Introducing New Chickens to Your Flock


Rhonda CrankWhen introducing new birds into your flock, it can create a stressful time for the new birds, your established flock, and for you. The pecking order of chickens is very strict and they can be very cruel to one another, at least it will appear that way to you. You've heard the old phrase "hen pecked?" It's a real thing, and not just for men! :)

pullets in breeding yard 

Help Avoid Much of the Fighting

If you have the space, put the new birds in a separate yard beside your chicken yard letting the flock and the new birds be in each others view for two to three weeks. If you don't have that luxury, you can put your new birds on the roost at night when they are all fast asleep and let them wake up together. Then, if you can, separate your old birds from the new birds the next morning. Let the established flock free range or put your new birds into another pen, even if it is a temporary one in your chicken yard. This gives the new birds some time to get used to the yard and relax into their new home in peace. After a couple of nights of roosting together, they should be pretty used to one another and the fighting should be minimal.


On our farm, I am blessed to have plenty of space. We have a unique setup that my husband built for me. You may not can see it well in this photo, but I have four side yards that connect to the "big yard" by a gate. Each one serves its own purpose. The ones on each end are breeding coops and the two in the middle are the rooster yards reserved for those roosters I keep just for breeding purposes. For more on why I keep the roosters separate, see our post on taming an attacking rooster. These yards all share a common fence so the chickens in the big yard can see the biddies or new hens and get used to them. They still do a little bossin' around, but it has never been anything that has caused damage to any of the birds.

2/1/2015 1:37:37 PM

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