Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adding new chickens to your flock

Hey! I just bought two new hens on Saturday. I got two blue cochin pullets, they are so fluffy! this is a picture of Cosette, and her twin is Adelaide. So, when introducing new chickens into your flock, you must introduce the new chickens slowly and with a watchful eye. The introduction should spread out for a week. Before you get the new chickens make a temporary cage next to the run so your girls and the new chickens can see each other during the day. Make sure they also have food and water, and if laying, a nesting box. And even a small perch/stool/step for them to roost on if you want, and shelter from wind and rain or heat if the weather is bad. Here is what to do each day:

Day one-three: keep new chooks in temp. run, provide seeds, feed pellets, veggies, etc to keep them occupied.
Day four: put new girls and your flock in the run together (would be better if you had a larger area) for about 10 minutes, be in the run with them. you should expect the new chickens to be pecked, feather pulled and jumped on by your flock. they have to basically "fight out" the pecking order. after ten minutes, put the new girls back in their cage. let the chickens cool off for an hour. then repeat a couple more times throughout the day.
Day five: put the new girls in the run with the flock for about a half hour a few times throughout the day. keep an eye on them, and interceed if it gets too violent (wear jeans!). remember the smaller the flock, the closer and tightly knit they will be, so new chickens are more of an intruder to them, so it is harder to introduce new chooks.
Day six: put the new girls in the run with the flock at the end of the day (around 4 or 5 pm). make sure the new girls have a perch in the run to be able to take a break from the pecking. when the flock goes in the coop at night, see if the new chooks will go in too. if they dont place, them on a seperate perch from the rest of the flock when it is dark to stay during the night.
Day seven: The chickens will all wake up together. During the day, watch the chickens closely. they will not all get along perfectly, but after a few more weeks together, they will. Make sure also that every two hens you add you need to add one more nesting box to the coop.


  1. Hi Gracie! Your gorgeous picture of your Blue Cochin caught my eye on Homestead Survival's Facebook page, so I came over to take a look. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't share this information with you about proper quarantine procedures that should be followed when adding new chickens to an existing flock. Several of my Facebook fans have lost their entire flocks as a result of improper biosecurity procedures and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

    While your slow-but-steady approach to integrating chickens into an existing flock is the right idea, chickens should only be integrated after a quarantine period. I realize this blog post is several years old and I trust nothing bad happened to your flock, but I had to mention quarantining for others who may not be aware of the need for it. It really is a matter of life and death all too often.
    Here is my article on quarantine: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/quarantine-of-backyard-chickens-why-and.html

    Thanks for indulging me. :)
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick