking order.

Dealing with the flocks efforts to re-order the pecking order will ease things as well. One thing you can do is provide a distraction for the birds, so they have something to worry about other than being hyper-focused on re-ordering the flock. Adding extra leaves and clippings for them to scratch through as well as some larger branches for the newbies to seek shelter under or near. This also adds obstacles to the area to prevent and slow chases. Some old timers recommend hanging a tastey treat just out of reach, so the birds have to jump to get a peck. A delicious cabbage might be more tempting to peck at than the new hen at the water bowl.

Hope all goes well with the introductions.
 
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