replacing layers and introducing new birds


9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
Hi, I'm a newbie. I started with chicks a year ago, 6 hens 1 rooster, RIR and I think golden comets from TSC. I just got some replacement chicks, bought 7, but have ended up so far with 5 (2 barred rocks, 3 australorps). My husband thought we would need new layers by the time my original flock was 18 mos. Now after reading more, I'm not so sure. Anyway, my flock is free range during the day and cooped up at night. If I decide I should keep the original flock awhile longer, is it a problem to introduce new birds to an existing flock? We will probably be doing away with the rooster as he is starting to get too aggressive and will see how the younger barred rock rooster will do and probably wouldn't mix the two groups until the younger ones are older or what do you guys think?
Leslie in Central NY


12 Years
Dec 16, 2008
Northern Nevada USA
I start free ranging mine together during the day when the newbies are about 6 weeks old. Our run is way big enough for everyone to have their space and not fight over anything. Right now the newbies are about 10 weeks old and are almost as big as some of my smaller hens. So a few of the newbies have already started checking out the big girl coop, going in and out during the day...but returning to their brooder coop for the night. When I find the first egg in my brooder coop then I close it off at night and herd the newbies into the hen shed at night, making sure they all get up at least to the lowest roost so they never get into the habit of sleeping in a nest box. Sometimes there is a bit of squawking for the first few nights (I have a baby monitor out there) as they find their comfort zones. But mine aren't integrated for long. Once egg production in the pullets is enough to cover our egg customers, the hens get re-homed. I'm guessing that in past few years it is about 4-6 weeks that the hens and pullets live together.

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