What do YOU do when you add an adult chicken to flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FluffyChic, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. FluffyChic

    FluffyChic Songster

    Jan 2, 2010
    Monroe, NC
    Now, I am new to this, but I've read that you have to quarantine the hen you're adding to the flock. We only have one house and run for them right now. We added a rooster recently by allowing them to free range and he has blended in with them just fine already. Do YOU always quarantine them before adding in, or can you just free range for the day, let them work it out and watch how it goes at night?? Sorry if this sounds stupid.[​IMG] I just saw he blended in just fine and would really like to add a couple other standard hens to our flock w/o having to build/buy anything els. Feed back please. Thanks;)

  2. interlaaken

    interlaaken In the Brooder

    Oct 19, 2009
    I did not know about quarantining chickens when I introduced new ones to the flock. What I did was put the new chicken in a dog kennel and put the kennel in the coop at night. In the morning the established girls (11) would stand arround the kennel looking in and wondering what was going on. I then put the established flock out in the run and let the new chicken get used to the coop. Towards evening I put the new chicken back in the kennel and let the established girls roost. Once then were roosting, I put the new chicken on the roost with them. I put all kinds of treats all over the coop and let them all wake up in the morning together. I have not had any trouble with pecking, fighting etc. They are usually too busy finding treats to worry about the new comer.
  3. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    The whole reason for quarantining is becasue the new additions, you dont know exactly what they have been exposed to or may be carrying. Its to protect your flock from any diseases that the new birds might be adding to yours.

    A new bird can look perfectly healthy, and then be sick a few days later... and if you have already added them to the flock you have now exposed them to whatever the new guy has. If you have read some of the posts here you would see that more than a few people have had disasterous results...some ending in the loss of all or most of their original chickens.

    Its always best to quarantine to protect the exisiting flock! Day old chicks tho... usually people slip them under mamma etc w/out quarantine cos the chances of them being sick is so low.

    Personally...I would try to do at LEAST 2 weeks before letting them meet their new flock...just to be on the safe side.
  4. There are many ways to do it, but I have a similar set-up in which there is only one living space for all of my chickens. They have a coop, run, and access to partial free-range later in the day. When I add an adult, I treat them as if they are a new chick.

    1.) Quarantine for approx. a month, if possible. In the past I've had trouble keeping a bird in total isolation for a whole month, which I say, is still pushing it if a month alone is not completed. This period is to make sure no one is ill, injured, or not feeling at their best. It can take a month to actually see something starting...I keep them in a dog crate inside my basement.

    2.) After qarantine and all is clear, I take the bird, and can do one of two things, or both. I can put them in the crate out in the run and put a tarp over it, or put the crate in the coop, or both of them. I tend to keep them like this for at least a week. This way, they learn where home is, and who the other birds are from a safe environment. Although, a crate is small and birds get bored when there is nothing to do and can't go anywhere.

    3.) Let 'em at it! Take the bird out and see how they interact with the flock. There should be squabble, because a new pecking order must be decided. If there is bloodshed, take the injured bird away and treat them before throwing them back in the flock again. Sometimes it takes more than one try, and even more than JUST ONE DAY to have everything work out. Be patient. I usually put the bird back in the crate and try again the next day, and the next, and so after. I don't like to leave them at the mercy of the flock after just one day.

    People say that when a chicken wakes up the next day with a new chicken there, they don't notice and there is less fighting. In my limited experience, this is very untrue. Chickens are not too bright, but they aren't oblivious to the scenes around them, especially because they are territorial in their own home. I find that they do notice new things and there is more fighting when they first meet, and have the ability to bloody themselves up.

    A tip: In the past, when I've added young chicks, I put some big, colorful children's toys (trucks, bikes, etc), and maybe a potted plant or two in their run when I added the new birds. As said before, chickens notice change in their own home and they are more interested with investigating eye-catching items than they are with newcomers.
  5. dickies chics

    dickies chics Songster

    Nov 7, 2009
    Baldwinville MA
    I try my best to quarintine any new chickens for at least 2 weeks then I add my new birds at night about an hour after my existing flock has gone to roost. this has worked well the last 2 times I have done it.
  6. TK Poultry

    TK Poultry Songster

    May 25, 2009
    Greencastle, Indiana
    i quarentine in my garage or in my spare room for 3-5 weeks and watch them get to know them ect. Then once i know all is clear i then put the knew one in my duck pen which is attacked to my chicken coops on both sides and the ducks dont care they are affraid of most chickens.....then once they see each other and hash it out then put them together this process can take from a day to a week to get the newbie from the duck pen to the chicken coop.

    and let me tell you a quick little story about not quarentining..... it was around july and i brought home a few easter eggers home from a farmers market i visited not knowing much about the subject actually knowing nothing about quarentining i just put them out into the pen and all went well. Well then a few weeks later i notice my NHR's are getting swelled eyes and it ended up it was coryza, and i couldnt get rid of it i ended up culling all but 5 of my chicken flock and i had a flock of about 30-40. Thank goodness my only five that lived were know where near the infected birds. Even though an Easter Egger brought it in i put them in with my BR's. I now quarentine like crazy. im just really thankful that ducks dont get coryza. so i hope this helps and it was a hard lesson to learn for me
  7. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I added an adult hen when I first got chickens, I didn't quarantine, and I would never do what I did again. In fact, after reading many of the horror stories about bringing in full grown chickens, I doubt I would ever add anything but chicks to my flock, and super healthy chicks.

    You've got some great advice, all I can add is try to add in groups of at least 2--so they have company during quarantine, and backup during integration. Free-ranging together seems to help a lot.

    But I would seriously consider waiting for chick season and brood some--they are SUCH fun!

    Here's a recent story--
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010


    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    I rarely add any new birds but I recently got 2 trios of Dominiques from an Ohio breeder. When they arrived I did what I have always done. Gave them a dusting of louse powder just in case & then turned them in with the exixting Dominique flock. There was a brief period of chasing to rework the pecking order. Beyond that no problems. I read accounts of horror stories here all the time but can honestly say that in nearly 50 years of poultry keeping I've never isolated new birds& i've never had a bad outcome. However, I have only ever bought birds from people I know whose flocks I am familiar with.

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