adding more pullets

Posted by: Anonymous

adding more pullets - 02/13/09 01:39 PM

We have just 7 laying chickens that we got last Spring. They are laying and we like them. We wish we had a few more of them- maybe 4 more? How can we integrate new pullets with the old hens??
Posted by: Foehn

Re: adding more pullets - 02/13/09 02:09 PM

Best way seems to be to put a pen within the quarters your other chooks have, so that old can see new but not be able to get to them. That way they get a chance to get used to each other without fighting. (Be prepared for some very bad language coming from the old crew. They really know how to bad mouth newcomers!)
It is best if you have them at the same age, so new ones are not disadvantaged by size/youth. Once they have got used to each other (takes a week or more, you can let them in together under supervision and the new ones will need some safety places to go, like perches. You may still get a few scuffles as the old order tries to assert its status. Put them on the perches with the others that night, and keep an eye on them for a few more days to make sure the old guard are not picking on the new ones. It is also a good idea to have several feeding stations well apart so the older ones do not stop the new ones from eating. Good luck
Posted by: CJR

Re: adding more pullets - 02/13/09 02:39 PM

The breed of hens that you have, may make a big difference in acceptance of any new ones. Larger heavier breeds may demand acceptance by your older birds, whereas the lighter flightier birds may really be savaged, but any additions can be difficult or almost impossible! GOOD LUCK< CJR
Posted by: Oakie

Re: adding more pullets - 02/13/09 06:04 PM

I have a mix of all different breeds. Last weekend I bought 6 year old hens and I just put them in the yard and there was a bit of pecking order going on but after a few minutes they were fine. I think it is harder when the are confined. I have about a 50X120 run that gives them plenty of space. Just make sure you can watch them for a while. I raise all mu chickens and my ducks together and they do fine.
Posted by: IPF

Re: adding more pullets - 02/14/09 11:10 AM

The other big factor seems to be the total number of birds. We have >40, and I can add new birds with no problems; even (to my watchful amazement) a rooster. Smaller flocks seem to be touchier about new faces. Sort of like small communities vs big cities - a newcomer on my street would be very closely scrutinised.
Posted by: Sunni Ten

Re: adding more pullets - 02/15/09 03:58 PM

I think a lot of it depends on the size of your set-up, both the coop and the run. Adding to a flock is generally very difficult... the original will pick on the new, sometimes violently. I've had great success over the years because I have a lot of space in the coop and their run is big (large pasture). If the newbies have room to run and escape their tormentors when needed, this will really help the adjustment.
I currently have 18 hens from about 5 different age groups.
Posted by: Sunni Ten

Re: adding more pullets - 03/16/09 12:27 PM

Some of the others made a good point about your set-up. Size and space is what will help the newcomers be accepted. If you have a small set-up with limited space, I doubt you'll be very successful and I've heard bad stories of people who have tried. I have a good size coop and a really big yard (nearly 2 acres, although they don't roam that far). I've had good success over the years adding new hens. The greatest success I've had is havinga broody hen raise chicks. The chicks become readily accepted (for the most part) because the mama hen makes it so.