New hens added to my flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by galaxyflyer1, May 17, 2009.

  1. galaxyflyer1

    galaxyflyer1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all,

    I just read (A bit too late)
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock (corrected lnk)

    I added two 3 month old hens to my existing two 4 month old hens. Boy, my two existing sweet, hand raised girls are evil bullies But I know that's what happens. I felt sorry for them because I gave away 2 roos that they grew up with. I wanted to get them some more friends.

    I added them this afternoon and the pecking begun. I did my best to break it up. The four are in an area about 15'x20' total.

    I just seperated them tonight because of the scarry post I read. They will be able to see each other though. So I guess I will somewhat quarteen them for a while. I know the few hours of contact may be detrimental but I will keep my fingers crossed.

    If you have positive comments, please send them. If not, I don't want to hear about it. I'm too upset with myself as it is [​IMG]

    Thank you,
    Bob
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  2. galaxyflyer1

    galaxyflyer1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2009
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    opps
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  3. Ravenseye

    Ravenseye Out Of The Brooder

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    I know how you feel. I had hens and roosters together in a coop. The roosters finally had to go, leaving me with two hens. So, I went out and bought two nearly grown Red Stars and tried to introduce them gradually. I figured ten days or even two weeks would be fine. The newcomers were in a large dog cage right next to the existing coop. They two groups could touch beeks if they wanted to. But, the first time I put them together, all heck broke loose. I separated them again.

    OK..the good news. The weather here in New England finally got better. I turned all the girls out in the front yard to forage and they were so focused on scratching that they didn't really bother with who was in "their space". After a couple of times out foraging, I returned them all to the single coop. Sure, there was some feather ruffling over who sat on the left side of the roost versus the right side, etc., but they're very much happier.

    I also placed food and water in diagonal positions. So, when the previous rulers of the coop wanted to chase the newcomers away from the food, there was more food in the opposite corner. Plus, I tossed scraps in the middle and everyone had their turn grabbing at leftovers. I never did try the trick about sneaking in at night and placing the new hens on the same roost as the rest of the chickens but it sounded like it would work.

    I'm nearly done with a new coop built from scratch and they'll all go there together. Any final problems will likely disappear when they all move.

    And...I get to do it again late this summer as I have some new chicks being raised by a 4H student.

    Have faith!
     
  4. galaxyflyer1

    galaxyflyer1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2009
    Corona Ca.
    Than you Ravenseye,

    I appreciate it.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Can't get your link to work. Must be about quarantine, from what you said. Thing about quarantine is, while it is certainly a good idea, it is no guarantee that you won't transmit a disease when you put them together. The new birds can be carriers but show no sign of illness themselves. People add birds and quarantine all the time, usually without problem, sometimes not. Some people refuse to add birds because of the danger. You can even bring in some diseases by buying hatching eggs. Personal choice. You were trying to improve their quality of life.

    Don't beat yourself up. I'm sure the chances are good that all will be well in time. Pecking order stuff can be hard to see when we have hand raised our birds, especially when it gets to the serious level.

    Good luck.
     
  6. cointoss

    cointoss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I added three 14 week olds to my "flock" (it was down to just one, lonely hen) two weeks ago. I thought that adding them at night was all I had to do and they would get along -- I had read posts to that effect. HAH! The next morning I checked and my older girl was angry and not letting the others into the run out of the coop. When they did come out, she cornered one (who luckily was not hurt). So I did more reading, and took her out of the coop for a whole week. She slept in a sheltered dog crate facing the run so she could see them in the morning before I let her out around 9 to free range during the day as usual. After one week, I put her in teh run, supervised, for an hour. The next day, two hours. The third day, I put her in for the whole night. They are getting along ok now, though they all keep their distance still. They come out of the coop a little each day to sit with me and peck at the grass, and I am hoping to let them all free range together by June... These three are definitely more skittish (EEs) than my yearling Golden Comet, but they are settling in finally.

    Hope that helps a little...
     
  7. Young MacDonald

    Young MacDonald Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't get the link to work either, but I have a book that I bought for my daughter that is a kid's guide called, Your chickens. The book has several suggestions about how to deal with introductions.

    First, birds will be more timid the farther the way they are from home so it is a good idea to have the new birds believe they are in their home. You can move the existing birds out temporarily, or keep the new birds n a cage in the coop as Ravenseye did.

    But more important, don't introduce the new birds to the existing flock at the same time. Instead, take the lowest rank bird of your existing flock and introduce it to the new bird(s). Then the next lowest, etc. -- I know you have only two birds, but you should have the lower ranked one meet the new guys first.

    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  8. galaxyflyer1

    galaxyflyer1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 18, 2009
    Corona Ca.
    Thanks everyone.

    The new ones are separated in an 8x8 outdoor pen. The two groups can see each other.

    Cointoss, are you saying to basically confuse the existing ones a bit?

    Young MacDonald, I think I understand. Take me lower ranked hen and put in the new ones pen and supervise? For how long?

    Oh, here is that link that scared the #@#%^& out of me.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    The first time I put my birds together I put them together in the yard free ranging with plenty of scratch/grain/seeds so that hopefully they would concentrate more on the treats than each other. I had a couple of hen that was very aggressive towards the pullets. I separated them for a few days and tried again. They were still being very aggressive. I had a hose nearby and every time I saw the bullies go after the pullets I caught them by surprise with a good squirt from the hose. After some squirts they settled down.
     
  10. cointoss

    cointoss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sort of. My main objective in removing the older hen from the coop and letting her watch the other ones in there was the hope that she would cease to be so territorial. I had seen another post to that effect and it made sense to me. She didn't totally forget that the coop belonged to her first, but she did seem a bit appeased by the fact that she now has (for a while anyway) another coop that is *just* hers... Plus, while she was exiled from her old coop she could watch the others a little and see that they are not predators or aliens, just chickens like her, pecking away.

    Quote:
     

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