What does a rooster do when a new hen is introduced to the flock?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by blueclip, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. blueclip

    blueclip Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok so actually I have a question before I get to the main one: When's the best time to introduce a new chicken to the flock? Some say at night, some say keep them separated so that they can "see each other but not touch," and then let it loose after a week. Any thoughts/experiences to the best method?

    My main question: What if you introduced a new hen to the coop to a flock that has a rooster? Does the rooster protect the new hen from getting henpecked from the hens that are aready in the flock? Or does he drive the bandwagon of henpecking the poor new girl? Any tips would help as I am looking to introduce three more hens to my flock of 6 month old Dominiques. Thank ya.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If you just toss her in with the flock, there is a good chance that everyone will go after her, even the rooster, regardless of the time of day. He will not protect her because she is an 'intruder,' not a part of his flock. The look but don't touch method is the safest and least stressful method. After a few days, you can put a lower ranking, mellow hen with the new girl for company. After a week or two, you can start to let your mini-flock have run/free range time with the established flock. If all goes well, you can then coop everybody up together.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    As far as the rooster question it depends on the rooster, I have seen roosters take in new hens and protect them and I've seen them attack them, so there's no one answer. I personally would never just add chickens, sometimes it works, most times it doesn't.
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    It's tough on the bird just adding one. If you could add two together, it would lessen the abuse until they are accepted into the flock. Make sure there are multiple feed/water stations so they can't be kept from food and water.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Are you planning on adding a single hen or several? You allude to both. Adding a single hen is going to be rough on her and you. No two ways about it. Plan on it.

    I just introduced a rescued hen who was the sole survivor of her abandoned flock. It's been seven days, and the flock is still chasing her and pecking her. I began by putting her in a large crate in the middle of the run. That was not the best thing as some little savage managed to bloody her comb through the wires of the cage.

    Then I switched her to a safe pen, which was much better. But she began to get attached to being in her own little world. It wasn't moving the flock along toward true integration, so I began to leave the gate to her pen open after she has finished eating. That's another big problem with adding a single hen. They will be afraid of eating and may go hungry unless you provide a safe place for them to eat.

    At night, roosting hasn't been the huge problem I feared. But she's still not confident of her right to roost where she wants, and is relegated to a low perch she hates. But generally, the others are too focused on roosting to give her much trouble.

    If you have the choice and plan to add more than one hen later on, I would wait and include the single hen in a group of hens and add them all together. Grouping new chickens together will inspire more self confidence in them and make them less vulnerable to bullying.
     
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  6. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't like introducing them at night.I did that and in the morning the new ones were getting beat on.I like to be able to see the hens when their together.So as soon as I get chickens,I make sure their healthy then after a week I turn them with the others,no cage nothing.I prefer letting them fight it out,because for me,the outcome is fine.They have the w new ones settled in their place.

    For the rooster question:When i introduce new hens,my rooster usually does his dominate wing dance,then he may peck her on the head,but he does try to mate sometimes.He never has fought them unless they challenge him,and usually hens don't fight roosters very long.I notice they stop once they realize they have spurs.
     

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