Join Backyard Poultry magazine in our video series, Chickens in a Minute, as we answer frequently asked questions about how to raise a healthy backyard chicken flock. Today’s video explores introducing new chickens to the flock.
It’s the time of year when chicks are growing up and need to integrate into an existing flock. Introducing new chickens to the flock can be a delicate matter. The good news is that it is very seldom that chickens can’t settle on a pecking order. It’s just stressful on them (and their owners) for a few days.
If the chicks have been cared for by an existing broody in the flock, then there’s no need to worry, she’ll make appropriate introductions. If the chicks have been hand-raised, then you need to wait until they are almost the same size as the adults so they can hold their own.
It’s best to first introduce them, for at least a few days, through a fence or divided enclosure so they can see each other. Then, many people will mix the birds at night by putting the newbies on the perches when the flock is asleep. It seems if they wake up with each other in the morning, there is often less fighting.
Always make sure to carefully monitor the new flock making sure everyone has a place to hide and has food and water. Only intervene if a bird is injured. And remember it’s best to introduce more than one bird at a time.
These videos are a great reference for both new and experienced chicken owners alike.
Originally published in 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy.