Want to introduce new birds


5 Years
Sep 25, 2014

I'm new to the chicken scene and adopted two Barred Rocks from someone who had to get rid of them. After having them for a few months and figuring out the ins and outs of chickens, we want to get two more birds. I'm a bit nervous though, we haven't ever introduced our two girls to any new chicks, and i've read that barred rocks can be bullies. Does anyone suggest any good egg-layers that would mix well with the two we already have?

Any advice appreciated!

It's not about breeds, its about territory. Bringing any new birds into an established flock is a challenge to their territory and they will not be pleased....sometimes it is not pretty, especially if you are not well versed in the apparent viciousness that chickens can exhibit.

First make sure you have plenty of room to house the number of chickens you desire to keep, space is very important, especially during the integration of new birds.

They will need to be kept physically apart but within sight for a several weeks or until they are of similar size.

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in 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 for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:
Mature flocks do NOT like Chicks. EVEN nice chickens will try to kill baby chicks. One either has to raise chicks separately for a 3-4 months, or have a broody hen raise them in the flock. She will protect them until the flock gets used to them. Without her, laying hens will kill and eat chicks.

However, I have never had real trouble introducing mature hens to my flock. If you want a couple more, you should contact your local poultry clubs. You might try and get a breed that tends to go broody, so that you could add baby chicks next year. Chickens are not generally long lived, so to keep a flock, one needs to plan to add and decrease the numbers in it.

As stated above, space and size are the biggest issues. Look at your coop/run set up. So many runs I see posted here are just a big open space. A good run should have a couple of roosts, where a bird can perch just to get away from the other birds, it needs a shelter or shaded area, such as a pallet up on blocks or leaned against a wall. While it makes it look more cluttered, it actually give more space for birds to get away from each other, more movement as they get up and down. Out of sight can really help a flock settle down and be more peaceful.

Mrs K

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