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May 29, 2013

INTRODUCING NEW CHICKENS TO THE OLD FLOCK

Posted by Anais Dervaes

This week the new chicks, now two months old,  joined their fine furry and feathered companions  in the main animal compound.   So far, so good!  There have not been any feathers flying - only a few small pecks from the older chickens as the new ones find their place in the "new world pecking order."

Over the years, we've learned what "tricks" are best for introducing a new batch of chicks to the flock.

One is to "introduce" the new chickens during the night while the others are sleeping so that they all wake up together. After having done that, the next morning I peeked in before opening the coop door and they all were perched together.  I could imagine the older chickens wondering "how did these 'things' get in here?" And the new chicks wondering "how on earth did we get in here?" LOL.

After opening the coop door, I put out some favorite chicken treats so they'd be more interested in the food than each other.  That brought both the new and older ones to a central eating location for a morning feast and, after few small pecks, all was right in the hen world.  Of course, just like anxious parents, we kept a watchful eye out for the next few hours.  Checking on things periodically during the morning and afternoon with no signs of any brouhaha.

The new chicks seem pretty excited about their new "digs." Lots of spots to "hang out" and  plenty of dirt for beauty baths.   However, they still travel together in threes wherever they go - so cute! For some reason, they have taken to Blackberry, our pygmy goat.  Don't know exactly why but they like to spend much time on her back--all  three of them!  And she doesn't seem to mind at all.

Anyway, the introduction phase has, thankfully, gone smoothly.   Seems all is well in chickendom. And Blackberry? I think she enjoys the attention.

Our goat seems to be a "chick magnet"


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11 Comments: "INTRODUCING NEW CHICKENS TO THE OLD FLOCK" »

  1. Ahhh so sweet :-) I have never done the "middle of the night" introduction but may the next time we bring in new ones.
    Would love to know how big your animal compound is and if all the animals are in there together all the time. One of our ducks is just a plain ol' pest to our hens. I've seen him corner & grab one of my girls but I've also seen the hens stand up to him and he retreated. Since I am not around every min of the day I found it easier to let the ducks out of their pen to forage early in the morning and usually in the evening. The hens get to free range during the day when the ducks like to nap but I sure would love to let them all out together. Hubby says just let them go & they'll work it out but I hate the thought of someone possibly getting hurt.
    Would love to know yalls secret to everyone being friends :-)

    • PS... have you ever had any issues with the old hens bugging the new hens while laying eggs? or the new bugging the old? That has been an issue for us in the past. Especially with a certain hen. Don't know if she is just curious or feeling territorial over the nest/eggs...haven't figured it out.

    • Hi Lori! I have Khaki Campbells and Rhode Island Red hens, and a tall Indian Runner drake. I was so scared about letting them be together at first they had separate pens but it was a hassle. I noticed when I first let them out together if they were in a pen, and competed for worms or scratch, the hens would get bossy and sometimes even peck at or jump on top of the ducks. Well, the pen didn't last long because soon enough the ducks went through the fence holes and the chickens learned to fly right over, lol. I have 5 acres and so now they all free range together most of the day, then go to separate pens at night. Other than those few first incidences, I've had no problems with them being out together even in close proximity. I wouldn't ever bed them together, though other people do, but I would never again hesitate to let ducks and hens hang out...they stick to their 'birds of a feather' flocks and don't pay each other much mind. Anais, I was wondering what you do with your excess ducks/chickens that you produce? I know you don't eat them, do you sell them, or are you just growing your flock?

    • I had a flock of 28 ducks and 30+ chickens for about 4 years. They had a pecking order and was always free to roam throughout the day. The ducks were all call ducks ( a smaller duck) though, that may have been why it worked for us. I also gave them a pond every day with my hose, they had everything but the hawks figured out.

  2. Your new hens are so adorable. Now that I have some of my own, I've really come to love chickens. Two of mine have started laying & one has laid an egg every day since she started laying 3 weeks ago.

  3. How can I find out if we are allowed to raise chicken's inside the city limits? Goats too? we have a fairly small partial of land with our 1909 Victorian home,,,it will be 5 yrs before we can purchase a larger homestead. After reading about so many people who are doing it in the city I am going to start right now where we are and need all the help i can get! I am not going to accomplish near what you have but it is a place to start,,,thank you for posting you're knowledge and sooo much for others~ So happy I stumbled across your blog!

    • In my city, chickens are not allowed but because my property is grandfathered agriculture I am. I used to let my chickens free range but they would sometimes wander into my neighbours garden and they called the city on me and I was told I must keep them locked up :(
      As for finding out the laws you would have to look into your city bi-laws and how your property is designated.
      If your neighbours are not right beside you and there is no chance of anyone complaining then I would say what the city doesn't know wont affect you..

  4. I'm worried about one of my 11 week old hens. She is panting a lot and seems to nest/rest quite a lot more than the other 3 of the same age. the weather has Not been hot so and the others are not panting. what do you think might be wrong? And what can I do to make things better for her?

  5. Hello! These are great tips. Thanks for posting! I have a question and it seems I may have found the perfect source to ask....
    I have 5 chickens, all different kinds, who are old enough to have just started laying. Today I "adopted" a baby chick from a farm who wound up with a bloody toe (bad news, with 700 sisters there to attack her). She's in our kitchen, chirping up a storm, and I am worried about her fate. Can I sneak her in, once healed, to be raised by the five hens? She's maybe one week old, two weeks tops.
    Should I get her a companion, no matter what, and introduce her once she's old enough to be outside on her own... it being the end of fall and growing quite cold outside? I'd love the advice. Thanks so much!!

  6. We have added 4 new chickens to our flock.. My question is how long do we wait before we can let them out to free range? It's been 2 weeks and our older ladies are getting ancy.. They are used to going out in the morning and going in at sunset..

  7. I have 4 Lavender Orps that are 9 and 8 weeks old. I am picking up 2- 4 month old Americauna pullets today. I only have one coop and run I am keeping my Lavenders in and have been looking trying to find out how to best introduce the new ones to my younger Cockerel and pullets. I fear the Americaunas are the ones I have to watch out for since the Lavenders are younger and smaller. I think they will be a little easier to add since this is a new place for them. Any ideas for me, sorry but I need help ASAP!!

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