How to acquaint younger hen with older ones : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We purchased 6 chicks in early April. One was a rooster, so the other day I gave him away and got another pullet, slightly younger than the other 5. Put her in a separate cage for the day, then put her in with one of the older hens. A few pecks, but they were eating together by the end of the day. Husband forgot and let them all out this evening. The older hens were picking on the younger one. How can I get them to stop this? Get them all used to her one at a time as I did with the first one? Don't let her out? (not fair to her!)Poor thing, she spent her entire time out this evening on top of the wood pile.

-- Christina (, July 26, 2001


It's not fair but this is called getting the pecking order straight. You might try keeping her in a pen next to the older hens so they can become aquainted with her through a fence. She'll still get pecked some when let loose with the others, but maybe not so much or for as long. We used the above mentioned plan to introduce our pullets to the year old hens, it worked like a charm, very little pecking from the hens to the pullets. Now the pullets are testing the pecking order, getting in alittle peck of their own. LOL!!!

-- Kelle in MT. (, July 26, 2001.

We have used a wire cage, sat in the middle of the hen house. For three days or so. The older biddies can walk all around, and be as curious as they need to. Like Christina says, once you let them loose, there will be some jockying, but it should be too bad by then.

Good luck

-- Rickstir (, July 27, 2001.

It also helps to put the younger hen on the roost with the older birds after the older ones have gone "to bed" for the night. By morning, the new one won't seem so different to them. Since chickens don't have much of a sense of smell, I don't think it's a matter of the new one's smell blending with the older birds' but whatever, mixing groups at night has been fairly peaceful. It also helps if you are introducing several new birds rather than just one but you do what you have to do.

I had one that was in its own hatch and not out of the ordinary. The rest of the chickens really ganged up on her and I had to remove her. She died a day or so later. I think that case was one of Mother Nature culling her own.

-- marilyn (, July 27, 2001.

On July 4th some stray dogs came over and roughed up one of my hens. She was one of the more dominant hens of the group. The dogs broke one of her wings and when I found her, her anal/rectum/vent,whatever its called, was hanging almost all the way to the ground. I didn't know if she was going to live or not, so I put her up with my new young pullets. They have payed little attention to her. Yesterday, July 28, I thought maybe she has recuperated enough to put back with her old group. When I did all caos broke out and every hen in the coop had to have their turn in whipping up on her. Since she's still nursing a broken wing and can't defend herself, I decided to pull her back out. I don't know if she will ever start laying again, so she may become chicken and dumpling dinner.

-- Russell Hays (, July 28, 2001.

My family and I have raised chickens ever since I can remember.We usually get new chicks from a hatchery every couple of years and we always keep them in a seperate hutch to keep them warm, guard them against skunks, other cickens, etc.We have had a couple get out into the other yard and the mature chickens have pecked them to death, sad, but chickens aren't nice to new comers.Then we would let them out with the others when they have most of their feathers but put them away at night.They have a very distinct pecking order and your new hen is obviuosly at the bottom. I would take her away until she gets bigger and if your cage is big enough you might try putting one of the older hens in with her and watch their reaction, the older chicken won't be as mean when she's not with her friends.

-- michelle in oregon (, July 30, 2001.

With only a small difference in age, I'd be most inclined to introduce her at night on the roost and then keep an eye on her for the next day or 2. I know this won't help now, but I usually make sure to add 2 pullets at a time to prevent just this problem. When the other birds' attentions are divided it's much easier on the newcomers.

-- Sheryl in Me (, July 30, 2001.

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