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introducing new pair of hens to existing one is not going well...HELP!

(19 Posts)
mabel1973 Mon 01-Sep-08 09:23:54

We lost one of our hens (henny Penny) a couple of weeks ago so we just had Henny Jenny. She was clearly very lonely so we went yesterday to get a another pair of hens to keep her company. We were advised to segregate them til it got dark and then let them all in to the bedroom at night time. When we got home Henny Jenny was out in the garden so we put the new hens in an enclosed part of the run, but left the main run open to Henny Jenny was free to get back in. As it got dark she still hadn't gone in(most unlike her), so I had to put her in and shut the run up, so she was able to see the new ones but not touch them. But she stayed down the opposite end of the run anyway.
At night I opened up the bedroom to let them all in. Henny Jenny just stayed out in the run. I checked several times before i went to bed and she didn't move, just slept out in the run as far away as possible sad.
Early this morning I heard squawking and I have been keeping an eye on things, and at the moment, everytime the new hens venture out in the run Henny Jenny is attacking them and chasing them back in.
Is there anything I can do, or do i just need to sit tight til they get accustomed to each other?
I am not letting them in the garden yet, in case the new ones get lost and want them to get to know each other, but I am now wondering if I should let Henny Jenny out at least?

DaisySteiner Mon 01-Sep-08 09:35:47

You could keep segregating them during day for another day or two. Personally, if HJ doesn't go in at night I would put her in anyway or a fox might take advantage sad

I wouldn't let the new ones out in the garden yet, but HJ could. They'll settle down eventually.

mabel1973 Mon 01-Sep-08 09:40:40

Thanks Daisy.
I think I will let Henny Jenny out, she looks quite upset, I am a bit concerned she might feel threatened and disappear or something though.
The run is fox proof so she should be safe in there at night, but just sad to see her sitting out there on her own.

SpinningCat Mon 01-Sep-08 09:53:52

We tried putting some of our hens together and the existing ones were horrible to the new ones, bullying and pecking them until eventually we gave up and put them in separate pens. The old ones were chickens and the new ones bantams, so if they were determined not to be friendly it could be a bit one-sided!

Later we tried to put different hens in with the bantams - Blondie had not forgotten what had happened before and got in first pecking and bullying.

We've now introduced a new cockerel to the chickens and he is not being bullied, but took several days before he would go outside the house, but he's getting there.

MarmadukeScarlet Mon 01-Sep-08 10:02:29

I have recently introduced 5 (4 x 16-18 weeks and a 3 yr old- who was virtually free as told wouldn't lay, has layed a huge everyday bar one) to my existing 4.

Several things...

Despite keeping my new ones seperate for 48 hours thay have spread disease into my flock, cue several vets bills and will not be able to eat the eggs of existing layers for a while.

My 4 were pecking chasing V seriously, head hen was getting on their backs and flying into the air to ensure removal of feathers. The 3 yr old stuck up for herself but the young ones didn't.

I made a small 'pen' within my main pen (which is 9x15)and any chicken caught attacking was put in there. It had a perch, food, water and nestbox. So the existing chooks were in there and the new chooks were exploring and finding their feet.

At night I put them all into the house, when let out as soon as pecking started offenders were put into sin bin.

After one week things were much better, 2 weeks the odd bit of chasing etc.

BUT boss hen still will give the odd peck, she will not go to bed until all in, she will chase esp if food about and I am going to have to make an area in my outdoor run which has a roof as the boss has been keeping the babies out in the rain.

It was tiresome and a bit stressful, but they have all survived and pecking was never so bad that I saw skin.

Good luck.

mabel1973 Mon 01-Sep-08 10:32:45

LOL at 'sin bin' grin

As I look out the window Henny Jenny is marching up and down in the pen and the two new ones are huddled up in the bedroom.
I did get an egg this morning, I'm pretty sure it was HJ's so she must have gone in the bedroom at some point.

I think I'll segregate them for the rest of today and put them to bed together again this evening.

mabel1973 Mon 01-Sep-08 10:36:34

just noticed that Henny Jenny has got blood on one of her toes!
She must have got quite a vicious peck back from one of the new ones.
She is out in the garden now.

BloodySmartarse Mon 01-Sep-08 11:54:29

if theres blood drawn on any of them, the rest of them will keep pecking at it. you need to get purple spray from scats or feed merchant, and spray the injury. the antiseptic heals and the purple colouyr disguises the blood so the others give it a chance to get better.

pecking order stuff is really normal... just takes a bit of time for them to work out whos boss. should all be fine in the end. stressful to watch tho, i know!

mabel1973 Mon 01-Sep-08 16:34:25

She escaped in to neighbours garden this afternoon, which she hasn't done in a long time (and am not sure how as we fenced all round)
I've treated her foot and put her pack in the run, with the other two shut away separately. Poor Henny Jenny....I feel awful for her sad

Lletty Sun 08-Feb-09 18:14:26

I have a cockerel (6 months) and 3 hens, two are laying and one is only 20 weeks so POL only. She is having a hard time with the cockerel as he is vicious to her at dusk only. Should she be separated from him until she's laying?

daisydotandgertie Sat 28-Feb-09 23:19:26

I've added new chooks a few times now and we've found the easiest way is this;

we set up temporary run for new birds and quarantine them (it's recommended for 14 days, but I've never got past about 4). We feed all birds quite close together once or twice a day.

We put the new girls into the main run and make sure the existing flock are kept out of it for a few days - at this point all birds go back to their 'proper' bedrooms at night.

We let all chooks free range together about a week and it seems to solve most bullying problems. We do have to teach the new birds about their new bedroom though which is a pain in them bum and involves herding them around the garden with chicken wire.

Hope that helps!

multitasker Thu 18-Mar-10 21:01:39

I am having similar problems with a pair of young hens I got to replace a rooster. The hen I had is pecking and fighting with the new ones and it is distressing to watch. She won't let them near food or water so I have to supervise feeding. Will this get better - do they just need a while to get used to each other?

sarah293 Sat 20-Mar-10 13:27:43

Message withdrawn

LilyBolero Sat 20-Mar-10 19:11:12

We introduced 2 new ones to an existing hen - it really did take a few weeks. What we did was to make a partition half way down the run out of bamboo canes (inserted vertically to create a barrier. Then we put a temporary sleeping box in the end that didn't have the sleeping area. Put the food and water on either side of the canes, so that they could see each other whilst eating/drinking - this helps reduce the perception of the others being a 'threat'.

After 3 or 4 weeks, they managed to dismantle the barrier, and were fine together, and are all very happy now.

sarah293 Sat 20-Mar-10 19:24:33

Message withdrawn

AnimalPerson Tue 18-Jan-11 10:06:18

Hi, I have just got a new hen(a leghorn) nearly a week ago, and introduced her to my 3 other ones at night. So far, they are not getting along at all. There have been no injuries, but the new one gets chased and pecked at for coming too close to the others.

Would it be better to get another hen to take the pressure off this one?

Or would it help to let the older ones into the back yard during the day to seperate them for a few days?

Punkatheart Tue 18-Jan-11 17:51:49

Yes - adding one to three is always a mistake - then let the new girls bond together away from the others for a while. Introduce slowly. That's the key. Also make sure there is a lot of food available so that the old girls don't see the new ones as rivals too much...

eden263 Mon 24-Jan-11 23:53:38

It took about 2 months for the dust to settle when I took in a desperate new girl last year and put her with my established 5. Lots of pecking and kerfuffle, bless her, but now they're all fine 99% of the time. She's still at the bottom of the pecking order, though.

The irony is, the previous owners had to get rid of her as she was mercilessly bullying all their others.

czechpie Sat 08-Apr-17 08:26:56

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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