New hens (6 months); totally lost!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 7, 2009
I just brought home three new hens. My other two hens died after a nice long life and I thought getting new hens would be easier (please stop laughing).

First of all, my other hens were adopted at about age two or three, so they were calm, tame and very spoiled girls. THese new girls are WILD. I have one Ameraucana, one Dominique and one Buff Orpingotn, all from the same flock. They are about 6 months old and I thought that I could just drop them in to my pen and they'd settle in nicely.

Catching them tonight to put in the coop was a bloddy nightmare. Mainly becuase of the mosquitos attacking my husband and I while were tried to catch them, so question #1 is: Will they get to know that this is their coop and go in nicely...ever?

They FLY. My other birds never flew anywhere more than 2 feet. I saw some other posts about using netting for fruit trees and clipping one of their wings, but can you train them to behave? Question 2: Do they calm down? Can you train a chicken? Any advice to get them on the road to chiilin chickens? I am overwhelmed.

Really ANY kind words are appreciated and any advice to get us through this transition to their new urban home would be helpful. I'm not ready to cry yet, but I wasn't at all prepared for these crazy teenagers!

Thanks warmly,

hmm... 6 month olds are the crazy teenagers, huh? I have never had chickens that age. I have 7 "teenagers" who are 9-10 weeks old, almost as big as the yr old hens, but they are brats! LOL. They either don't understand, or they don't care about the rules, such as "stay out of my garden". The adults may need a reminder now and then, but for the most part, they understand.

I clip a wing or two of all my chickens. It's super easy to do. I feel like I have to because we live in a subdivision, and with out being clipped, I think they could get on top of my 6 foot fence with some effort. I wouldn't want them to get out and draw attention to themselves or get hit by a car, etc.
I guess it depends on breed and breeder. All my chickens of all ages are so used to me patting them and wondering around with them and are very quiet. I would clip one wing so they don't fly off anywhere that they should not be especially if they decide to roost in a tree or something. Also how big is there coop? Could you lock them in there for the day so they get used to going in there? OR feed them treats in there just before dusk.

I hope they settle down for you, good luck.
I lock chickens in the coop for at least a week, first. That's even for the youngsters I take out of the brooder; I want them to KNOW that "this" is where they are safe, and where they sleep at night. (And it's why I have more than one coop, because I need the separation/integration lodgings.)

And I spend some time with them, daily. Just being there, sitting in a chair, with some treats to share with them. Quietly.
Thanks folks. I thought about keeping them in the coop, but it seems awfully small; although they really got calm once we got them in there. I will clip wings tomorrow and hang out with them, but I may consider keeping them in the coop, at least until the sun hits it. I think the girls are going to be sweet once they get used to being here, but chasing them down tonight was a real challenge.
They don't have a run?? I kept my babies in their "nursery" for a few weeks and then when I let them out I wait till dark and they will put themselves to bed and I just shut the door to their pen! I wouldn't even wanna think about having to go out there and catch all of them.

All my chickens out themselves to bed when their out free ranging!

I was given three 1 year old hens. I kept them shut up in the chicken house a few days to get used to their new home before letting them out and that worked great...they always come back each evening to be locked up after a day of free ranging.
Can you make a temporary run for them (even a small one using baby gates and covering it with a sheet or something). This way they will get used to where their coop is and also allow them to get outside without getting loose.
Yes build some kind of small run we did this with our girls and then we left them in there for about a week then let them free range a few hours a day and worked on "pen up" now this year I just let them out in the morning and then in the evening they coop themselves up when it starts to get dark. it is much easier then trying to keep catching them every night good luck.
So they have a fenced off section of the yard on the side of the house, which is where we couldn't catch them easily last night. This is because of the bushes along the house which are perfect for dust bathing, cooling and hiding from me. So, with your suggestions, I think I will take some fencing I have and wrap that around the coop entrance to create a small run that I can cover with a tarp to keep them shaded.

Thanks so much guys. I worried all night. They have been in their coop all morning and I have brought them treats and they seem content, but I do think the smaller space is required for accommodation. Then, before we open up the small pen, we'll clip their wings and hopefully they will be more settled. I guess it is like crate training a puppy and they probably would prefer the smaller, safe space to get used to their surroundings.

I love this forum and really appreciate your guidance!


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