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Adding New Chickens to an Existing Flock

Chickens can be a lot of fun to keep, and you get the added benefit of getting fresh eggs on a regular bases. Chickens are flock birds and are not comfortable being kept individually; they should be kept in at least pairs. However, chickens have a set hierarchy and do not take well to new hens being added to their flock.

Adding new chickens to an existing flock should be done with care. Chickens will fight and can do serious injury to each other if they are not introduced slowly and carefully. However, after proper introductions and once the new pecking order is set, the new chickens and the old chickens will usually become good friends and will spend their days hanging out together and sleeping together.

When adding new chickens to an existing flock they should be added in at least pairs. Adding an individual chicken is extremely hard on the chicken as not only will she have to spend an extended period of time alone during quarantine and the introduction period, she will be picked on more by the other chickens.

When adding chickens to an existing flock, the new chickens should be at least a month or two old; they should be big enough that they can at least stand up for themselves. Chicks should never be added as the older chickens may peck them to death.

New hens should be quarantines for at least 30 days before they are allowed near the existing flock. Quarantining helps to ensure the new chickens are healthy and not carrying any diseases that could affect the entire flock.

New chickens should be kept separately until they are confirmed healthy.

Chickens have a very set pecking order and do not like when it is disrupted. New chickens should never just be added to an existing flock. New chickens should be kept in a fenced off area where they can see the other chickens, but are kept safe from their aggression. During the first few days, the hens will try to peck each other through the fencing and will puff out their chests and make loud aggressive sounds at each other. The new chickens will need to be kept separated from the existing flock for a week or two. Once all the hens have settled down and are no longer challenging each other, the new hens can be put with the existing flock with supervision. The chickens will fight a bit at first as they work out the new pecking order; unless the fighting is serious, owners should stay out of it. Once the new pecking order is set, usually all the hens will get along well.

Chickens are a lot of fun to own. They are interesting and friendly birds that are very entertaining. Chickens can happily live in pairs or in flocks of 20-30 birds. Getting new hens can be a lot of fun, and as long as the introductions are done carefully and slowly, adding new birds is usually not too difficult.

When hens first meet, they may puff out their chests and act aggressively towards each other.

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