How to Introduce New Chickens to Your Existing Flock

How to Introduce New Chickens to Your Existing Flock

I think we all get ‘that’ craving every time spring comes round-  introducing new chickens to our flock!?

In fact, with our first flock, it didn’t even take us this long. After the first weekend, we went and got another six pullets.

Before we knew it, we had twelve pullets in our coop staring back at us!

Fortunately, as the first six pullets were still establishing their pecking order, introducing six additional pullets was surprisingly easy, and it happened without too much squabbling.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and introducing new chickens to your existing flock can be a distressing and problematic time for both you and your chickens.

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  • Plug and Play Design - Takes 10 minutes to install the door
  • Up to 6 Months of Power with AA batteries - You don't need an outlet for the door to work, it functions on 4 AA batteries or a 6V battery (adapter included)
  • Protection Sensor - Built-in sensor when closing to detect when there is an obstruction under the door to prevent injury to chickens
  • Protects Chickens From Predators - Due to it's design, the notches the gear uses to open and close the door act as a self locking mechanism that prevents predators from breaking into the chicken coop. With this your chickens are protected and you can enjoy fresh eggs in the morning
  • Door Will Open if Hell Freezes Over, Rain or Shine - Our weatherproof design has been tested to work during rainy weather as well as extreme cold temperatures as cold as 5°F

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

Quarantine Before Introducing New Chickens

Adult chickens are much more likely to be carrying a disease or infection, whereas chicks from a hatchery SHOULD be disease-free. As a rule of thumb, we say if you are introducing chicks or pullets from a reputable dealer, this step isn’t required.

When introducing new chickens to your flock, the first step is quarantining the new chickens and ensuring they don’t have any infections or diseases.

When you get your new chickens home, make sure you have a separate coop (or a large crate) prepared for them. If you have a separate coop, you want to make sure they are protected in their coop while they are quarantined. One of the best ways to fortify your coop is an automatic chicken coop door.

From this separate coop, you can observe them to check they are fit and disease-free- the last thing you want to do is give your existing flock a disease from your new chickens.

The key things to look for are:

  • Signs of lice or mites.
  • Dull/shriveled comb.
  • Blocked nostrils/ fluid coming from their eyes.
  • Scaly legs.

If you are relatively new to raising chickens and are unsure what you are looking for, ask a more experienced friend to check your new chickens or failing that.

Head over to our Facebook page and ask us.

Whilst your new chickens are quarantined, it’s a good idea to supplement their water with minerals to make sure they are fully fit before they meet your existing flock.

If you notice they look slightly underweight, make sure to feed them well to get them strong and healthy before meeting your existing flock.

Quarantining should last anywhere from 7 to 31 days. The longer you quarantine your new chickens, the safer it is for the existing flock because you have more time to spot any illness/disease.

During this quarantine period, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands in-between visiting your new chickens and existing flock.

This will prevent any disease and infections from spreading between the two separate camps.

New Chickens to your flock

Introducing New Chickens Slowly

We can’t stress this next point enough- don’t rush introducing your new chickens. Even if your new chickens don’t need quarantining, don’t just place them straight in with your existing flock.

This will cause lots of unnecessary trouble and fighting.

You need a period of time where your existing flock can see the new chickens but can’t ‘touch’ them. The easiest way to achieve this is to place the new chickens in their own pen, placed next to the existing pen.

This way, your existing flock can get used to the new chickens without instantly squabbling.

Another popular method is to place a crate inside the existing pen and place your new chickens inside this crate. We’ve not used this technique as this is a more aggressive tactic.

Whichever method you decide to use, it’s important that your new chickens are visible for around a week but kept separate from your existing flock.

Give Your Chickens a Proper Introduction

After you have successfully quarantined and ‘visually introduced’ your new chickens, it’s time to physically introduce them to each other.

If your chickens are free-range, the best way to introduce them is to let the new chickens out first to free-range. Then, after a few minutes, open the existing coop up and let your existing flock join the new chickens to free-range.

If your chickens don’t free-range and are in a pen, then the same principle applies, place the new chickens in pen first. Then let your existing flock out to greet the new chickens.

When your existing flock ‘greet’ the new chickens, you will find there will be some scraps and jostling as they establish the new pecking order.

This is perfectly normal and is a necessary step when successfully introducing new chickens.

You should only stop this jostling if one of the chickens looks injured. Or it starts to bleed- you don’t want your chickens to experience any permanent injuries.

If you find that the jostling is getting more intense and lasts more than several minutes. Separate the new chickens and re-introduce them again tomorrow.

Please continue to do this once a day until they have settled down within a few minutes of introducing them.

You will find that each breed reacts to new chickens differently. Hybrids and Buff Orpington’s are normally very laid back and welcome newcomers.

However, you may find that Silkies or Rhode Island Reds can be very territorial and don’t take well to new chickens.

After the chickens have met and can stay outside together, it’s time for the final play. That’s moving the new chickens from their crate and into the existing coop.

You should find that after free-ranging for the day, the new chickens will follow the flock into the coop. And they will settle themselves in. However, if this doesn’t happen and they try to return to their old crate- let them.

Then, during the night, take the chickens out of their crate and place them into the existing coop.

How Long Will It Take Introducing New Chickens?

All of the steps above might seem time-consuming and unnecessary to some backyard chicken keepers out there.

However, it’s better not to rush these things in our experience and make sure due diligence is paid.

Quarantining: This shouldn’t last more than a month. This will give you plenty of time to effectively assess the new chickens and treat any illnesses which they may have.

Visual Introductions: A week here is plenty of time for the existing flock to get used to having the new chickens in their presence.

Physical Introductions: If you get lucky, you will only need to do this once, and they will be fine. However, if you have a more aggressive/territorial breed of chicken.

It might take 3-4 attempts to introduce them physically.

Settling In: After the chickens have been introduced, you need to keep a close eye on them the following week. Make sure they are all eating and drinking properly, and also keep an eye on egg production.

Sometimes when you introduced new chickens to the flock, they go off lay.

So in total, you are looking at around 5-6 weeks from getting your new chickens home to fully integrating them into your existing flock.

Special Circumstances When Introducing New Chickens

Introducing baby chicks to adults

If you let nature take its course and have a broody hen that hatches her own eggs, she will protect her own chicks.

However, if you buy an incubator and hatch your own chicks and try to introduce them into your existing flock, you’re going to have problems.

For the first 15-16 weeks, you need to separate the chicks and keep them in their own pen. It would be best to wait until the chicks have their feathers similar to the chickens in the existing flock.

Once they are a similar size, you can follow the process above without the quarantine stage.

Mixing Breeds

If you intend to introduce different breeds into your flock, this can also cause some unique issues- the main concern is the potential size difference.

Larger breeds will always be more dominant, so it isn’t fair to introduce a smaller breed (i.e., Silkies) to a larger breed (i.e., Jersey Giant) as the larger breed will bully the smaller breeds.

I know some backyard chicken keepers who have successfully integrated smaller and larger breeds into a flock, but it can be not easy.

New Chickens to your flock

Tips and Tricks to Introducing New Chickens to Your Flock

Relocate Both Flocks: If possible, when you introduce the new chickens, move the existing coop and pen to a new area, so the existing chickens and the new chickens are starting with a new piece of land.

Same Size Matters: Try only to introduce chickens that are a similar size to your existing flock.

Extend Before You Introduce: Ensure there is enough room in your existing coop and pen before introducing new chickens.

Isolate Aggressive Birds: If you notice one chicken, in particular, is overly aggressive to the newcomers, place the aggressive chicken in isolation for a few days to put her in check.

Distract With Treats: When you physically introduce the new chickens, make sure to have some treats ready to use as a distraction if needed.

Don’t Introduce Just One: Make sure you don’t introduce just one new chicken. Instead, introduce at least two new chickens, so the jostling/bullying from the existing pack is spread between them.

Patience is Key: Remember, chickens need to establish a pecking order amongst their flock. New members upset the already fragile balance that has been created and established by your current chickens. 

Step Back For A Moment And Observe: Sometimes, it can be hard to stand back and watch the drama, but as long as it isn’t turning extremely bloody or deadly, it’s ok to wait it out a bit. 

After you’ve introduced new chickens to a flock a few times, you will start to notice the typical pecking order behavior. And you will be able to see if the behavior is too aggressive. 

Roosters: Unfortunately, once roosters have reached maturity, it is unwise to introduce a new rooster to an established flock (with a rooster).

The fights that ensue will be bloody and exhausting for both roosters, and it may end in death. So unless you’ve kept your roos together since birth and give them plenty of hens, you cannot keep roosters together. 

Protect Yourself: Make sure that you are prepared to break up a chicken fight if things get a little out of hand during introductions.

Beaks and claws will be flying, and if you do need to intervene, protecting yourself with leather gloves and strong denim jeans will pay off if you must insert yourself. 

Have a Toolkit Handy: If you have to break up the brawl, have towels, boxes, and spare cages on hand to contain the rowdy flock members until things calm down.

Also, keeping a first aid kit with a blood stop in it nearby may come in handy if things get bloody.

Our Pick: All in One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Happy Coop Door - Weatherproof Automatic Chicken Coop Door Open/Close with Timer/Light Sensor, Predator Resistant Self-Locking Gears, Protection Sensor
  • Plug and Play Design - Takes 10 minutes to install the door
  • Up to 6 Months of Power with AA batteries - You don't need an outlet for the door to work, it functions on 4 AA batteries or a 6V battery (adapter included)
  • Protection Sensor - Built-in sensor when closing to detect when there is an obstruction under the door to prevent injury to chickens
  • Protects Chickens From Predators - Due to it's design, the notches the gear uses to open and close the door act as a self locking mechanism that prevents predators from breaking into the chicken coop. With this your chickens are protected and you can enjoy fresh eggs in the morning
  • Door Will Open if Hell Freezes Over, Rain or Shine - Our weatherproof design has been tested to work during rainy weather as well as extreme cold temperatures as cold as 5°F

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

Disclosure: We may earn affiliate commissions at no cost to you from the links on this page. This did not affect our assessment of products. Find full disclosure here.

How to Introduce New Chickens to Your Existing Flock

213 thoughts on “How to Introduce New Chickens to Your Existing Flock

  1. I introduced an 8 month old egg laying hen to my 6 chicken flock. She gets along very well with the other chickens, but she has not laid an egg for 5 days. Will she be OK? She is VERY sweet and I am worried about her. I have shown her the nesting box several time. Thank you Susan

    1. Hi Susan,
      Nothing to be too concerned about yet!
      Give her a week or two to settle in properly first 🙂

    2. We have an existing flock of 10 hens. Half we got 2 springs ago as pullets and the other half last spring also as pulleys. We had very little problem introducing the new chicks and they all get along pretty well and have an established pecking order but live in peace. Well, we went camping for the weekend and got a message from the person caring for our girls that there were 2 extra in the yard and a note simply saying “please take care of my hens, I can’t keep them anymore.” They are fully grown but we have no idea how old and are still trying to figure out exactly what breeds they are. Our older birds are not too happy and are bullying the smaller of the 2. We have the new birds in one of our coops right now but are unsure of what to do next. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    3. She should be fine. I’ve had this happen but check her vent to see if she has a prolapsed vent or if she’s egg bound. She’s probably just stressed and will snap back in a few days

      1. We have a small lot and therefore only keep 3 backyard hens at a time. We just had one hen pass away of old age, the other two (Wyandotte and Brahma) are both healthy and laying eggs. They are sweet and docile. We would like to add just one chick to the group to get back to 3. What’s the best way to do this?

        1. It is not advisable to just add one chicken you will need to add at least two there is plenty of infoirmation on line about this
          Kind regards
          Wendy

    4. I had a flock of 6, but am now down to 1 due to various reasons.
      We just purchased 5 chicks and plan to let them feather our, but aren’t sure how to introduce our single hen to 5 new birds when the time comes.
      Should we introduce just 1 at a time to her?

  2. I have 3 hens now about 8-9 weeks old. I just bought 2 more baby chicks, that are few days old.
    When should i introduce them to the other 3 ?

    1. Hi Frank,
      I would wait until the new chicks are 18-20 weeks than introduce them to the slightly older chicks!
      Claire

      1. Did you mean 18-20 weeks or days? Weeks seems a little long. I am trying to introduce my 4 9-week old young chickens to 2 adult chickens and I started 5-days ago. I let them spend an hour or two every day and they are doing pretty good so far, but now I’m afraid it might be too soon.

        1. Hi Rocio,
          I meant weeks. In my experience if you put them in whilst they are still young they won’t be able to defend themselves if bullied.
          Claire

          1. Seems like everyone is an expert when it comes to chickens. Stop being an idiot and know it all. Each chicken has their own personality. Its gonna be different everytime. I introduced my 6 week chicks to my 8 week hens, they’re all doing just fine.

          2. Noname theres always gotta be one person who is poison with negative comments and you have won that challenge. Theres no one being an ass except you ! Take your negative unhappy self else where . Just because your chickens are getting along so quickly doesn’t mean everyone else will . These comments are meant to help everyone not just you !

        2. Our neighbors dog killed one of our 13 hens, and they are planning an replacing her with one adult later. Our flick is free ranged, and we don’t have separate pens. I don’t know how to keep them apart and slowly introduce them. Any suggestions?

  3. Thank you for this post. I have four 5-week old pullets (3 EEs and 1 Silkie) that have been outside full time for about 10 days now. I also have three 3-week old chicks who are still in the house (1 of each: White Crested Polish, Barred Rock, & RIR). I am offering the little girls a bit of time outside in the run each day while the older girls are ranging, but they naturally cross paths from time to time and the white head of the WCP is very interesting for 1 EE and the Silkie to peck at. No injuries and doesn’t seem aggressive, just more bossy and curious. I’d like to move the littles outside in a couple of weeks. Any tips? Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi,
      Yes it will seem very interesting to them and the only way you can stop them is to try and get them use to the WCP. Just follow the advice in the article and gradually increase the amount of time they spend together- make sure to keep a close eye on them for the first few times and if they squabble too much break them up!
      Good luck,
      Claire

  4. Hi I have 5 weeks old RIR baby chickens (6 of them) today and last night I was asked to take this a week and half old Plymouth Rock baby chick who was saved from being born to splayed legs that my son nursed its legs back to strength it by added with rubber band and a straw like brace in between its legs, surprised that it bounced back and jumping around such a little feisty chook 3 days ago, I couldn’t say no to my son who begged me to take it home as his landlord wouldn’t let him having it at his apt backyard. How can I introduce it to my baby chickens, and when? It’s so tiny like 3/4 smaller size, but a fighter who loves to jump my hand and wanted my affection holding him or her dearly!! It even likes my son’s little dog that it wanted to play with the dog! Many thanks for any advice to get it together my other chicks.

    1. Hi Patricia,
      RIRs aren’t known for being aggressive so they might ‘take her under their wing’ straight away.
      If it was me though, I would wait until she is around 18-20 and the same size as the RIRs before introducing them 🙂
      Let me know how you get on,
      Claire

  5. We have 6 bantam 6 week old chick’s and just got 6 new week old araucana chicks. Will they be able to share a coop?
    If so, when should we introduce them?

    1. Hi William,
      Certainly, they will be able to share a coop. I would wait until the araucana’s get to a similar size as the bantams (should be a few weeks) and then introduce them using the steps outlined in this article 🙂
      Let us know how you get on,
      Claire

  6. We have 1 year old Red Star/ Sex Link hens and have 5 week old mix breed pullets who have a lot of there feathers and seem to be getting too large for their brooder so we want to move them out with the older chickens and dont have a coop for them. Once we tried setting one in the coop and the pecking order of the flock came in and pecked one of them and started bawking really loudly, what should I do?
    Thanks,
    Honore

    1. Hi Honore,
      I would gradually introduce them to each other.
      You can expect the occasional pecking at the start- just make sure no blood is drawn!
      Claire

  7. Hello Claire,
    I was wondering the breeds I have if will be good breeds to put together. The oldest ones are Amber-links pullets they are 2 months old. I have 3 Wyondotties are 6 weeks old (2 males & 1 hen). They are in different fenced in areas in the coop & outside runs.They see each other & the amber-links really do not like them. Last but not least I have 5 silkies , 3 Buff Orringtons & one swedish flower they are 4 weeks old & altogether. They are all good to each other, so far. Will these breeds mix well together when the time comes? With the silkies I will keep them in their own coop because they are the the little breed ones.
    Thank you so much,
    Cirsten

    1. Hi Cirsten,
      Yes you’re right with the silkies you will always need to keep them separated from the larger hens.
      In my experience Buff Orpingtons will mix with just about any breed and get on with them fine- the same with Wyandotte’s. However, you can always get one or two trouble makers regardless of the breed! You have got some very relaxed breeds so you should be fine, however you will just have to wait until you introduce them to each other to be absolutely certain.
      Make sure you do this gradually and follow the steps in the article to increase your chances of success Cirsten!
      Best of luck,
      Claire

  8. We have 3 older hens (4 years old), 1 Isa brown and 2 welsummers. We plan on introducing our 3 new pullets, 16 weeks old soon. We have had them since they were 7 weeks old. They are 1 Leghorn, 1 Rhode island red and 1 Australorp. Any tips.

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      I would follow this article and importantly, make sure they are a similar size before introducing them!
      Good luck,
      Claire

  9. We have two different flocks of chickens in side by side coops. One made of three 2 month old chickens and one with five 4 month old chickens. A dog killed two from the little flock and now there’s only one! The flocks free range everyday together and are used to each other. Do I keep the one separate or put her in with the others or get her new chicks? She will be so lonely.

    1. Hi Kim,
      It really depends how well they get on- if they are ‘use’ to each other then you can introduce her now. If they don’t get on well then I would wait until she is around 20 weeks then introduce her to the older flock…
      Claire

  10. We have 4 hens that are a year and a half old and 2 hen that are 8 months old. We raised all from chicks. We put the younger a ones out near the older ones about 4 months ago so they could get aquatinted with their runs next to each other. After about a month we started letting them mingle out in the yard about once a week. One of the young ones will run away from the older ones but the other one just lays down and let’s the older ones jump on her and peck her and just plain attack her, sometimes they gang up on her. She doesn’t run or try to fight back. Do you have any advice? We really want to get them all together and get rid of the temporary coop but we are afraid they will kill her.

    1. Hi,
      Unfortunately when introducing hens to each other they will ‘scrap’ to establish the pecking order. It shouldn’t happen continuously though just when they are introducing. If this bullying is constant then you are right to separate them.
      However if this bullying is only when they are introduced then they will settle down eventually.
      I would reintroduce them and ‘shoo’ the older birds away from the younger one a few times and you will likely find they all settle down!
      Let me know how you get on,
      Claire

      1. I just got a buff orp., black astra. And a white Jersey( we got talked into it atthe poultry farm and now are regretting it being she is already mich bigger at 11 weeks.
        They are all about the same age, we want to add 2 more pullets. Can i add them at this age with out it being to much of and issue? We only have the one coop/run.

  11. I have an existing flock of 8 chickens (4 buff orps, 1 unonown breed, 1 golden comet. 2 americaunas). I’m trying to introduce 4 new chicks (3 buffs and 1 cuckoo Moran) and it’s not going well. One americauna is the bully. The mostly attacks the Moran. I tried putting two buffs in at night but in the morning she attacks again- often the other birds follow her lead. They don’t free range often because of the neighbor’s dog. I have the new chicks sharing a rabbit cage but space is going to be an issue soon (they’re 9 weeks old). Can you elaborate on the idea of putting the bully in a time out? Can I put her in the rabbit cage and put the chicks in the coop all at one with the others? How long would you expect this to last? How would I re-introduce her back to the coop? I tried reasoning with her (while eating a chicken sandwich) but she won’t listen.

    1. Sorry to hear about your troubles Lynne!
      So the general idea is to remove the bully whilst the new hens settle into the existing flock. You can remove the bully and place them in a separate pen for a couple of days- if you don’t have a pen then a cage/large dog carrier will work.
      After a few days reintroduce the bully into the flock and they shouldn’t be anywhere near as aggressive.
      Let me know if you need anymore advise!
      Claire

  12. Hello
    I have one hen left in my original flock of 7. We’d like to add 6 or so Pullets to the coop.
    Will we still need to keep the new Pullets separate from our one existing hen?

    1. Hi Mandy,
      In this case I would go ahead and introduce the pullets to your original flock member straight away.
      Just make sure the pullets are clean and aren’t carrying any disease so your original flock member doesn’t catch anything!
      Claire

      1. We’ve just done this and introduced 3 pullets to our 1 existing Rhode Island Red. Your advice and tips have been fantastic thank you and made this a less stressful process. So happy to see the girls settling in.

  13. Hi,
    I bought 6 chicks in March to re-start my coop. The other flocks I have had in years past have fallen prey to neighbors dogs, coyotes..etc. They were sexed female chicks, but one turned out to be a rooster. After I had them for about 4-6 weeks, I noticed one of them was being bullied so much that she was not leaving the crouched position in the corner. She was weak and not eating or drinking. I pulled her out and after examining her, decided to keep her in a box in the kitchen. All of the chickens are now 16 weeks old. The one that was in my home is in a large dog cage on the back deck, and is doing fine, Although she is smaller than the others. I need to introduce her to the flock because I have a predator that has discovered she is there and has tried the last two nights to get to her. Should I just put the cage into the hen house and leave her for a few days..then introduce her after that?

    1. Hi Paula,
      I would suggest the ‘night’ introduction method- when the hens are roosting and asleep, go into the coop and place the hen onto the roosting bars with the rest of the flock.
      Then then following morning just let them out as your normally would and keep en eye on them.
      You should expect some commotion but certainly nothing to serious!
      Claire

  14. We recently added 3 new pullets to our existing flock of 3. Since their area is pretty large, we put a temporary fence down the middle and put my kids old fort/play house inside the “new girls’ area” with a nesting bar inside. They observed each other for nearly a week, so we took the fence down and let them officially meet. It has been a few days and gone very well. My concern is that the new girls retreat to the fort ever night instead of joining my old ladies in the real coop. Will they eventually go in when they are fully integrated or should I start putting them in there after dark to enforce that this is their home? Also, we have 2 1/2 acres (unfenced) and we free range the older ladies. When is okay for my young ladies to go out too without fear that they will disappear?

    1. Hi Heather,
      I’m so happy they have been introduced successfully and that everyone is getting along nicely!
      When you first get pullets/chicks they become attached to the first place that they roost which is why they keep going back to the fort. I would suggest for the next few nights encourage them to roost with your older flock by blocking access to the fort.
      After a few days when they become comfortable roosting with the older flock you can then remove the fort completely.
      Again, once your pullets are familiar roosting in the new coop (after a few weeks) they will be ok to free range- supervised at first then on their own!
      Claire

  15. I received 3 baby chicks and 2 turned out to be roosters. My sister just gave me 3 hens that she raised and are 2 weeks older than my birds. These hens do not like my roosters! I have them separated and every day let them ”meet” each other and it does not go good with them and the roosters. Will this behaivour stop as they get to know each other?

    1. Hi Denise,
      As they become more familiar with each other it will settle down, however with Roosters they will always seek to state their authority so some scuffles is inevitable I’m afraid,
      Claire

  16. Hi, a week ago I purchased three 7 week old Barnevelder hens. Yesterday I added 1 6 week old Salmon Faverolle and another 7 week old Faverolle. The Faverolles have grown up together and get on great but one is a fair bit smaller than the barnies. They are currently separated but in sight of each other. How long do you think it will take to fully integrated them aa there isn’t much of an age difference and they are all quite young?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Rhys,
      Once you are sure the other chicks aren’t carrying any infections/disease then I would integrate straight away 🙂
      Claire

  17. Thank you for this post. We have 1 brand new australorp pullet to introduce to our flock of 5 (mix of australorp, ISA brown and leghorn). We have a limit of 6 hens where we live so I cannot add any more. I have her separated in a “pen” within the free ranging area of the others. I let her out once or twice but she was badly bullied. I am happy to leave her where she is for a week while the others get used to her, but I’m worried she’ll get lonely. Should I keep her apart for the whole week, or keep trying to introduce her for short periods each day?
    Thanks,
    Kirsten

    1. Hi Kirsten,
      I think its best if you keep trying to reintroduce her each day- if possible introduce them to each other during a free range session so the australorp can run for cover at times if needed…
      Claire

      1. Thanks Claire, it’s working a treat and for such a young hen the australorp is pretty clever and stays near the others but always close to the coop (they free range all day), so she can duck in there as soon as it gets too much.
        Kirsten

  18. Hi I have 200 Cornish giants that are 5 weeks old with 4 bronze orlopp turkeys that are 8 weeks. They get along fine. I also have 20 mixed birds for laying. Only 3 roosters in the group. The 20 range from 10 weeks to 20 weeks and I tried to introduce today and there was nothing but fighting. The meat birds are growing too fast to keep separate for much longer. Will things calm down soon?

    1. Hi Greg,
      This is a lot of birds to introduce to each other so some fighting will be unavoidable. Have you tried gradually introducing them to each other using the neighbouring coops method?
      Claire

  19. hi, i have some silkie chickens, i bought then separately and while 2 smaller one have mixed the other 2 keep attacking the baby ones. what can i do to stop it.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Is sounds to me like there is a large age gap between the two chickens which you are introducing. I would wait until the silkies grow to become the same size as your existing flock and then introduce them again,
      Claire

      1. not sure of the age – maybe about 7 – 9 months old. the older 2 silkies have just started laying eggs but they fight each other in fact the blue silkie fights all hens but she wants to mix and the white silkie fights only the white baby silkie. the gold one the older white silkie gets on with.. i will separate the baby ones until they get older

  20. Hi, we introduced 2 15/16 week chickens to our existing of 4 24 week olds. The older were only with us one day when we introduced the new ones. It has bern one week and they are ok after a week free ranging and if the young ones are in the run and they are free ranging they don’t bother them. We had one real bully so we isolated her for one day, she seems calmer so far. However every now and again the fighting starts again and they will not seem to join up as a flock. I feel bad that the young ones are not having much of a life running scared and it’s really stressing me out. Will they all sort themselves out soon and flock together? Am I doing something wrong?

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      It sounds like you are doing the right thing and introducing them in a neutral free range environment.
      A few scuffles are unavoidable and given a few weeks they will settle down once the pecking order is established 🙂
      Claire

  21. Hi , I have 2 x frizzles and just bought 2 silkie point of lays home , will they ever be able to be put together ? I don’t want my little silkies attacked , should I keep them in seperate coop ?

    1. Hi Kate,
      Yes they will be able to live together 🙂
      Follow the steps outlined in the article and they will be fine!
      Claire

  22. Hello!
    I currently have 3 hens and one rooster (he is about 2 months younger than my hens), and my hens absolutely hate him. He is so sweet and not mean at all.
    I recently was asked to take someone’s 3 hens due to the family is moving and will be traveling for 2 days in a car and doesn’t want to stress them during the ride or them end up dying due to having to ride in a moving van (we are in Arizona).
    What is the best way to introduce my 3 to the new 3 (the new 3 are roughly 3 months older than my 3). I have one coop, and they all free roam in my yard throughout the day.
    Help, I am picking them up tomorrow – do I need to get another coop for the next 3?
    Thanks,

    1. Hi Kelly,
      You don’t need another coop, but you do need something they can roost in during the next week or two whilst you quarantine them.
      If you are certain they don’t have any flu/cold/mites then you can skip past quarantine and go to the integration!
      Follow the steps in the article and they will integrate fine 🙂
      Claire

  23. Hello! I have 13 chickens that are 12 weeks old. We are culling the roosters except one. So we will then have 1 barred rock roo and one hen, plus 3 easter egger hens. Today i got 15 sexed pullets. How and when would be the best way to integrate the new chicks with the 5 older birds? Thanks!

    1. Hi Orpmom,
      Once the younger pullets are at least 2/3 the size of the adult hens you can integrate them.
      Claire

      1. I have two hens that are about 1 year old and six babies that are about 8-10 weeks old. When should I introduce them

  24. Hi – I have 2 French Marans, Wyandotte, Pekin, seabright, dutch, Orpington Bantams and a Silkie who are all around 12 weeks now and were introduced together and grew up at the hatchery from around 4 weeks. One Pekin turned out to be a cock and I had to take him back as unfortunately neighbours would not allow. I have had them home for two weeks and all doing well. The hatchery have asked if I want a replacement for my Pekin and take two new ones of the same sort of age or two that are around 16 weeks advising that I should introduce at night by popping the new hen(s) in the coop and as they are still young I shouldn’t have problems, but I am not sure. Are slightly older birds ok/should I go for birds the same age and still section them off for a week as you advise? thank you

    1. Hi Karen,
      I would definitely not take older hens or larger hens- make sure they are the same size and age.
      Also, you can place them in the coop and night but the biggest problem is knowing if they new hens have any disease or not.
      If you know the breeder well and are certain they are healthy introduce them at night as discussed, however if not then I would recommend separating them for a few weeks.
      Good luck,
      Claire

  25. Hello, I have a flock of silkie chicks consisting of two pullets, five hens, and two young roosters (six months old)
    Two of our hens are currently on eggs that are due to hatch over the coming week. I’m really not sure how to integrated them. Any advice would be very much appreciated!
    Thank you in advance ☺

    1. Hi Stacey,
      If your hens are siting on eggs whilst still in the flock they don’t need integrating.
      Moma hen will take care of it 🙂
      Claire