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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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  • Increase Egg Production
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  • Healthy Feathers

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 Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Run Chicken

  • Works Rain or Shine so you don’t have to let them out in inclement weather.
  • Go ahead and get those extra hours of sleep or go on vacation, our door has you covered.
  • Protect your Chickens from Predators with our self-locking feature

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

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How to Introduce New Chickens to Your Existing Flock

216 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

    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!

      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.

          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,

  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,

  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,

  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?

    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!

  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,

    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,

  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,

  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…

  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,

      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!

  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!

      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!

  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!

  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,

  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?

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

  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?

    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…

      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.

  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?

  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,

      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 🙂

  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!

  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?

    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 🙂

  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.

      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,

  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 🙂

  26. Hi, I have 5 one year old chickens (3 RIR & 2 Ameraucanas). I also have 6 barred rocks and 2 Ameraucanas that are 19 weeks old that were in a side by side separated runs. All 13 were together today for 6 hours. The barred rocks picked on one Amercaucana and she was bleeding from her back. So I pulled her and put her in a dog crate. Within minutes, the BRs started picking on the other Ameraucana. So I took her out too. What should I do? Free range all 13 of them and put them all in at night?

    1. Yes I think you’re exactly right Claudia.
      I would free range them and then in the evening, when they are roosting, move the younger ones into the main coop 🙂

  27. I have a 5 year old Polish hen that lost her partner to a raccoon about a month ago. She is still laying eggs but needs a new friend. I have a friend who has a Barred Plymouth Rock who is 2 who is super sweet but dominating. The plymouth rock comes from a multiple chicken home and is dominating. What do you recommend for my 5 year old backyard city chicken who is meeting another city chicken that might be a little bigger and younger?

    1. Hi Esteban,
      I definitely think you’re doing the right thing bringing another hen in for your Polish.
      Follow the steps in the article and make sure you keep a close eye on them for the first few days.

  28. Hi I have 2 19 week old red star hens. I got 2 olive eggers 3 weeks ago. They have been quarantined for this time. Lately when the older 2 free range they have walk around the little ones cage. I have not seen any aggressive twads the little ones. My biggest concern is the oliver eggers are way smaller then the red stars. How much longer should wait to fully introduce them to the older ones.

    1. Hi Robin,
      When they are around 2/3 the size of the red stars I would introduce them 🙂

  29. Hi — I have a friend who is moving and looking to re-home a few chickens. He has a year-old araucana I will probably take off his hands.
    I actually have two mini-flocks. One is a year-old set of golden sex-link, black laced wyandotte, rhodebar, and cream legbar. The other is six younger pullets, about 16 weeks old right now: three buff orpintons, two rhodebar, and a plymouth rock. They have separate coops and runs right now (I intend to get one bigger coop and incorporate them next year). So my question is, which do you think would be the better flock to introduce the araucana, There is room in both their coops for a new girl. My inclination is to re-home with the younger, bigger flock. Do you think that makes sense?

    1. Hi Lisa,
      As the araucana is a year old they will likely be too big for your younger 16 week old pullets.
      Personally, I would introduce the araucana with the older flock.

    2. Hi
      I have 2 leghorns ,2 comets and 2 New Hampshire reds. They are all about a year old. We added 3 buff Orpingtons and an Australop about 6 months later. They usually get along. This spring we added 2 Sex link and a 2 americanas . One americana turned out to be a roo. A few weeks later we added 2 leghorns and 4 americuanas . Each time we added to our flock we had little ones in a chicken tractor right outside the 28′ square coop for a few weeks. The buff Orpingtons, the sexlinked and 1 Americana peck the roo’s head and neck until It bleeds. I take him out and and put him in the tractor for a few days until his head .is better. When he wants to come come out he rides around on my head or shoulder until he feels safe. The minute he hops down the Orpington and Americanas start pecking his head again! Right now I can let him roost in one hen house with the Americanas, the sexlinks , the two young leg horns and the Americuanas. Things are fine all night the older hens have a separate hen house in the same coop. In the morning as soon as I let them out the same hens go after his head. The tractor is to small to put the bullies in together so Roo ends up in the tractor alone each day. How can I safely let him out with the others during the day safely? He is the sweetest rooster but can not stay on my head all day!

      1. I would recommend rehoming any second roos. They get along for awhile, then there is fighting and one roo is out of the flock. Some people keep a roo pen with no hens around and they seem to get along as long as no hens to fight about.

  30. Hi – I have a 4 month old Buff Orpington and I’d like to get a second BO to join her.
    How long will she be happy alone while I’m looking for a similar aged BO? Can I put them together right after I bring the new BO home?

    1. Hi Shelley,
      I wouldn’t put them in together straight away. I would follow the stages outlined in this article and you will have no problem!

  31. Recently I received a 3 month RIR rooster and have beeen trying to get my three 4 month old black star sex link hens to accept him but the lead hen keeps him in the nesting box of the coop and will not leave him out only to eat and drink. I have seperated her from the flock but the others then take on the role of picking on him. He refuses to stand his ground to any of the hens. I even bathed him thinking the scent of his old flock was causing problems. So my question is what else can I do make the pecking order shift in his favor and will my rooster ever stand up for himself. I would hate to make him noodle soup since he is very kind and gentle.

    1. Hi Chris,
      It sounds to me like its just an age and size thing. Roosters don’t normally turn territorial until they reach maturity around at least 5 months old.
      Once he matures I expect he will have no problem adjusting the pecking order in his own favour!

  32. Hi, we have 4 Australorps that are about 14 weeks old. We are getting 2 Silkies in a few days who are 9 months old. We were planning to letting them all roam in the backyard before they go to sleep. I can close off part of the coop to keep them separate but visual to each other, but I only have one actual ‘house’ they sleep in. Will this cause big problems?
    Thanks for your advice!

    1. Hi Inez,
      Yes- you ideally need somewhere separate for the new girls to sleep.
      If you don’t I would try to introduce them earlier in the day to avoid any problems during roosting time!

  33. So since late june my dad had purchased three catalanas. This morning he got two dominiques and three of what i think are more catalanas,but i havent seen them because this morning my dad straight up put all the newcomers in and now the three we already had are bullying and wont let them come out from there hiding cause there hiding under a little dog house prop on some wood and if they come out the three chase and try to peck. Now i tried to go see if they would let them at least sleep in the house but theyre making them sleep in dirt so at this point we dont know what to do and how long it will take to get used to them cause right now they wont let them come out to eat or drink.So i was wondering if you could help .Thanks for your time.

  34. I have a 4 month old, very sweet and timid sussex hen that is the only one remaining after a bird dog took the rest of the flock. We are going to get a few more soon as she is already lonely and “lost” after just a couple days. Weird as it sounds, she is a snuggler. My daughter will walk around with her for hours in her arms. That being said, I am a little nervous on what age/breed to introduce. Regardless of the decision, I will certainly be cautious and take my time blending them. However, because she is so sweet and timid, I am wondering if adding chicks would be a better fit than established adults. Any thoughts on if age will matter or breed “STAY AWAY” suggestions? I know many of their personalities vary by genetic strains but any aggressive known breeds I want to fully avoid? I do not want to bring in new chickens and my existing sweetheart turns into the one to be bullied. . .

    1. Hi Autumn,
      The safest route is to introduce a younger smaller breed into the flock.
      Probably goes without saying but Gamecock are certainly to be avoided. Buff orpingtons however, are generally known for their great temperament!

  35. I have 2 Barred Plymouth Rock 2yos, and 1 5 month old EE. We have tried everything imaginable to introduce them gradually, but the poor EE just cowers in a corner for hours till we put her back in the small coop immediately beside the larger. The BR just terrorize her! Would it be better if I acquired another similar sized new chicken and tried to introduce them both at the same time, or will this only complicate things further?

    1. Hi Katherine,
      It is always better to introduce at least two chickens at a time yes- so it certainly wont hurt to get her a friend before you introduce them!

  36. Hi, I was thinking about adding to my flock of 3 chickens but I wasn’t sure if I should get the same number as my pre-existing flock (3) or would it be better to just get 2?
    Thanks 🙂

  37. Hi
    A week ago today I got my first hens from a local farmer – 3 Barred Rock, 1 RIR & one unknown (some kind of Sussex possibly). They were all kept in a large run together. I am hoping to go later and get 1 more RIR – would you see any issue with direct integration into the coop this evening? They have been free ranging all day in my garden.

    1. Hi Kerry,
      Providing they free range together during the day and have no infections then you can do this in a day yes!

  38. Hello, I have a friend with one sole survivor of a weasel attack. A five year old White Leghorn. I have a mixed flock of buffs, red sex link, australorps, wyandotes and an americauna. They are 6 months old. My friend has asked if I would take her chicken so that she can be in a flock again. I’m considering it, but would like some advise for adding a lone chicken.

    1. Hi Susan,
      I generally advice people not to introduce a single hen into the flock as they can be excessively bullied.
      However, if your flock is good natured and you don’t have any particularly nasty flock bullies then it is possible…

  39. I bought eight white leghorn chicks back in june. four of them got sick and I had to separate them. They are doing very well now but have been separated for awhile and I want them back with original flock. Can I just put them back in or do I have to follow the process as if they were new chickens? Thank you.

  40. I have two RIRs and two barred rocks. We’ve been trying to integrate two Americaunas and a Buff Orpington into the flock. They are all approximately the same age. We are finally to the point that they are roosting together but the original four pretty much body block they other three from coming out of the coop into the run and prevent them from eating and drinking properly. I’ve resorted to supervised meals where I stand in the run and make sure the new birds get a good amount of food and water before leaving. The bullying is done by all of my original hens. It’s been about two weeks since the flocks have been living together. I’m just wondering if there is an end in sight. Pretty much all of the chickens have stopped laying consistently.

    1. Hi Elaine,
      Sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve been having!
      Have you tried to technique mentioned in the article- to separate the most troublesome bully?

      1. The barred rocks are both big bullies. I’ve separated them and one RIR and let the other flock with the others. So far the one with the three new hens are doing ok. How far apart should I space each new reintroduction? I was thinking three days.

  41. I have four 7 month old Isa browns hens. They have a 8ft x 16 ft coup/pen and also spend time most days wondering around a very large yard. I was considering getting a few chicks. I was going to crate them within the large coup with lamp. At what point could I start including them with my other girls? I haven’t notice any pecking order and they just lay eggs and never look back so I cant fake hatching.

    1. Hi Patricia,
      If you don’t have a broody hen you will need to raise the chicks yourself and then introduce them to your flock when they have grown up- around 15-16 weeks 🙂

  42. Hi, I have a bit of a dilemma.
    Yesterday our leader Hen died after she got out and the dog got to her.
    So we got two new hens straight away.
    However, one in particular, is really really small. Maybe 6 to 8 weeks old, our hens are probably triple that age, they’ve only just started laying.
    Whilst they do go after both new hens, the 7 original hens mostly go around bashing the younger one.
    We kept them separate for a few hours yesterday by keeping the original flock in the run and the two new ones in the pen, then we put them all together for bed time but this morning they’re still going after this little hen.
    What should I do?

    1. Hi Courtney,
      I would keep a very close eye on her- is she getting access to food and water?
      If they continue to bully her then she needs separating until she grows in size- then you can reintroduce her (ideally not on her own)…

  43. Hi, There’s a single hen that showed up 2-3 weeks ago at a friend’s house. She wants it gone. It’s banded. I’m going to her house tomorrow morning to try to catch her and find her owner. If I can’t find them, I have a flock of 3 hens that are 2.5yrs old. I know I shouldn’t introduce just one. What can I do? Was told by a chicken owner at a flock swap to just put new chickens in the coop on the roost at night and that the chickens would wake up in the morning and be like: “okay.” We didn’t discuss just one hen and I haven’t read this anywhere. Need advise.

    1. Hi Janet,
      Whilst it isn’t ideal to introduce a single hen you CAN.
      You’re also right, the best way to introduce a single hen is by placing her on the roost with your flock at night time.

  44. I have 6 – 16 week chickens in a coop at night and free range during the day. I also have 3 – 8 week old chicks that I put in the coop protected by a cage to start the introductions. The older chickens saw the new ones for a week. I just recently took the barrier away. The younger chicks only come out of their “house” after the older chicks go out for the day. A couple of the older chicks will chase them back into the smaller house if they see them. How long will it take if ever if the older chicks will let the younger ones into the flock?

    1. Hi Leslie,
      They will be better integrated into the flock once they have grown in size and are a similar size to the existing flock.
      So I imagine another couple of months yet,

  45. Hello! We have a Belgium d’anver (we think??) who was re-homed to our neighbor, but his flock wouldn’t accept her so she came to us. She is the only bird in our tiny coop (3 bird max if not free ranging). We also have three 4 week old Wyandotte chicks. The chicks have been housed in the house, while the bantam hen is outside in the coop. That said, it’s been cold here so Lucky has been coming inside in the evenings, and we have let her “free range” in our large master bathroom with the chicks several times. She mostly stays away from them, runs to us as if she is afraid actually. But when the chicks get close she does make some noise and pecks a little. Nothing terrible. The chicks are roughly half her size, maybe a little bigger. When and how should we integrate them? We will be adding 3 chicks to s flock of 1 hen! I should mention that the largest chick is quite dominant of the 2 other chicks, I’m almost more worried about lucky with this one chick (we strongly suspect she is actually a roo). I assume we should introduce them in the next couple of weeks as the chicks are quickly reaching the size of lucky since she’s a bantam breed. So what do I do?! Thank you in advance!!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I would recommend introducing them when they are a similar size. As you single hen is a bantam I expect this will be very soon 🙂

  46. I have just got 2 buff sussex and currently already have 2 silkies there’s a huge size difference, do you think this could work?

    1. Yes it can work.
      Just make sure to introduce the buff’s before they get bigger than the silkies 🙂

  47. Our friends had 12 hens that were attacked by coyotes. Only one Cochin survived. She’s very sweet and shy; about 1 year old. We have 4 mo old pullets including 1 Rhode Island Red. We agreed to temporarily house the new chicken since it doesn’t have a safe home. We put her with the new flock at night in the coop. Unfortunately this morning I witnessed the Rhode Island Red and the Americana being overly aggressive and pecking at the new Cochin. I separated them for now. What a challenge!!
    Any suggestions?

  48. Hello!
    I live on a fairly busy street, yet somehow I ended up with a chicken visitor, who long story short, is here with me most of the time now 🙂 I LOVE HER! I’ve never had chickens before. But I’m giving her pellets and scratch & worms, etc. We’re buds! haha. I really want to catch her, and put her in the coop / pen I bought a couple months ago. I keep going back & forth about catching her, because I don’t want to mess her up in any way, since she’s used to being a roamer.. but I want her to be safe! And there are raccoons and who knows what else around here. From what I’ve seen, she sleeps up in a tree.
    Does anyone have any advice or input for me? Please? 🙂 Thank you!

  49. Hello!
    We got 5 chickens from a friend 3 weeks ago (1 is a Buff O and about 2, 1 Buff O and a Rhode Island Red are are 1.5 and 2 Rhode Island Reds are 6 months) they are all fine together.
    Two weeks ago we got 5 silver wyandotte, the are currently 6 weeks old. Last week we got 4 Easter Eggers and 3 Buff Os that are currently 1.5 weeks old. We have the older girls outside in a coop and they have a 40’x40′ area they range in during the day. We have them in 2 separate crates right not.
    Can we combine the younger chicks? Should we keep all the ages separate and introduce them to the older girls in 2 different stages?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda,
      I wouldn’t recommend introducing the chicks until they are the a similar size (so they can protect themselves).
      So yes, introduce them at 2 different stages 🙂

  50. Hi Claire, I have two two year old light sussex,and need to introduce four puletts, two australorps and two barred rocks. Puletts are fifteen weeks and have had two weeks in safe zo e in run.The older hens will sometimes still charge at the wire when they see them.I am reluctant to let them free range together as puletts are too flighty and could go over the fence. Do you think I should try the once a week visits with big girls or wait a bit longer till hens stop threatening them. Feeling quite apprehensive.

    1. Hi Sonia,
      The occasionally charge isn’t uncommon. I personally would try to integrate them and keep a close eye on it. If the older hens get too dominant then separate them and place the pullets back into the safe zone!

  51. ,pleased to report I put them in together as you suggested, apart from a bit of biff and peck no harm done. Many thanks Claire.

  52. Ive had a 2 yr old RIR rooster and hen, I recently bought 2 baby Americaunas, the hen is constantly attacking them and the chicks wont go up inside the cope at night. What can i do? They are free range chickens.

    1. Hi Julianne,
      I would wait until the chicks are at least 15-16 weeks until you introduce them…

  53. Hi Claire, just wondering if You need to isolate a sick chicken for say a week or more, would you need to start again to re introduce them back into the flock, or would other chickens just accept them back ok ?

  54. Hi Claire,
    I got 2 Golden Comets in 2014, 2 more in 2015 and to this day one of the ’14 girls still chases off one of the ’15 girls. Now we’ve taken in 2 Cream Legbars, one is about a year and the other 5 months. But after reading your article I am concerned because of the size difference and the fact that one of my Comets is a bit of a bully. My chickens free range and right now the Legbars are staying in the coop/run and the Comets are free ranging and roosting under the deck in the fenced yard. I very concerned about the two breeds mixing and not sure what to do about it at this point. I did try introducing the “bully” to the new girls today in the run today and she was very mean and I removed her from the run. The new girls are still isolated in the coop/run, I want to let them out to free range soon but I think that would just be setting them up to be attacked. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Follow the steps in this article and take it slowly 🙂 They should be fine- it might just take a few goes,

  55. Great article, thank you!
    So you’ve said not to introduce just one but we’ve done just that. We have 3 rescue ex-battery hens and just took on an extra chicken after her flock were killed.
    They are all roughly the same size and age and have the whole garden to roam around so no issue with space. We’ve introduced them over a week with separate runs and they are now all together although new girl still has her own hutch to sleep in (her choice). While there is some squabbling, there is no actual contact so nobody is getting injured – however, new girl has started pulling her feathers out. She’s also off the lay but she hadn’t laid in the week prior to us taking her either.
    Is this she stressed? Could it be partly seasonal (Autumn here in NZ)? Not sure what to do to help her 🙁
    Any tips would be great. Many thanks!

  56. I know the article says not to only introduce one chicken but we only have one new chicken as the law where I live is 6 chickens. I have a flock of 5 (three RIRs and 2 Buff Orphingtons) and I want to introduce one new buff Orphington. I originally had 2 new chicks but one didn’t make it. Is there a good way to introduce just one new chicken once she is big enough?

    1. Hi Kyleigh,
      You can add one hen at a time but it isn’t recommend becuase of bullying. However in your situation it’s certainly worth adding her to your flock. I would be extra cautious and make sure they are free ranging when you do introduce them.

  57. We were down to two chickens at the end of last year and bought chicks this year (live in the suburbs). The 4 chicks are 8 weeks old and we tried to introduce them to the 2 hens by trying some of the techniques in these blogs…put all 6 into a brand new larger coop, at night, with extra food & waterers, flock block, logs, a swing, etc. However, after 1.5 days I’ve had to separate the larger two and tonight plan to set them up in the old, smaller coop so that the runs are next to each other. They drew blood twice on one of the chicks, and the second time it looked worse than the first. I’m not willing to lose a chick over this, so unfortunately I’ll have to do a little more work for awhile. This probably will be better for a couple of weeks and I’ll try again then. The older hens will at least be outnumbered next time i put them into the “chick’s” coop.

    1. Hi Kate,
      The problem is the chicks are still too young to be introduced. At 8 weeks old they can’t properly defend themselves so the older hens will bully them.
      You need to wait until the chicks are big enough to protect themselves- probably somewhere around 16 weeks.

  58. Hi Claire,
    I raised 5 chicks from the time they were 1 day old. At 12 weeks old, my ameraucana started crowing, so I rehome him. The following day, by barred rock also started crowing, so this morning we delivered him to a sanctuary. I plan on getting 2 pulletss of similar age, and introduce them will make things easier, if I get the same breed, I.e. A barred rock and a ameraucana?

    1. Hi Bianca,
      It should make it easier yes, but the biggest factor is the individual hen’s temperament. If she is a bully she will cause trouble regardless of the breed. If possible observe the hens you are buying in their own flock before you buy them and see how they interact with other flock members.

  59. Hello, we had just 2 chicks, one died of old age this week (right in front of the other). We have introduced two new young birds now, and at first they were absolutely fine. However as the days have gone in, the old bird paces unless we talk to her, and the younger ones only ever come out of the house when the older bird goes to lay. And vice versa. Any tips? There is no violence and theyre in a house with a run. (Lots of foxes round here)

  60. I have three golden sex links, three auracna’s, two Rhode Island Red and two silver Wyandot’s that are about two years old. I have two Colombian wyandot’s and two black Orpington’s that are about six weeks old now. I have a coop with a run that is about 6 x 12 with an addition that is 12×14. Is okay to put the new girls in the addition run for a week or so and then. Introduce them? That free range on the weekends.

    1. Hi Daren,
      As previously mentioned I would not introduce them until they are a similar size to your existing flock. This will likely be another 10 weeks yet.

  61. Hi, I have 4 chickens, 2 White Leghorns and 2 light sussex, i found a lost hen in the woods near my house, she was in a poor state and very hungry, she is now fine and after about 2 weeks is now OK with the existing flock, she now sleeps on a tree branch at night and will not enter the coop, any tips on how i can get her to go into the coop. Thanks.

    1. Hi Robert,
      Once she goes to roost on a tree branch you can simply pick her up and place her inside the coop. After a few goes at moving her she will get the idea!

      1. Claire, Thank you so much for this, i will try this tomorrow night with her, we need to get her in the coop before the weather turns and this advice is perfect. Thank you……..Robert.

  62. Hello
    I have 1bantum left out of an original flock of 3 – we kept them in an original Omlet Eglu.
    I am now considering buying the Omlet Cube and have 6 further bantums.
    My existing bantum was ‘top dog’ in the old flock.
    Should I just put her in the new Cube with the new flock or should I keep her separate for a while and introduce her to them free range in the garden after the new flock have settled in?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      If the 6 bantams are all new to each other, then I would also include the existing bantams when you introduce them all to each other. However if the 6 bantams are already in a flock together then introduce the existing bantam during free range.

  63. Hello, I had to remove on of my chickens from the flock due to an injury. She is now healed and I’m trying to reintroduce her to the flock. She is very scared and the other chickens are pecking at her and chasing her. What should I do?

  64. Hello.
    Thanks for all your advice! We have two 1-year-old hens at home, and this past week got 2 new 10-week-old reds. They’ve been separated in two coops nearby so far, with some pecking through the chicken wire from the older ladies. My question is about their food — I think we’re ready to put them into the same coop, but they’re currently on two different types of food until the reds start laying — what do we do about that?

    1. Hi Nicole,
      You can buy mixed flock feed for them. If you read our article on feeding chickens we discuss it in there 🙂

  65. Hi- I have one 10 week old Bresse chicken. I was supposed to get two from a friend, but the other one escaped before I could collect them.
    I want her to have another chicken as company and wondered if I could buy a POL chicken (similar sized) in a couple of weeks time and introduce it into the coop? Would it be okay to buy just one, or would you recommend a pair to add?

    1. Hi Priya,
      It sounds to me like you have one hen and are introducing another, is this correct?
      If so then yes you can just introduce her on her own.

  66. Hi,
    I have one 4-year old Rhode Island hen from my old flock left, and two Rhode Island chicks who are three weeks old. You have written how important size is. Do I have to wait until the chicks are as big as “Big Daisy” my 4 year old? And should I follow the process you describe above? Thanks you!

  67. Hello,
    We got 4 baby chicks in April (hatched first week do April, all different breeds). Our baby New Hampshire Red became acutely lame and stopped walking altogether. We brought her in the house and she is now walking but markedly slower than the rest. We take her outside daily and she loves to scratch and explore. Has always loved to eat, drink, very sweet with us and our dog. We have tried introducing her to her “siblings” but she cannot really defend herself due to her disability. Any advice on transitioning our sweet special needs girl outdoors with her sisters? The rest are a Buff Orpington (almost 1.5yrs) and her sisters (5mo like her; Lakenvelder, White Leghorn, BlackLace Wyandotte). Thank you!!!

  68. Hi, I had an existing flock of 13 hens 1-2 years old a mixture of Easter eggers, golden Polish, and speckled Sussex. I was getting on an average of 5-10 eggs per day and I just rescued 13 from a friend of mine. They were between 1-4 years old and a mixture of speckled Cochins, Banty’s of various sizes and 2 Buff Orpingtons. I didn’t know any better, so I just put them all in together. I have 2 horse stalls with dowels for roosts but mainly one coop with the water and food. They get cracked corn in the morning and have available Premium layer pellets 24-7. It’s been 5 weeks and maybe 1-2 eggs per day, and it’s only from one hen, but I don’t know which one. Is there anything I can do to get them to lay?

  69. I have 1 12-week old Bresse chicken and would like to add, ideally 2 more chickens to keep her company!
    Any particular breeds you think would work best? And do you think it best to get 2 of the same breed to add, or 3 different ones- so that none are the same??

  70. Hi
    I have just introduced 1 chicken to our small flock of 3. They are highlanders.
    The new chicken has been hiding behind a bush all day and night and the other 3 are making a hell of a noise.
    (Normally you wouldn’t know we had any chickens) the new chicken seem quite scared of us too. She is eating today I have put out a separate food bowl for her.
    She is a bit smaller and younger I think. She’s 12 months and the others are 15 months. I’m concerned they won’t get on ever?? What can I do to help them please?

    1. Hi Beth,
      As they go to roost inside the coop at night, try picking up the new chicken and placing her on a roost next to the existing hens 🙂

  71. I’m completely new to chickens! I’ve had 4 Easter Eggers for only a week and then I introduced two black Asians after keeping them in a side by side cage for a day. It’s been three days and 2 of the Easter Eggers are being so mean to the new additions. They don’t even want to come out of the coop during the day. And the pecking continues even on the roosts. Any suggestions.

  72. Hi, Claire!
    We just have a two-chicken city permit. One of our dears died. Helena needs a new partner. Since it’s just one chicken (7 months old buff Orpington), is the timeline for introducing one other chicken the same?
    Thanks for your advice,

  73. Hi,
    We have a flock of five three-month-old birds, but it will be four, as our roo needs to be rehomed. We have one Wyandotte and three Silkies. We will be adding two eight-month-old Cochin sisters in a few days.
    Is there anything I need to do differently, as the established flock is younger and smaller? Thank you!

  74. Hi,
    I have one 2 year old light Sussex and recently got another 5 month old light Sussex. I have been keeping them apart but they can see each other and I give them short amount of time together and then let them sleep together at night separating them again during the day. There is a little bit of pecking but not too much. I would like to add another girl, would I then put the 2 newbies in together and continue on as I have been or will they then try to establish a pecking order. Not quite sure what to do or should I just wait till these 2 are sorted then get 2 new girls??

    1. Each introduction will most likely cause pecking order to begin, if they were mine I would put them all together and let the pecking order take place once.

  75. Hi Claire,
    I have 7 Leghorns that are 2 years old. I got 8 chicks on February 20, 2019 (3 Easter Eggers, 3 Speckled Sussex and 2 Blue Americanna). The chicks all get along very well and have been together from the start. I have one coop attached to a 20×30 foot fenced in area. When could I introduce the leghorns to the chick and are there any concerns I should be aware of? Thank you for your advice.

    1. I have had success as early as 4 to 5 weeks but at that age I use the cage method. Leave then in a cage in the run area for several days until your older hens are used to their presence.

  76. Hi there! I have 2 Wyandotte girls that are a year old. I got 5 more pullets (Brahmas) that are now 3-4 months old and almost as big as the older girls. They’re free rangers and the older girls go into their coop every night. The younger flock won’t bc they’re too scared of the oldies. I want them to all get along and go into the coop at night but the oldies just want to beat up the younger girls. Advice?

    1. We just went through this (and go through this every season). What has proven to work best for us, for this specific situation, is make sure the coop has a little bit more room. Is this possible in your circumstance? At around 1-2 months we would sometimes cage the young ones and put them inside the coop, the older ones could not peck and start getting used to the idea. This has always worked as well.

  77. I have six buff orpington hens that are just a year old. Back on March 25th I bought 4 “supposed” pullets (Black Copper Marans)from a Farm Supply Store. As luck would have it three of the” pullets turned out to be roos and one is an actual pullet. They’re now about 8 weeks old. I’ve slowly been letting them in the run first and then letting the hens out and do bring the little ones back into the house at night to give everyone a “break” including myself. The first three days were kind of rough but I was there supervising. It’s now been a little over a week. Brought the young ones out early in the morning and then let the hens out and the first thing my one buff orpington( Queenie) goes and chases one of the chicks and grabs a feather and eats it. Now I used to raise parrots and the thing about birds is that they’re not like dogs… they do things to please themselves …not the owner. So, when one of my parrots acted out I didn’t scold them because negative attention is better than no attention at all which emphasizes and aggravates the “bad” behavior that needs to changed . So, I would take the parrot and put him in his cage and cover the cage up. My nickname for this was “birdie time out”! And it worked. So when Queenie grabbed the feather of one of my little ones, I put her in “birdie timeout”. I put her in the brooder box that I carried the little ones in and took her up to the house (so she couldn’t perform in front of the others) and just lightly covered up the box and let her sit there for 30 minutes. This seems to have improved the situation. Queenie ignores my French copper Marans but she’s not picking on them now. I plan to introduce them into the coop permanently as the Final Phase shortly. Wish me luck!

  78. Hello! I wish I had found this earlier, but here we are. 🙂 I have a small backyard coop and got 2 young chickens, orpington and wyandotte. They were in the same group in the store and got along well, but the orp was clearly a little older and the boss. We are allowed up to 4 birds and had the change to get a much larger coop, so we decided to add two more girls. At this time, they were about 9-11 weeks old, and we found 2 10 week old girls, another wyandotte and and easter egg. We were told to move all 4 to the new coop at the same time, so when we got home with the new ones, we let them all out in the run together. At first it was all actually really calm, but then the new wyandotte started picking on the 9 week original wyandotte, and when our 11 week orpington saw that, she ran over and protected her friend. Other than that, they all were OK. They went up into the coop together and slept, the easter egg and the smaller wyandotte actually nestled in the same nesting box. This morning, the two original birds, the 9 week and the 11 week were out in the run and the two 10 week birds were in the coop. The food and water is in the run, so whenever the 10 weekers tried to go get food or water in the run, our 11 weeker chases them up to the coop again. This is just the first day after introducing them. Should we just wait it out at this point and let them figure things out.. or do something to give the two 10 week birds access to food and water? Thanks!

  79. I have 3 three year old leghorns, 1 is an aggressive rooster, & Im trying to introduce two 6 week old chicks, 1black jersey giant & 1 light Brahma, we kept them separated in the same cage for 2 weeks. We put them together & all the girls seem to get along fine, but the rooster did not like them & kept attacking them. What’s the he best way to keep the rooster from attacking these 2 chicks while introducing? I know there’s is going to be some be some fighting to establish a pecking order, but he is going after them hard.

  80. Hi there,
    I’ve got three 16 week old Pekins and I’ve now got two 7 week old silkies, they’ve been apart in different runs for a week and I’ve let them all out to free range together in the day, the leader of the Pekins chased the silkies initially but now isn’t bothered at all by them but the other two Pekins have started chasing and pecking, should I continue to free range in the day and keep them separate at night or should I place the two silkies in at night with the Pekins? Any advice would be greatly received

  81. Our neighbors dog killed one of our 13 hens, and they are planning an replacing her with one adult layer. Our flock 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?

    1. The article details how to properly introduce them, try out one of these options and let us know how it goes.

  82. Hello – we have 5 chickens in our current flock that are 2 years old and have 5 little’s that are 4 months old, we built a run/coop when they were 2 months inside our current run/coop to slowly introduce the little’s to the current flock. They have been together for over a month now but at night the current flock will not let the little’s in the house part of coop where they roost at bed time. The little’s go to there coop that we made them only for transition. How should I make them roost with the current flock, they push them away as they try to go up the ramp to the house at duck. We tried to lock them all in the current flock coop but when it gets dark the little’s get ancy and start flying around, I do not want them to get hurt. Advise please 🙂 U think we accommodated them to much not created a bad habit….

    1. You will need to introduce them by hand in the evening after the adult chickens are roosted introduce the young ones into the coop. They will eventually settle and be accepted. I have done this many times.

  83. I have a slightly unusual situation. I made the terrible mistake of forgetting to shut the coop one night and a fox got 3 of my 4 easter egg hens. I would now like to add two or 3 hens (similar age but different breed) to my one remaining hen. How do I introduce multiple birds to a flock of one. I have a wire crate that I can sit by my coop, but it is to small to house three birds for an extended time. Given the fox trouble, I have greatly reduced my free range time.

    1. Start with first acclimating one to the remaining hen. Then introduce the next. Or if the two already do well together, you could ease in the one hen to the flock of the new two. It really is just trial and error. If one gets fiesty you separate them for a few days and this could shake up the pecking order and you would be able to try again. Keep in mind the pecking order is a normal and natural process.

  84. hi i have 5 1 year old hens one of them is a month younger who i think is a small Australorp. she was with a naked neck slikie before, but the older girls killed the naked neck in the winter. i have a different space to the bully hens in but my mom keeps putting her back into the run, the stop pecking spray isn’t working, pls help! the 4 older girls are 1 brown leghorn, 2 silver laced wyandottes, and the main bully my ameraucana, and thx!

    1. The smoother the introduction the less chance of there being bullying but sometimes you can’t avoid it. It is apart of the pecking order. It is normal but commonly bothers many people, if you have tried all your options, separating them for good is the only full proof plan. Here are some articles that may help.
      On chicken bullying: https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/chicken-bullying/
      On the pecking order: https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/the-pecking-order/

  85. I’m just wondering when and how can I introduce my two 1 week old chicks (gold laced Wyandotte and Easter Egger) to my 6 week olds?

  86. Raccoons got all but one of my chickens about 6 months ago. At first the lone chicken was miserable stayed in a laying box even when her coup door was open. In the last four months she has begun to lay again and spends her days free-ranging and following me around. I Got 16 Baby chicks They are in a separate pen that has a door to the main coup and pen. They are 8 weeks old and I plan to introduce them at 18 weeks when they are old enough for lay pellets. There is one rooster in my flock and I am worried about introducing my single chicken to the new flock. Do you have any tips?

  87. I have a lone Roo and I’m planning on bringing in 3, 1yr old hens. Recent predation problems took his last hen. After being alone, he needs some new ladies. Can I introduce them without separating them, since its 3 nice hens that grew up together, coming in to be with 1 rooster?

  88. I have 2 4 month old pulleyts and 1 4 month old cockere (2 silkies and 1 sultan)l. I also have 5 1 year old chickens (3 silkies, one is a rooster, 1 silkie Cochin cross, and one Wyandotte), I tried to introduce them but the sultan is getting so beat up. She’s smaller and very shy and refuses to fight back. What should I do

  89. Hello, I have 3 buffs that are about 16 weeks old (the oldest just stared laying) that all came together as pullets. They seem to have no pecking order at all. I just bought a barred rock today that is much smaller that my buffs and I didn’t know anything about proper introduction methods so I just put the barred rock in there and let them mingle. The buffs were scared of the barred rock and would run from her so when I was dusk (7:00) I put the barred rock in the coop where the buffs already were in there and stood to watch for a couple minutes and they were quiet right away. I just checked on them and they are all sleeping (12:00). Did I get lucky or are they gonna bully the barred rock tomorrow?

  90. Hello, I currently have 3 laying hen. 2 Orphington and 1 Barred Rock all a year old. I just bought 4 new baby chicks. 3 Americauna and 1 Welsummer. Chicks are of course in a brooder now. I have a large coop already, do I need another or will simply waiting until chicks are grown and introducing slow work? I’m planning on putting an old small coop with it’s own yard in the existing yard so they can be together but separate. Is that good enough?

  91. I have 6 pullets, about 8-10 weeks old, that I just introduced to their outdoor chicken coop. Since they won’t be ready to lay until late fall, I was hoping to get a hen that was already laying. My concern is that the new hen will attack the chicks, so I’m very hesitant in doing this. Is there an issue with doing this or will the hen assume top spot without hurting the pullets?

  92. I have a simlar question to Eric…. i have 8 week old pullets, but want to also get a few Older hens who already lay…. im planning to keep the numbers Of older hens small – maybe only 2 to the six 8 week olds chicks.

  93. I have 2 hens and 1 rooster, all 10 months old. I have 4 week old chicks that I’ve introduced 3 times, in a crate inside the run. I’m nervous on introducing them.. I let my old 3 out to free range the other day for the first time (no chicks present) and once he was out the rooster came after me and chased me. He clapped his wings any time I was too close. I was so surprised! He usually avoids me. Is this springtime hormones or will this be an issue? Any suggestions how to introduce them? I also have 5 more chicks being shipped to me so I’m nervous about introducing them when it’s time.

  94. I have 2 white crested black polish bantam chickens who are about 4 years old. We used to have 4 but the other 2 passed away. my chickens are rather aggressive towards each other. we are looking into getting 2 Golden Laced Wyandotte’s but I am not sure how we should do this.

  95. We are starting our flock shortly but 3 of the 6 birds will not be ready for 2-3 weeks after the initial birds. They will be 9 weeks old for the first 3 and the 2nd batch will be around 7 weeks old. Do you think the introduction process will still be necessary?

  96. I have a flock of seven hens. Four are light brahmas and probably around a year old and I got them last summer and three are an orpington and two saphire gems maybe three or four years old. They all free range, but we also have a fenced in area outside of their coop that has a gate leading to our yard. I want to get four pullets this week and was wondering how I should let the older chickens out and allow for the new chickens to get exercise?

  97. We have 4 new hens that are 3 months old, they are still half the size of our adult hens. I am worried about the rooster mating with such young birds.
    Luckily he is a silky, so doesn’t have a lot of bulk to him! But all the established hens are large breeds. Do you have advice for mixing young hens with established roosters?

  98. I have a new flock of 8 pullets at 15 weeks old. We have them outside in a 2 stage enclosure separated from our 8-3 year old flock. They have been out there for 2 weeks. I’m planning on letting them free range together in the coming days and then moving forward with removing the door between them. Wish me luck. My question is about the food? The pullets have been on the grower crumbles. My layers eat the pellets. Can they all eat the same food now? If not how would I accomplish separate feeding in an open enclosure? Thank you.

  99. I just recently got 5 laying hens from a friend & a rooster from someone else. About a week later I got 3 laying hens from a Hutterite colony. Those hens won’t roost & were almost naked. The rooster did not accept them so I separated them by a wire fence in the same coop, hoping to integrate them later. It’s been a month & he still chases them away from ‘his flock’ & is nasty about it. What can I do?

  100. Hi!
    I have 4 RIR that are currently about 8 weeks old and are already happily living in the coop and run.
    However, we decided we wanted more hens, so now have 10 Leghorns that are currently 2 weeks old.
    Is introducing 10 hens to the original 4 going to be too overwhelming when the time comes? Or can we introduce that many at once?? I feel bad for my RIR? They are going to get seriously outnumbered soon, and they are just so sweet. Lol.

  101. Hello! I have 4 X 16 week birds added to my flock. My other girls are 5x 1.5yr .
    I’ve started them in the crate inside coop, then inside the main run while older hens free range, and vice versa to get them use to seeing each other. They were starting to sleep in coop after a bit too with them on the hens side ( Coop divided ) .
    Some fighting but not terrible. The hens still chase the new ones off outside if they cross paths free ranging.
    They run the new ones down if in the coop or run and it’s getting more escalated.
    Do I just throw them in and hope for the best? I’m trying to get them use to being in the enclosed coop and run as we don’t free range all the time.
    Any suggestions ? Thank you 🙂

  102. I have 3 chickens about 4 months old (1 hen, 2 roos ? we already got rid of 1 other roo) and we got 4 chicks at feed store a couple weeks ago hoping to get more hens! I also got 2 adult bantams and we are getting eggs from them but the original 3 peck them when they got out because we had to lift the pen to get 1 bantam from behind the wall. Also got 2 5 mon hens and these are all separated but i am thinking this will be nits to introduce them all soon! I was just trying to get hens for the dang roo! The 2 full size hens are bigger than the original 3 so should I introduce them first then let the batmans in and the chicks later when they are bigger?

  103. Hello there!
    I am the primary carer for my school’s chickens. They were very neglected before I stepped in (filthy coop, maggots in nest boxes etc.) I noticed one of the chickens was limping and we got her on some medication but sadly she didn’t respond and had to be euth’d. Now the school wants to get a single chicken to introduce to the existing flock of three. I know this is a terrible idea and not at all considerate to the chickens’ welfare. What should I do to convince them not to do it?

  104. Hi. We have a small flock of chickens who roam in our large garden and a piece of small woodland. They go into a house at night.
    One has recently died of old age so we now have only 2.
    Unfortunately just as we were about to get 2 more, one of the remaining flock turned broody and is now a fierce quivering feathery ball of rage whenever she bursts out of the hen house momentarily.
    Our other poor chicken is just roaming around on her own and she is a friendly girl.
    Do you think it is advisable to wait to get 2 new ones until the broody one is recovered?
    It would be nice to have company for the non broody one.
    My parents, when they get new additions normally keep them separate for about 5 days, which is not as long as you suggest, but is a method they’ve used successfully for about 15 years!

  105. I have two groups of chickens I hope to integrate at some point.the first group is made up of three Rhode Island Reds and a couple of O
    Aurecanas. the second group of younger chicks I raise from hatchlings obtained in March of this year. on our property we have a barn and I have allocated a stall of the barn for each of these two groups. The older chickens are free to forage our large farm property and the younger group has been kept in a fenced extension of the barn stall. they see each other but they don’t physically mix. the new birds are a combination of Brahmas (three) and three of I believe some type of Easter Egger. I don’t see any point in trying to mix these groups right now because I’ve had a few incidents were one of the new birds got out and was panicked when one of the older especially territorial Rhode Island Reds attacked them. my thinking is that during the winter I will open the stalls of each group and they can mingle at their leisure in the common area of the barn. if anybody gets too freaked out by this interaction they can take refuge in their particular coop. I’m writing you because my my husband thinks that I should just let the new birds out and let them fend for themselves as the new pecking order is established but as I say I’ve tried it a bit and it’s just too brutal, the Brahmas are passive and the Reds are very aggressive. what would you do? Thank you

  106. I have 2 11 week old golden sexlinks that I have interested into my flock of 5 19 week old Amberlinks. We did a slow, three week integration with a pen within the pen before letting them in full time. Pecking order has been established and seem to be doing well. My only concern is that the two new ones sleep outside on the roof of the coop. This makes me sad. Is this normal and will they be accepted into the coop? I have 6 4 week old Buff Orpingtons that will need to be introduced further down the line as well. I just want all my girls to get along.

  107. We have 5 free range hens left of a flock of about 25 assorted breeds. Varmints had a feast. A coyote and a hawk that we know of. Can’t do anything about the hawk, they are protected, but we think we have convinced the coyote to dine elsewhere.
    We wanted to get some Guineas to act as watchdogs and cut down on the insect population. Rural and 30 acre hayfield. The Guineas are about 6 weeks old and we have progressed them to an outside pen that is pegged down so critters can’t get under without a disturbance. We have added some Easter Eggers 8 that are almost 3 weeks old. I know they aren’t old enough to go outside yet but I want to know if you think they will be okay with the Guineas? The older hens pretty much ignore the Guineas who we have just started letting out of the pen during the day. The Guineas don’t seem aggressive at all they jusr squawk and either run back to the pen or fly up to the top of the feed shed.

  108. Hello! I just restarted my flock this year. I purchased 10 pullets in April. In early June, I purchased 4 more. I have had the 4 pullets in a cage next to the 10 for 6 weeks now. I let them out in the evening to free range and they all free range together. Saturday night, they all went in to the same coop. I decided to let them go. For 2 days now, the 4 younger ones seem to want to stay inside the coop and not come out. I have now put food and water inside the coop for them. There doesn’t seem to be an overt amount of “growing” pains between the 2 flocks. I’m worried they may never combine. Should I leave them or separate again?

  109. Hi, i have 3 Burford Browns that are about 21 weeks old. I have now got two new Barnevelders that are about 16 weeks. I kept them separate in a smaller run inside the original run for a week. I have let them mingle twice now but the larger of the BB’s keeps attacking the Barnies and pulling out feathers so i’ve isolated them again. Is this normal and how long should i wait before introducing them again?

  110. We have 5 4 1/2 month old white leghorns and just introduced 9 2month old Sapphire Gem chicks ….so far the sapphire gems stay to themselves at all times and the Leghorns as well. Occasionally the leghorns acts like bullies if the younger chicks come near them. For now they all share the same coop and we are keeping on eye on any potential aggressive behavior…..

  111. Hi I’m a starter at raising chickens.After a year I bought two new chickens to my four chick flock, I have quarantined them for 20 days and dident find any sign of disese but after a week my roosters spread lice ?or some kind of paricite from chicken to chicken ,it’s my mistake I didn’t observe my new chickens (vaselisa and Martha)well enough,so now I need help and get rid of all those bugs if not I can’t introduce new hens to the flock.I don’t know what to use,and I don’t know if these are dangerous to my girls ,I can’t describe them but they are small kind of white ,with a red dot ?
    -thanks kk Augy

  112. Hi there. New to chickens 🙂 I have 1 year old hens and I am trying to introduce some 4 month old’s. One chick has already been killed. The other chicks are being forced into a corner all day until I can come home and lock up the bigger ones. Is there something I should do? Maybe build a second coop?

  113. Hello — thank you for the wonderful guidance. Could you help with the following questions? I have 5 adult Serama bantams (2 roosters, 3 hens) that were living in an Eglu Cube coop/run (https://www.omlet.us/shop/chicken_keeping/large_chicken_coop_eglu_cube/). The coop is on a frame 2 feet off the ground reached by a step ladder. The roosting area is a removable floor of roosting bars. There is no “floor” to the coop other than this roost area and a nest box area. The attached run is 3 x 9 feet. Hen A hatched 4 chicks in early September. The tiny newborn chicks could not roost on the bars and fell in between them onto the bedding tray an inch or so beneath the bars. They also could not negotiate the step ladder. So I moved the hen and chicks to the ground level (in the run). Since the chicks couldn’t get into the coop, the hen covered them at night on the ground. Unfortunately, chipmunks could easily get through the run’s mesh and I forgot that chipmunks eat baby birds. So a few days later, all the chicks were gone. Then Hen B hatched 2 eggs in early Oct. I moved Hen B and her 2 chicks to a separate coop (Eglu Go — https://www.omlet.us/shop/chicken_keeping/modern_chicken_coop_eglu_go/) which is resting on the ground. I removed the flooring/bars so that just the bedding tray remains. The attached run (2 x6 ft) has been covered by hardware cloth (1/4 inch openings) to keep out the chipmunks. Hen A, whose chicks were eaten, is now setting on an egg and if fertile, it will hatch in the next few days to a week. Can I put her and her chick in with Hen B and her 2 chicks (now 6+ weeks old) when a chick hatches or should I wait or..? Should I do it at night or during the day or? At what age/size, should I try to merge these 2 hens and their chicks back with the 2 roosters and 3rd hen? From what you say, the hens will protect their chicks. I would have to wait until either the chicks could handle the ladder up to the coop or would let the hens/chicks continue to have access to the ground level coop but share access to each other’s runs and a single free range area. Right now one coop/run is in the back yard and one is in the front yard. So each group has it’s own free range area. By the way, I’m guessing that one or more of the chicks will be male. So I was thinking that introducing the chicks to the other adults would be better done while any male chick(s) aren’t mature enough to cause the roosters to resent them. In theory, I could set up a separate rooster-only coop/run with a separate or shared free range area. That would have to wait until the chicks could handle the cold without their mother hens. (I’m in Mass. and it will get down to zero degrees F.) At present, the 2 adult roosters seem to get along but I expect that in May/June they may start fighting. So I may have to re-home rooster(s) or set up a male-only coop/run anywa. BTW, I’ve never had chickens until this year. Thank you for your help.

  114. Hi, i have 2 hens from last spring. not sure what the breed is, as my grandson won them at the fair. they are a rust colored. anyways. i decided to get 2 new hen chicks this April. one was a few weeks older than the other, but they are inseparable. the older one is black and the other is white and rust colored. i have had them in a pen in the yard for a few, 3 weeks and have tried to let them out 2x. both times the established hens attacked the black, larger hen. the 1st time blood was raised. the second time i kept a close watch and was able to keep em separated. the dominant hen got sneaky and acted like all was good, slowly made her way over and then attacked the black hen again. it seems it as the dominant one that starts it and then the other one gets worked up and joins in. i have read your article and will try again when the get a lil bigger. i just cant handle them getting in any pain from fighting. the established hens only seem to be interested in the black, larger chick. not sure why this is. any advice would be appreciated. thanx in advance

  115. I have 5 chickens (4 hens and one rooster). A friend has to get rid of ten of her chickens and we decided to take them in. They haven’t come yet but i am wondering because my existing flock is smaller than the new additions in numbers should i do anything differently?

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