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Author Topic: Introducing a new hen  (Read 1351 times)


  • Joined Mar 2015
Introducing a new hen
« on: July 17, 2023, 05:54:06 pm »
Hi - I incubated some eggs this summer - 2 hatched but sadly only one survived. I tried to introduce her to the rest of my 6 hens as per advice in all the books - waited until she was over 10 weeks old, put her in a seperate coop inside the run for 2 weeks so they could see her - introduced her into the main coop at night. However they attacked her, leaving a nasty head wound and I had to remove her until she recovered. I've just done the same routine - including putting anti peck spray over her this time - and exactly the same thing's happened again. Nasty head wound and had to remove her again and put her in a seperate coop in the yard, away from the others. She's now about 16 weeks old.  I'm at my wit's end - any suggestions please! Thanks, Lisa.


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Introducing a new hen
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2023, 06:31:13 pm »
Introducing a lone hen is extremely difficult, but 10 weeks was far too young anyway. I'd be aiming for 20+. Normally you would put the single in the coop and run and move all the others out to temporary accommodation. Then replace them one at a time over several days starting with the lowest in the pecking order. It's usually the second in the pecking order that causes the problems, but with her being added to a now established new flock she should be OK. Top hen will quietly re-establish herself and second will have forgotten about the youngster. This all fails if the space they are all in is too small, so at least a 12m2 run with lots of feeders and drinkers.

Don't attempt another introduction until she is completely healed. Bear in mind that this youngster has no idea of the pecking order rules or social interaction.

The alternative is to keep the youngster separate and add the lowest two to her, one at a time.

What you should have done is buy another chick at the onset and then introduce the pair at 20 weeks.


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Introducing a new hen
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2023, 07:18:26 pm »
I agree entirely with what Chris said. But having been bullied twice, it's highly unlikely you will ever be able to introduce her into that pen on her own now.
I would therefore buy another pullet of similar age for her to grow up with. She'll  then develop some confidence and learn about social interaction.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Introducing a new hen
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2023, 08:57:44 am »
Ditto what the others have said. Hens should ideally be around POL before introducing to the main flock. Autumn is often a good time as the majority of Spring hatched chicks will be POL come September or October, just as the main flock is starting the annual moult. That will throw the bossiest hens off balance and the youngsters will have a quieter time of it. And if you can move the main house/pen set up so that everyone is on neutral territory when introduced better still. Moving pens will also let the ground recover and reduce parasite load.


  • Joined Mar 2015
Re: Introducing a new hen
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2023, 01:31:27 pm »
Many thanks for these answers - they are very helpful and I'll try and follow some of what you've all suggested and see if I can find a couple of other chicks to join her. Im afraid I don't have the facilities to be able to split them up but will hang on a few weeks before trying again anyway . I did manage it in the past but then I was introducing 3 chicks together and my cockerel did seem to help (he's no longer with us) I did follow what I'd read but that's obviously not always correct and I've messed up. You live and learn - thanks!

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Introducing a new hen
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2023, 01:03:30 pm »
Try and get her a friend or two to introduce together.
Maybe borrow a cock from a neighbour for a couple of weeks when you introduce them. Thisíll probably upset them all to some extent but also give them something else to think about and heíll stop the worst fights.

I think hen pecking order fights are much more brutal when thereís no cock.

Or could sell your pullet to someone with an agreeable set up?


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