New Pullet - Very Small Flock - Need Advice

Bnbennett8

In the Brooder
Dec 10, 2020
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So I am very new to chicken keeping. I started out with 2 chicks (sold to me as easter eggers but could very well just be barnyard mixes), they are about 2 and a half months old now. I recently discovered that 1 of them is a cockerel. Due to bylaws in my area I will have to find a new home for him but didn't want to leave my other hen alone. So today, very last minute I was able to pick up a new pullet (olive egger), she is 3 months old and I want to add her in to my very small "flock". Although they are 2 weeks apart there is a fair size difference between the old pullet and the new pullet. However the cockerel and new pullet are similar in size. My question is, should I get rid of the cockerel before introducing the new pullet to the old pullet or can I just integrate them all together until I can find a home for the cockerel. I am nervous that the new pullet would pick on the old pullet since she is smaller in size so thought maybe having the cockerel in there would make it better. I do have the option to create a separate space in the run for the new pullet but not in the coop. I was thinking of keeping her in a small crate at night in side the coop. Again, I am really new to this and never expected to be adding a new pullet so early in the chicken keeping game so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,491
13,193
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western South Dakota
Very small flocks can be tricky. The two you have will KNOW the new one is a strangers and be sure she is going to eat them out of house and home.

I would do the see no touch, until you pull the rooster. Then I would wait till dark, and put her on the roost. Dark would be an easy time to capture the rooster too.

The next day there might be a dust up or two, but I would not expect much.

Additional ideas to make it go better is adding roosts, hideouts, in the run, a place where a bird can get out of sight for a few moments. And two feed bowls.

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
My Coop
I'd get rid of the male first....then do the side by side thing in run and crate in coop at night.

Here's some tips about....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 
May 25, 2021
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Chickens are community and love-to-talk animals. I suggest you to have at LEAST 3 or more chickens in a flock, or else they might get stressed.
 

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