Problems Introducing New Chickens


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
I have some 14 week old pullets that I have kept in a small coop for five weeks. Their little coop has chicken wire and is placed up against my large coop that also has chicken wire. They have been there for five weeks in plain sight of each other. They have also been let out into the yard together but they never mingle. The little ones don't go too far from their coop. Last week we decided it was probably okay to move them in together. My husband moved them while it was dark and I thought all would be well. Later that day I noticed the pullets were huddling in a corner together. I also saw feathers from one of them strew throughout the coop so I knew the big girls were pecking. We moved them back into their little coop right away.

It's been five weeks and it's getting stuffy in the little coop. When do you think I can safely move them into together? Do you have any tricks you can recommend to make the transition go smoother? We have two hens and four pullets.

Thank you in advance. Any and all advice is appreciated!
You may have to just put them together and let them work it out. The more space they have to move apart in, the better.
I took Judy's advice and put them together so they could figure it out. Unfortunately one of my hens won't have any part of it and is just plain mean. Would we be the meanest owners ever if we put the mean hen into the little coop for a few days to "humble" her? The other hen doesn't seem to have a problem so I think we need to give them a chance to reestablish the pecking order. The mean hen (even though she is the smallest) seems to be at the top of the pecking order and the one that she is bullying the most seems to be at the top of the pecking order in the small coop.
When you have one obvious hen who is doing the bullying, you can remove her from the flock entirely for at least a week, out of sight and hearing of the flock. this way, when she returns, whe will hopefully be "new," and therefore at the bottom of the pecking order. Might seem a little severe, but sometimes the only alternatives are things like giving her away, eating soup, etc.
How many older birds and who many younger birds and how big is coop and run in feet by feet?

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I've found helpful, maybe some of them, or the links provided, will give you some idea(s) applicable to your situation.

Integration of new chickens to flock.

Consider medical quarantine.

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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:

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