What to expect when adding new hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Miks, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Miks

    Miks Chirping

    Jun 1, 2019
    So I have 3 black sex links that are a year old. There is not fighting amongst the three they get along great. I’m adding 3 EEs (they were supposed to be AMs). The EEs are pretty big and the run area has been divided for 3 weeks now to give them time to adjust to each other. The EEs have been sleeping in a temporary coop at night. When I finally take down the partition, how much pecking should I expect? Some say to put them in the same coop after dark and other said let them free range together. I’m really wanting to get this right without anyone being harmed. I’ve had the EEs since April and they were about 3 weeks old at the time. They are a good size now. Thanks for any suggestions. Not sure what to expect or when/if I should intervene when combining them.
  2. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

    Jun 26, 2014
    Corning, NY
    Welcome to our FUN-omenal community! :celebrate Best wishes and have Lots of FUN! :wee
  3. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
    I would allow them to free range together. Let new EEs out first for about an hour to learn the lay of the land, then let the BSL out. There will be some chasing but the EEs should be faster and can evade getting pecked. As long as no blood is being drawn, leave them to figure things out on their own.
  4. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Enabler

    Hello, and welcome! Glad that you joined! Good luck with merging the new with the old.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    A lot will depend on what your run looks like. Is it a big open rectangle, where a bird in any part of the run, can see any other birds in the run. I often see that type of run, and they are boring for chickens, and do not allow chickens to get away from each other.

    If so, add clutter and junk. Form mini walls, where a bird behind one, cannot be seen from other areas of the run, put a feed station there. Add some roosts, where a bird can jump up on, or a platform where a bird can get on top of, or underneath in the shade. Lean a pallet up against a wall. Put a tote on its side or a large cardboard box - gives protection from the wind, a bit of shade, and a place to get out of sight.

    If you have a run like that, I would expect very little trouble adding the new birds. If the new ones have not been in the run, or just a corner of it. Let the old ones out for the day into your yard. Let the new ones explore the set up without being chased. Maybe chase them yourself a little bit, so they can see how the hideouts work. Then let the bigs in at near dark. There might be a little pecking, but I would doubt much.

    Mrs K
  6. RustyBucketFarmGirl

    RustyBucketFarmGirl Songster

    Jul 3, 2018
    I had a pretty rough integration with 3 adult girls into my 10 adult flock of hens.

    I went with the free range method and for many days the new girls would return to their temporary coop at night and the flock to the main coop.

    We continued this for a very long time as i didn’t want to force the issue. We had some squirmishes on and off.

    Once i did put them in the same coop i did make sure to move the food and water from the mini coop in along with them and added a few new items to try and deflect attention.

    Pretty sure it took over a month. Slow! Gradual! Let the birds guide you in the process. They may move in easily and they may resist.

    Good luck and enjoy the new girls!
  7. Miks

    Miks Chirping

    Jun 1, 2019
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    This is an important question...along with how big is your run, in feet by feet.
    Do you free range?
    That can help.

    This tips might help too.
    Integration Basics:

    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    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.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
  9. D-Bar-B

    D-Bar-B Songster

    Feb 13, 2019
    That's exactly how I integrated mine last week. They were 8 weeks old at the time and my older hens are 18-24 months. I let them free range together for a couple hours in the evening the first couple days and then on day 3, let them out in the morning to free range together all day while I was home to be able to check on them. They still go to their separate coops at night, which is fine with me but are doing great together as a flock during the day. Good luck!

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