Introducing new peeps into the flock

Chickens have a specific pecking order. And they are not nice about establishing that order. Flocks have specific dynamics. New chickens upset the pecking order and flock dynamics. And results in extreme pecking on the new chicks by the older chicks, particularly the head chicken.

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Thus far, we have only introduced mostly grown, fully feathered pullets into established flock. This gives the new pullets more of a chance to integrate into the flock.

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Here are some tricks we have used successfully.

1. Sneak the new chickens into the coop at night. Chickens might recognize the new pullets as such, but they are not as likely to get up in wing at night.

2. House them near each other for a time before they are introduced into the same space. We introduced one new group after the flock and that group had lived near each other for nearly a month. They could see and hear one another, but were not living in the same space.

3. Introduce more than one new chicken at a time. It’s always better to have a buddy!

4. Introduce them whilst free ranging. With more space, the younger chickens can get away from the larger chickens. If the larger chickens decide to take time off from free ranging to pick on the smaller chickens, that is.

5. Keep food and water in at least two areas within the coop. That way, bigger chickens cannot keep younger chickens away from the food.

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