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Problems introducing new chickens

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Hi everyone


I've hit a problem this morning which I could really use some advice with. I have three hens which have been with me for a year and came to me at point of lay. Yesterday I tried to introduce two more; one an older hybrid hen from a friend whose flock had decreased over time and was now left with only one, and a point of lay light sussex.


I followed the helpful advice I found on this forum, divided my walk-in run in two with temporary fencing (it's big enough at 7m x 3m to do this), and introduced the two new birds into one half, keeping my original three in the other. Each half had its own house, shelter, food, water & grit. My plan was to keep them this way for a week and then introduce the new girls to the old at bedtime, so that they could spend a night together in one house before mixing in the run.


This is what actually happened: the hybrid tried to attack the original hens through the fence, not the end of the world, this is why I put the fence up; however, she then spent the rest of the evening chasing and bullying the sussex constantly, to the point where she wouldn't come down from the top of the house. I put them both to bed and they were fine in the house, completely peaceful until I let them out again in the morning, when the bullying started all over again.


In desperation I mixed both flocks in the hope that the focus would be taken off the sussex and that if my three ganged up on the hybrid she would be able to hold her own. The first part of the plan worked, however, the hybrid merely attacked all four birds without let up. After a couple of hours I gave up hope and asked my friend to take her back. Luckily they have another home for her in a large flock with a cockerel who will hopefully keep her in check.


So here's my problem - what do I do for the best for my remaining new bird? Although my original girls accepted her well when I first mixed them, since the hybrid left they are giving her a harder time; not the constant bullying from earlier, but she has taken refuge on top of their shelter and doesn't want to come down now.


I'm not sure whether to separate her and go back to the original plan of keeping her that way for a week, or leave her mixed in now. I've thought about getting another bird as I'd heard that it was better to introduce two that one; that was of course my original plan, but it's now gone pear shaped. The breeder I bought her from has just gone on holiday, but I could source another bird locally if I had too, although it wouldn't be vaccinated.




Mel :(

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Hi Mel,

Firstly let me tell you that I am no chicken expert, but have managed one sucessfull intro, similar to yours. I too have a WIR with 3 original girls which I divided in half and intro 3 newbies, who of which were 2 young POL and the other a mature Orpington. At first they went mad trying to get to one and other, and indeed the orpington picked on the babies, however because there was 2 of them it seemed better!. However I managed to keep oldies and newbies seperate for a week then started FR ing them together, and eventually spending more and more time together and then bit the bullet and left them together. All worked out fine, all be it they squabbled but not majorly.

Personally I would seperate the new from the old for at least a week so they can see each other but not get to one another, I would probably get another POL then close to the age of the other young one put them intogether and at least they are sinilar age and will probably sort themselves out fairly quickly :pray: . Then when you do the big intro there are at least 2 young ones rather than just 1 to pick on. This is just my opinion and I am sure that someone with more experience will be along soon. Good luck :D it will be worth it in the end.

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Thanks very much, that's just the advice I need. Things have progressed in the last hour, with the original girls picking on the newbie so badly that I have now separated her again. She isn't hurt but is having some quiet time in the house and doesn't want to come out right now (can't say I blame her). I'm off to collect another POL, a warren, who I'll pop in the house with her for an hour or so before letting them out together in their side of the pen. Really hope I'm getting it right this time, it's a leap of faith this chicken keeping, isn't it? It helps so much to hear other's experiences, so thanks a lot.

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I do the intros the same as MAC but using a WIR and an eglu, I too fr together after a week but do not put them together at night for about 3 weeks. I agree with separating them for now and then adding a younger POL to the sussex when your breeder gets back :D


Edit: Warrens are lovely, good luck :dance:

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Hi, i had an introduction about 3 weeks back, i had 6 hybrid warren/lohmanns cross hens, (9months old) they had grew up together since they were chicks, Cherry sadfully died so i was left with 5.

My friend was desperate to get rid of her hens (all 6) but i comprimised and said i would only take two (white stars 5months old)

This was my plan

Week 1 - seperate at all times whilst the older hens could still see them

week 2 - let them feed and free range together but sleep seperatly

week 3 - put them to bed all together and hope they live in harmony


This is what happened;

1st night they slept in a cat box in the run, the next day i let them freerange together. There was some pecking but nothing serious or really vicious, we immediatly went to get some anti pek spray - after 2 applications they were completely fine, petal (my ringleader) sleeps at the door of the cube with her wings out to protect them. They do peck each other if food is about but that is usual for my greedy lot! :D


Maybe you could try anti pek spray or my original plan (or adapt it?) ~ I think i was lucky but eventually they will have to accept them.


Just another point, put out loads of drinkers and feeders even if its just a plastic bowl, i have 7 hens and made room for 9 drinkers and 9 feeders just so the other ones dont feel threatened and stop the new ones from eating or drinking (in this heat especially). They now have 3 grubs and 2 superglugs and are just fine. Mine also used to sit in the cube and watch the others but i think that is normal,they are going to feel anxious just like humans do if you were going to meet 5 other people that are completely new to you and you have to live with!!!

Good luck and keep us up to date xxx

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Hi again everyone


I'm very pleased to be able to say that everything is going really well with my two new girls. I introduced Lorelai, the hastily purchased Warren, to Doris, the poor put upon Sussex, yesterday afternoon, in a state of trepidation. I shouldn't have worried, as they got on swimmingly straight away; Doris took the opportunity to very gently say that she had had enough bullying thank you very much and would prefer a more equal relationship, which the lovely, placid Lorelai saw no problem with at all. A couple of nudges and they have been happily scratching about in their run ever since, pretty much ignoring the others, who can't resist lining up on the other side of the fence from time to time and offering the odd cluck to reinforce who was here first. Apart from that Coco, Wilma and Betty are settling back into their normal pattern of behaviour, which is so good to see, as the failed introduction of the original new chicken had left them quite put out for a bit.


It's lovely to see Doris go straight back to being the happy, placid chicken she seemed to be when I brought her home yesterday, with a pal rather than an enemy for company now. She hasn't made one attempt to get on top of the house or shelter since I separated her from the others and she and Lorelai slept squashed into one next box last night. This morning they happily hopped out of their house and I was greeted by a tiny egg! It doesn't get much better than this, does it? :D


Following all your fantastic advice, I've decided to keep them separate for a week, then allow them a bit of time free ranging together over the following week, before letting them all sleep in the same house. Hopefully the worst is over, everyone is fine and I've learnt a lot in the process, so nothing is ever wasted.


I can't say thanks enough for your support; hopefully I'll be able to do the same for other new chicken owners at some point.


Cheers Mel :D:D

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