Introducing new hens

by Carolyn
(Glasgow)

Question

Introducing new hens: I have three hens already who all sleep in one chicken coop, I have another chicken coop and want to get 3 to 4 new chickens, should I encourage them to sleep in another house or should I just leave them all to it, to decide for themselves who sleeps where.

Each chicken house is big enough to house 4 chickens comfortably.

Answer
I’m all for leaving them to it. Introducing adult chickens to each other can be a bit stressful for them, or it could go smoothly.

Actually, when you get your new chickens, it would be a good idea to quarantine them for a week, inside the other coop, just to be careful not to introduce anything to your first three hens.

During that time they will get used to where they are supposed roost and the sounds of their new home.

Once you are sure the new chickens are healthy, I’d let them out together, maybe sprinkling scratch grains where they can eat near each other, but not have to compete.

Of course there will be some posturing and maybe a few mock fights, but as long as there is plenty of room and food and water, there should be no long term problems.

It can take months for them to fully bond as a flock, depending on the natures and attitudes of each hen.

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Mingling
by: Chicken Raising Rita

I also wondered how to introduce the new young chicks to the year old ones. My coop was large enough to put up a see though dog gate so they could sniff and "meet" each other first.

After a few days I took away the gate and all was fine, however, there will always be a "pecking order" no matter what the varieties, ages and careful introductions! Good Luck from Chicken Raising Rita

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INTRODUCING NEW HENS
by: Carolyn

Thanks for the feedback, Monday is the Big Day, I would like to just put them all together and see what happens, but to be on safe side I think I will put new hens in the other coop and attach the run, so they can all get familiar, but behind bars so to speak, and fingers crossed after a few days I can let them all run free together, I am around most of the day, so will be able to intervene if there is any bullying. Will keep you posted with a progress report.

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