Trying to add a new Hen And her chicks to the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Parent of Tudie, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Parent of Tudie

    Parent of Tudie In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2013
    I now have two coops that adjoin each other the flock is in the older coop and the new hen and her chicks have been in the new coop in a rabbit cage for weeks now so the flock can see them go in and out but not get too them.
    Last week I decided I needed to let her and the chicks into the yard with the flock.
    One of the older hens did not like her there and the rooster has been trying to attack her
    I'm afraid he will kill her first time I've ever seen him be aggressive
    He has done this each time I've tried to let her in the yard
    I don't know how to get them to be ok with each other
    Parent of Tudie
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Can you describe his behavior? If it's too aggressive, I would suggest loving him up while she's being integrated in the flock. How old are her chicks?
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    Bringing in a new hen with chicks is very different than having an established hen brood chicks. This new hen will have to find her own place in the pecking order,and the rooster will have to assert himself over her. Plus, worrying about her chicks--that could be a recipe for disaster.

    How old are the chicks? In this case, I'd wait until the chicks are a minimum of 4 weeks old before I'd be trying to put them together. At that age, I might try putting momma in with the flock on her own for a while, to see how she does without having to worry about protecting the littles. Let her and the rooster work things out, and she'll get a feel for the other hens. Once they settle down a bit, you can let the littles in with everyone and watch how it goes.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Yep this is normal, and your surprise is not understanding how the chicken society works. Many times I see this where people separate the broody and chicks from the flock for the best of intentions, then at about 4 weeks, want to have one flock and get a disaster. They expect the broody to protect the chicks from the flock, and the flock to accept the broody hen.

    This is what really happens. When the chicks hatch, the broody hormone surges in the hen. She adores these chicks and will vigorously protect them. If she is already an accepted member of the flock, they accept her and the chicks. At about 3-4 weeks, the broody hormone begins to drop, and one day you will go out, and it is almost like the broody hen has forgotten her chicks. However, by that time, they have been accepted by the flock, and will be a sub flock until they begin to lay.

    In your situation, it is very difficult to introduce a single hen, let alone chicks to a flock. Try pulling the rooster and aggressive hen into what is now the current broody hen set up, putting the hen and chicks in with the other birds. Make sure there are hide outs, places the chicks can get out of easy reach, such as a pallet up on cement blocks, (I often put feed under the pallet so the chicks can eat in peace) and a couple of pallets leaned against the wall. If you can let the established flock out of the set up, so the new comers can explore a bit without persecution. Add multiple water and feed stations. Then let the less aggressive part of the flock back in.

    Mrs K

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