New Hens into Flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by teamsunbelt, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. teamsunbelt

    teamsunbelt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2011
    Midland, NC
    I received two new hens. They have been seperated from the rest of the flock until yesterday. I allowed all of them to free range together. There were a few fights, but nothing bloody. Last night I slipped them into the coop to roost with everyone. It appears there were no problems. This morning they were still in the coop, while the rest were out in the run. I moved them to the run for scratch feed time, and all hell broke lose. Each hen took its turn beating the new ones, even the low pecking order hens. I moved the two back to their own coop that came with them. I plan on getting rid of a couple New Hampshires, which seem to be the biggest bullys in the flock in a few weeks. The two new ones are Golden Comets.

    Should I give it a few more days of free ranging? Or wait until I move the two hens out. I know the pecking order takes some time, but 7 on 2 just dont seem fair.
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If you CAN freerange, then I'd definitely give that some more time - more space is always better when birds are being bullied. Make sure your run has roosts or barriers so that the picked on girls have a place to escape to. Also make sure there's more than one feeder/waterer, as many bullies don't allow newbies access. There's pretty much always going to be some pecking order issues to work out when introducing new birds, but some breeds/flocks are less aggressive about it than others. My wyandotte is a witch with newbies, and actually my lowest bird will be a bit mean too, but at least only when treats food is involved. The other's really don't seem to bother with them - they may take a few steps forward to spook the new birds, but don't peck them.
    You're doing the right thing in closely monitoring while integrating in a contained setting. You could take the worst of the bullies out and contain them separately for a few days to see if the flock acts differently, or you could take one or two of the milder birds and put in with the newbies for a few days...
    Adding new birds is always tricky, especially when there are aggressive birds/breeds in the flock.
     
  3. teamsunbelt

    teamsunbelt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2011
    Midland, NC
    The new hens have their wings clipped, so it makes it difficult to get to the roost pole in the run, where the two youngest already hang out. I have two Wyandottes that usually only defend food or treats. A big Jersey Giant that I have never forces the issue until these two showed up. Now she is even getting in some licks. These two did not back down from a fight while free ranging, but in the run, they seem to be out of place. I think I will leave them own their own for a while longer.
     

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