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Integrating new chooks query

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We picked up our new hybrids last Sunday. They have been confined to the pink eglu & run within the walk-in since then. We started letting them free range together for an hour after work on Tuesday. It hasn't been too bad. Bron - top chook made her status known, and she now walks among them and scratches besides them fine. The 2 daisybelles who had historically bullied the 2nd 4 when they were introduced have really surprised us and are also quite happy around the newbies - not so much as an evil glance. Milly however is a completely different matter. She came in the 2nd batch of 4 late last summer. She's the smallest of the older girls, a bit of an outsider and has been bottom of the pecking order. She has always seemed to have a sweet personality. This all seems to have changed. I think she has realised that now is her opportunity to move up the ladder. She has pulled out tail feathers, taken to pinning 2 of them to the floor and pulling at their neck feathers (at least I think it is only their feathers) and chasing them around.


I have left them to all free range together today from 9.30 - 6pm. I watched them for the first couple of hours and it didn't seem to bad - just a couple of pecking incidents and some chasing, but Milly was also happy to be distracted by the communal dust bathing etc.


I've been reading posts on introductions for several hours tonight :? and have absorbed as much as possible. We've therefore moved 2 daisybelles in to sleep with the new girls tonight (and am very nervous). But what should I do in the morning? Leave the eglu run open so that when they left themselves up they go into the main run, or not allow them to let themselves out and get up early and segregate? And then tomorrow do I let commune together in the big run while I'm at work? I don't think anybody apart from Milly is a worry?


I was hoping that come next weekend all would be well, as the cubes will be here, as will as my Pekinettes, who will be needing the eglu run.


(sorry for the long post ...again :roll: .... I really must learn to be more succinct :oops: )

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I got up and separated the two newbies when I was integrating hens. Sleeping together at night was fine as they all settled down and snuggled in and I got them out before the others could attack. Sleeping together and free ranging together really helps. Give them a week and they'll be fine. :D


Interesting how no 2s and 4s try to change their pecking order when newbies arrive.

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when we did our introduction we kept them seperate and then let them free range alternately (newies in - oldies out) and kept switching it around.


We then let them free range together with supervision, I think once they are all out in the open all the initial horrible pecking can be done where there is space for the submissive chooks to run away, if they are confined if you put them altogether too early this may cause the pecking to be worse.


We kept them seperate until the initial free ranging pecking calmed down and then put them in the run together.


Took us about a week


good luck :D

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I think it depends on the individual hens, and each introduction is unique. I've had no trouble in the past, but Pepper (my top hen) has really taken against my new pekins and is seriously throwing her weight around! I tried putting the new girls in the eglu run after the others had gone to bed, but they were really agitated and Gytha tried to fly out of the run :shock:


Since the weather forecast is not good, they are now in the utility room in a cage to themselves. I think this one is going to take a fair bit longer... :roll:

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I let mine free range together , but separated them at night.


It was tricky getting them into the right Eglu's for a while....now they all try to get in one together.


It took the classic three weeks for peace to break out.


The bottom hen of one foursome became the nasty aggressor with my girls too.

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I've been reading the posts about introducing a new hen and I'm starting to get worried that I'm doing the wrong thing considering bringing a new one in :? . It sounds like introducing only one is not a good idea :( . I really don't have room for more than 4 in an eglu & converter (even that is pushing it).


I have a rabbit run which I'm going to try to rig up tomorrow to see if it'll work as an introduction run.

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We tried to introduce one chicken to a pair and they picked on her so much we had to go back to the breeder the same day and get another one. I think with getting the 2 new ones it was so much of a distraction they didnt know which one to peck first - so 2 is better if you can manage it. :wink:


Im sure it can be done with just one (with time and patience and observation) but we didnt have the time or space to do it. :)

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We added two bantams (Cindy + Bella) to our existing pair of omlet chucks yesterday - a Gingernut and a Pepperpot called Pippin and Mabel.


The new chickens are Light Sussexes so large for bantams and were very nervous after their trip to their new home. They hid in a cardboard box in the eglu run for a good couple of hours whilst our original pair paced around outside the run 'shouting' (never heard them making so much noise). We then left the new girls in the run for the rest of day - eventually they settled into the eglu itself. At dusk I opened the run and then stood quietly watching proceedings. Mabel and Pippin scratched around the run for a while, making lots of noise and then carefully went into the eglu and with only a couple of clucks all four settled down for the night. I've been watching them this morning and they're peacefully ranging about in their pen (about 40m2) with the occasional peck from the old girls when the new pair go to the feeders.


I'll separate them today if things get out of hand and supervise tonight again.


So far, so good.

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