The most gentle way to introduce a few new hens to the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GA_Gypsy, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. GA_Gypsy

    GA_Gypsy Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2011
    N. Georgia
    Got 7 hens right now (3 Buff Orpintons, 2 mystery hens, 1 Ancona, & 1 Buff Brahma). When we got the Ancona last year it seemed like forever before she was accepted into the flock. Then it started all over again when we got the 2 mystery hens. I don't even think they were allowed to eat for months! 6 months later I think everyone is just OK with each other now. At least they all sleep in the coop at night now without fights breaking out.

    So is there a good way to introduce new hens or just let nature figure it out? I do let them have free range of the backyard during the day and then they all hop in the coop at night. I was wondering if I did introduce new hens, would it be wise to lock them in the coop all day until they get used to each other? Why can't we all just get along??? [​IMG]

    What I'd really like are some EE's or Ameraucanas, something that lays blue eggs. Thanks for any advice!
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Introduce the birds to each other by using a Berlin Wall of deer netting between the two groups. After a few days of getting to see and hear each other, without touching each other, they'll calm a bit. After a few days, blend flock while outside in the run, in the late afternoon.

    Mixing up the old flock also works well. Take the two top hens out of the established flock and put them in separate pen for 7-10 days, mix the remaining members with the new birds. Outside in the run is best. After the 7-10 days, re-introduce the old leaders.

    Moral of the story is to break up the old pecking order. This shakes up the old flock enabling the newer members to integrate more easily, as everyone is looking to find their place.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You should have a temporary coop or crate for new birds. Letting them see one another throughout the day and definitely free ranging together gets them to introduce themselves slowly. Pecking order is their nature so to slow down the process is advised. Injuries will happen if you simply lock them up all together. There is plenty of places to get away from dominant hen when free ranging. If they can't get away then they'll get injured, the aggressor will think the weaker hen still wants to challenge authority.

    Slow introduction and the new hens usually tell me when they are ready to be apart of flock by going into the big coop at night on their own. I still allow a large area for them during day together for another week after newbies go to coop on own.
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Okay, this is some info supposedly told by a really ancient chicken woman. Im not sure where I read it.

    Keep your new birds, group A, separate from your current flock, group B. Feed them for a few evenings right at roosting time.

    Then after three days of this, put group B to roost in the evening without any feed. Give them only water starting about 4 hours before sundown. Also deny group A the same feeding.
    Once group B has settled on the roost, quietly bring group A into the coop. Use no lights except a red flashlight.
    Place the newcomers in among group B on the roosts and sneak back out.

    In the early AM, just as the birds are rousing, enter the coop with a clattering and clanging feed bucket. Make a lot of racket as you pour the feed to the birds. In the ensuing commotion the birds will get busy feeding and forget the usual henpecking given to new birds. Once the feeding is over, let them out as usual.

    This supposedly takes advantage of the bonding influence felt during feeding. There will probably be some squabbling, but it should die down in a day or two.

    If this doesn't work, then just let Nature take it's course. They're chickens, after all.

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