Introducing New Chickens to an Existing Flock

Gavin Flock at TBN RanchHaven’t ever brought new chickens to an existing flock? Well, this can be an experience you won’t forget any time soon. Best to understand the pecking order now before you learn the hard way. Here’s the truth, expect the worst, because your precious little newcomers are most likely going to be pecked hard by the older chickens. Your existing flock isn’t going to take kindly to the new birds presence around food and water, the nesting area, or the coop for that matter. Seniority among a flock is serious business and the reorganization of social ranking can be brutal, even deadly. Space, space, and more space for a flock is a definite plus when introducing new birds. Multiple feeding areas and ample housing is equally important. Remember, size matters in the chicken world, the smaller weaker birds are at the greatest risk for injury and the least likely to get access to food.

Introducing new birds to a flock is not easy, even if the new birds have been housed directly in their view. My suggestion to you is to avoid this unpleasant introduction altogether by setting up separate housing.Β  If this isn’t possible because you’re limited by space, I found a good resource from BYC about Methods of Introduction to help you and your birds make this difficult transition.

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About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author, antique dealer. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm.
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15 Responses to Introducing New Chickens to an Existing Flock

  1. Great post and just in time -going to introduce a handful of new birds to my established flock tomorrow, thanks for the resources!

  2. Thanks for the link. I might be needing that one day when I try to get the chicks to sleep with the older girls. I’m dreading it.

  3. That is interesting…I am always learning something new here.

  4. This was great information as I just picked up chicks yesterday and will be getting more later. Thanks for your insight and the link to BYC..which is my chicken bible of sorts. πŸ™‚ I am gonna hope for the best!

  5. Oh boy this post brought back memories of my very first attempt at chickens. Fortunately just as I was loading a new group into the yard my experienced neighbor stopped by and halted the proceedings! I thought I learned everything I had to know from reading a book on chickens! LOL What an idiot I was at first. Years later, I was teaching my son who was as dumb as I used to be. It never ends!!!

  6. Thanks so much for this information. It is good timing for us as I am currently brooding chicks and have been contemplating how to move the new ones in with the older girls and such. I have a question, what about putting 20 or so young pullets in with an adult rooster in a place where no one has been before so there isn’t any “territory” going on? What problems might we expect with that? Also, what if it is 1 older rooster and 2 older hens (instead of just the rooster) in the same scenario as above with the pullets? Thanks!

    • tbnranch says:

      Your pullets when 5-6 months old with ONE rooster should be ok, same as the 1 older rooster and two older hens. A rooster is the peace keeper among the hens. One rooster to a flock, keep them out of sight of each other. If your older hens have stopped or their egg production has decreased, putting a rooster with them may start them laying again. Just keep a watchful eye for the first two weeks.

  7. Chancy and Mumsy says:

    Very good advice I know someone who after I suggested she not put her new chickens with the older ones refused to make a separate place for the new ones. Now she has lost some of her new chickens because the older ones pecked them to death….makes me sick she allowed that to happen. Hugs

    • tbnranch says:

      Exactly! That’s why I thought a heads up about this is so important. Nothing enjoyable about witnessing what I call… the chicken yard of death.

  8. Super advice, thank you.

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