UPDATE 10/3 w/ VIDEO: Introduction ACCOMPLISHED!


11 Years
Dec 18, 2008
Middle TN


So my resident hens are Clarice (world's most butch and pushy girl) and Svetlana (pretty laid-back). I'm adding in Bianca and Audrey, who are unrelated but brought up together pullets, 12-13 weeks old. They have been in q-tine for 3.5 weeks in an enormous dog crate on my front porch and they are getting BIG so I'm anxious to get them out!

Per my post yesterday, I just added a second 10x10 run to the existing one. Info here (including a video of first interactions through the wire):


My original plan was to put the new girls in the new pen and the old girls in the old pen, with door between closed, for as long as it took for Clarice to chill out. But the remnants of Hurrican Lee have interfered w/ this plan. It started raining on Sun p.m., and I was reluctant to leave the new girls in the new pen b/c it has no cover except the large Vari Kennel I had put them for shelter. So Mon. a.m. I had to decide whether to chance leaving them all together or putting the new girls back on the porch. They all spent Sun. night together in the coop for the first time, which was uneventful. So Mon. a.m. I opened the pophole and went to work, crossing my fingers.

It rained ALL DAY yesterday. When I got home, the new girls were cowering BEHIND the Vari-Kennel (not in it) and they were soaked to the bone and crying.
They practically held their little wings up to me and sobbed, "MOMMY, PICK ME UP!!!" I took them inside and blow dried them. They ate and ate, which led me to think that Clarice had run them out of the coop and out of "her" half of the pen in the a.m., and had probably trapped them in the Vari-Kennel and scared the crap out of them. After that they were afraid to go inside it (and their food was in there to keep it dry).

So clearly THIS isn't working!!! Today they are back on the porch.

HERE IS MY PLAN B. Please tell me what you think!

Back when Svetlana was introduced, Clarice picked on her, too--but her arrival coincided w/ Olivia (dearly departed now) getting sick for the first time and having to be kept inside and treated for 2 weeks. As soon as Olivia left, Clarice changed her attitude towards Svetlana--she was now the only other chicken in the world so Clarice knew she had to work it out. By the time Olivia returned, Svetty and Clarice were buddies and all 3 of them got along great.

So I'm going to remove Svetlana from the flock. I would rather remove Clarice (since it's her "fault"!) but Clarice is a completely wild chicken. I've never handled her and I'm pretty sure that one or both of us would fail to survive any attempt at capture. Svetlana I can catch and she can do what the other girls have been doing for the past 3 weeks. In the meantime, the new girls can be in the new pen during the day and in the coop w/ Clarice at night (after Clarice is sufficiently asleep not to care).

Then I would swap them--Clarice in the new pen and new girls in the old pen.

Then, once Clarice was good and lonely, I'd try them together.

What do you think? Might this work?

I don't know if it makes any difference, but these pullets were hatched in an incubator and have NEVER known a single adult chicken. They went from incubator to large indoor coop w/ other pullets/ cockerels to my place together. Might they just not have good social skills? Clarice IS a complete beotch--there is no doubt about that!! I'm just wondering if anyone has had trouble integrating chickens who were not naturally raised.

Thanks for any help!
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The best way I have found to integrate is to keep them separate but able to see each other for at least a week (2 would be better). Can you still keep them in the dog crate at night (in the coop if possible) and put them in the run for the daytime? You could use a tarp to give them some shelter. It will take a bit of work on your part, but I think it will work out better.

If you remove one of the hens from the flock, you are just going to create more issues putting her back in the flock.
Yes--I'll have to do that no matter what. I'm going to tilt a piece of plywood against the fence (w/ holes at the top to secure it to fence w/ zip ties so it can't fall on anyone).
If you remove one of the hens from the flock, you are just going to create more issues putting her back in the flock.

That wasn't my experience last time (see above). As long as the separation is under 2 weeks, they don't forget each other. When Olivia went back w/ the other 2 girls, there was no problem at all, and the problem b/t Clarice and Svetlana was all over with.

I can go ahead and try just separating them during the day for a while (2 and 2). The new girls can sleep in the coop--that seems to work fine as long as they're all asleep (and I get up MUCH earlier than they do, LOL, so I can move them before Clarice is conscious enough to be a beotch).

Does it make sense to rotate environments? I.e., new girls in new pen for several days, then new girls in OLD pen (w/ coop access) for a few days while the old girls are in the NEW pen? That will be a little harder as I'll have to "shoo" Clarice out there (can't touch her!) every a.m., but it seems to me that otherwise the new girls can't learn that both places are theirs.

What do you think?​
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I recently introduced two 14 week-old pullets into my existing flock. When my older hens first saw them in my arms, they went ballistic and tried to attack them with a ferocity I've never seen in chickens. I put the new two in a moveable pen within the bigger chicken pen, and now they're getting along all right - the new ones sleep in the coop at night, then I put them into their inner pen in the morning. I would suggest trying this, but since yours are younger and littler they might need more time by themselves before growing big enough to defend themselves.
Bianca is actually HUGE, LOL. She's way taller than Clarice (who is a smallish chicken). See video in link above. But of course Clarice has all that force-of-nature personality working for her, LOL--she never met a being she wasn't SURE was her inferior.

We'll go back and go slowly--once the weather improves. I'm not putting them out there until it's nice and sunny--they were just so pitiful, all wet and cold.
As long as the separation is under 2 weeks, they don't forget each other.

All I can say is the one I removed for her injuries is under constant attacks....mine was only in seclusion about 2 weeks, and they are after her constantly. Now maybe part of my issue is her being hurt, and as new as I am to chickens have to agree with the other post, that youmay be creating more situations by removeing and replacing. I underatnd you say it went fine the last time, but I would hate to see you have to go through what I am......My one hen is so nice, and they just chase and attack all day.

Good luck, but wouldn't remove anyone you don't have too.​
Well, I wracked my brains and came up w/ a plan.

I have a nice big doghouse that, with minimal work, I can convert into a secure chicken coop. I will put that in the new pen and start w/ the new girls being there. Then after a week or so I'll swap them so the old girls are in the new pen. This way the new girls can get used to the real coop, too, and Clarice can get used to the idea that the new girls are permitted in "her" space.

After a few weeks I'll try again. Fingers crossed!!!

So the little girls now have their own "Mini Cooper" private abode in the NEW run, while Clarice and Svetlana continue in the main run/coop. Lots of info on the Cooper here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=570785

How long should I let them co-exist next door to each other before trying to introduce them again? Any suggestions as to how to proceed?

I'm still considering removing Svetlana to improve the chances of success. Clarice is a VERY hard nut to crack--I think I'm gonna need some help changing her attitude and removing her deputy is the best thing I can think of.

You don't seem to free range them at all, so not sure I can help, but I'll tell you what I did anyway.

I had 9 hens and a roo, 5 of the hens were introduced one night, late, into the coop while the others were docile, and the next day, there was definitely pecking order stuff going on, but nothing to horrible. Reason is they were all around the same size. However, a few days later I purchased 4 hens that were probably 10 weeks old...small, pecked because the seller kept them in a small area with 30 other chicks. I have a smallish coop/run that I had empty, because we had just built a new bigger one. I kept the little ones in there 24/7 for 2 weeks till they grew a little bit. After that, I let them out every day to free range with the others...literally, for over a month. They always returned to the small coop, while the older ones went back to the big coop. Did it on their own.

Towards the end of that time, though, the little ones were daily checking out the big coop/run, eating from their feeders, and co-mingling quite often. One night, I caught them in the big coop. I called for the big ones and threw out some scratch to distract them, and closed the run door. There was a little food related chasing, but other than that, no problems. At dark, I had to put one of the 4 young ones up in the coop...the other 3 did it on their own. I kept them all locked in the coop/run the next day, and while they were busy working out the pecking order, all went great. There have been no problems since.
Yeah, no free-ranging at my place--too dangerous. I hope that waiting a month or so will do the trick . . . but Bianca is already bigger than Clarice, LOL, so it's more of an age/chutzpah thing than a size thing, I guess.

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