Michigan Marans

Breeding to a Higher Standard

MI Marans Blog Post New Entry

Introducing New Birds

Posted by MIMarans on June 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM

I have had a lot of questions about introducing new birds to existing flocks.  What I have found and experienced is that if not done gradually and porperly, it could end up a small disaster.  I usually fence off an area and add the new chickens so they can see each other, but cannot reach each other.  I normally do this for a couple of weeks, just so they get used to seeing their new roomates.  Although it doesn't ALWAYS work out, I have a hen that likes to reject newcomers.  I think the cockerals could care less most of the time.  Although I have seen the boss hen fight with a newly introduced cockeral.  It usually ends quickly once the hen gets spurred a couple of times.  Here are some general guidelines:

  1. DO NOT add chicks to established flocks of older chickens unless a hen has adopted them.  It usually does not go well.  I normally wait until the juvenile stage to even attempt it.
  2. DO NOT introduce older chicks / early juveniles with adult birds without proper introduction time and with close supervision.  The newbies will need enough room to retreat.
  3. DO attempt to get a broody* hen to accept new chicks.  This is the best method if you can have a foster mom raise them, she will show them the ropes, feed them, and protect them at all costs.
  4. I recently added 8 new laying hens to my layer flock.  There was a couple days of fighting.  Eventually things simmered down once everyone learns their place.  There are still shots given to the new girls from the old hens, normally near food or water.  This is known as "the pecking order".

While these tips may not be precise nor scientific, they are all from my own experiences.

*Broody -A hen who has a strong desire to sit on eggs in order to hatch them. WIll sit for days without leaving nest, ruffle feathers when approached, and may peck if there is attempt to move her. See video:

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