Adding Hens to an Existing Flock

amy elizabeth | TBN Ranch

Haven’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 if you keep hens in small quarters, it’s much easier to set up separate housing and avoid this unpleasant introduction altogether.

If you Have Lots of Space…

Having plenty of space for introducing new birds is not that difficult! As long as there is plenty of room for your new pullets or hens to escape from the existing flock. After about three weeks chickens establish a new pecking order and will live in organized harmony. Make sure there is food and water in two or three different locations. The boss hens may split up and deny food to the lower birds in the pecking order.

How Much Space?

Enough that your new birds aren’t constantly being chased, pecked, or harassed. The new birds will keep their distance, if they can’t, your space is too small.

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About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm. Raises laying hens.
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2 Responses to Adding Hens to an Existing Flock

  1. Great advice – it really is a difficult time and we sometimes wonder if it’s worth all the trouble until we finally see them happily coexisting.

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