New hens into flock of existing hens + chicks?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jbtweed, May 14, 2010.

  1. jbtweed

    jbtweed Hatching

    Mar 15, 2010
    Hiya. Bit of background before I ask my question, I have 7 hens and a rooster. One hen has four 3-month old chicks, and one hen has four 2-week old chicks. We let all of them - rooster, hen, chicks - free range together, and they all sleep in the same house at night. I'm considering buying two more hens (6 - 12 months old, coming from a flock of 50) as some of ours are getting a little old and we want to start slowly replacing them with laying hens over the next year or so. My question though, is will the new hens be any hazard to the chicks or old hens? How should we approach this, should we keep the hens in a little separate cage for a bit? We have a wire cage (about 2mx2m) that we can put them in if need be, which we can put in the existing run, I was thinking just while we introduce them to the old hens and chicks? Is that a good idea, or can we just let them do their thing straight away?

    I don't know, we haven't done this before, and especially with two week old chicks, I'm wary.

    I'm aware of the fact that there'll be a pecking order thing going on, and that doesn't bother me, it's really just the chicks I'm worried about. The only real comfort I have is that the rooster we have is protective over the chicks - more so sometimes than mother hen. Is it safe to assume he'll do his job with the new hens around? He's there with the chicks the minute anything goes near them.
  2. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    Generally, mama hens are super protective of their chicks. So I wouldnt worry over much about that.
    It is always a good practice to put your new birds into isolation for 30 days to make sure that they are not carrying anything that could harm your current flock. So that is a good time to let them see each other but not be able to touch, then when they come together it is much smoother. [​IMG]

    Sounds like you have a great roo too! They can be few and far between [​IMG]
  3. You should definately quarantine the new chickens far away from your current flock for at least 30 days. No shared airspace. This is just to make sure they are healthy.

    Then the chicks in your current flock will be that much older. Then you can put them in sight of each other so the 2 flocks can get to know each other without touching for about 1-2 weeks. That will make integrating alot easier.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: