I have a flock of 1.5 year old Cinnamon Queens and have the chance to bring home some Easter Eggers who just started laying. What’s the best way to go about introducing the new ladies to the existing flock? My set up is a coop inside a 12x14 run, and an acre-ish fenced area where they free-range all day.
It’s much like horses: quarantine for 30 days, then allow them to share a fence line, then free range together, and finally share the coop.
Ok…so where do the new ones sleep for a month? Get a separate coop? I have another run I can use for the new ones, but it’s not night-time predator proof.
After 30 days, how do I get the new ones to learn they go in the other coop at night?!
Yep, a quarantine coop is a good idea.
Some people find success just adding the new birds to the coop at night, and letting it sort itself out. You could try that, but the risk of disease is not insignificant, and integration could go poorly for the new birds.
Yes, 30 days quarantine where they can’t share air is best.
After that, either an additional coop next to the current one and let them see each other daily for a couple weeks, or add them after dark. If the numbers of new and old are pretty close, adding after dark works pretty well. If it’s one or two added to a bigger flock, they’re gonna get roughed up.
If they are used to cooping at night they’ll go into the new coop with the others most times.
Thanks for the good information! I will plan on keeping the new hens in the separate run with their own (makeshift!) coop for the first month and then will let them begin to free-range together.
I only have 5 Cinnamon Queens, and will be getting 3 Easter Eggers - I’ve read that Cinnamon Queens are pretty friendly towards outsiders so fingers crossed there won’t be too much drama
Dont put Hens of major differences in height and age together. I am not talking about full grown bantams and larger breeds together. I am talking about putting big chicks with Hens.
‘There is nothing so vicious as hens’.
Actually, I have found that it’s much easier to introduce chicks to an existing flock than to add mature hens. The chicks aren’t seen as “threats” and are therefore easier to integrate.
I put new additions to the flock inside the coop in a wire dog crate for a week or two to let everyone get accustomed to each other, and then they’re all allowed to mingle once that is no longer a big deal to the existing flock.
I’ve consistently been able to add chicks as young as four weeks to my adult flocks this way multiple times over the years.
Lost my first hen in a year and a half yesterday to a hawk The other four were quick to run under the lean-to, but looks like this poor girl got cornered against the fence. I plan on keeping them contained to their run for now, though they’re not happy about it.
The bright side is now we will have 4 old and 4 new hens, so that may make things a little easier.
I’m sorry, @QHEventer. I lost my favorite hen to a hawk last winter. Luckily, I had some of her eggs in the incubator, and now her son is my flock rooster.