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JCress19

Introducing new friends to lone hen.

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Hi all,

 

Recently we lost our bluebell hen Bella to old age related illness, so now Ruby is left all on her own and very much in need of some new friends. She is barely a year old, so we were hoping to get 3 new pullets which will be about her size. But obviously, it's going to be a difficult introduction due to Ruby being on her own. We also only have one coop, so I'm not 100% sure what to do about nights. Does anybody have any tips or advice on how we should introduce them? We have introduced new hens into our flock before, but I have never felt as though we got it quite right.

 

Any advice or experiences you have would be very much appreciated!

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Twice I've been left with a lone hen and twice I've introduced two new hens. I also have only one coop and I couldn't faff about with a whole rigmarole to introduce them slowly. In each case I just put both new ones into the run with the remaining chicken straight away.

 

The remaining hen does try to protect her food source and did peck at the new hens, as is to be expected, but she can't protect both food sources from two new hens and gives up after a short while. Also, the run is large so the new hens get respite. So I left them to it.

 

There were clearly altercations in both cases, because when I came back both new hens were outside the coop (so had flown out - this was before I'd clipped their wings), but I just put them back into the protected run and closed the door. All chickens slept together in the coop overnight the first night and the next day everything was stable again.

 

It seems a bit harsh, and maybe I was just lucky (having read all these horror stories about introducing new birds), but I always found adding two new to one old a pretty smooth experience. I suppose it may depend on the race - mine are egg-laying hybrids.

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intros don't always go badly it's just that 99% of the posts on any poultry forum regarding intros will be about bad ones as the posters will be looking for advice and sadly were we get people asking for advice pre intros and some of the advice can be negative which humans been humans tends to stick in the memory better than good advice. if you have a second coop and run and can take a few weeks over the intro then 99.9% of the time it will go well. but if you have to do the intro straight away then put the new birds in the coop after dark it'll reduce the stress levels with all parties except the humans if you can put extra feed and water stations in the run so that they can't be guarded by the single hen with out moving a good distance from the other one if you free range to birds that'll go a long way in helping but it do's have a slight draw back in that the new birds will take a couple of weeks to accept their new home as home

above all you need to hold your nerve when scobbles brake out which they will as long as no blood is drawn leave them to it. they have to sort out the pecking order themselves you can't do it for them

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I agree with sjp, in an ideal word separate and slowly introduce them. I have always followed this pattern, sometimes, when they are first together they have mixed and become a flock straight away. Other times they have taken week and weeks regardless of the slow steady intro's

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Hi. I had a fox attack last year which left me with 2 under 1 year olds both were pretty unwell afterwards and 1 of the died  before Christmas I think because she never recovered from the stress. Anyway our lone hen seemed sad so a friend said that she would give me her 3 same age ones. They are being pretty mean to her but I have kept them all in together for now. She spends most of her time out of harms way on top of the chicken house and I feed her there. I haven’t let them out into the garden yet because I was worried the new ones might wander off without her help. It’s only been 3 nights so far. Should I let them out and hope that that binds them together? Thank you!

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Free ranging doesn’t necessarily create bonding time. As the other three know each other, your existing hen will likely be an outsider for a good while.

Also if you are in the UK, hens need to be kept in because of the avian influenza.

I would just give it a bit more time, but provide them with a number of extra feeding stations and drinkers.

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