How to introduce new chickens to a flock

Whether you are just starting a chicken flock or are a seasoned owner of many chickens, you need to know how to add new chickens to a flock. You want to avoid introducing disease and parasites into the flock. Established hens and roosters may try to drive out newcomers and establish dominance and may even peck to the death new chickens. Even if you have a mild-mannered breed of chicken, you need to take careful steps when introducing new chickens to your flock to reduce the number of injured or deceased chickens


Never introduce a single chicken or chick to a flock, At least two or more. The newly added chickens will be best friends for life.


Quarantine your new chickens away from the old flock for several weeks, and watch them carefully for any signs of sickness. The new chickens should not share the same ground or air as the old flock. Wash your hands and clean the bottom of your boots after you interact with the new flock to avoid inadvertently transmitting illnesses.


Make sure the new chickens are of the same size as the old flock.


Ensure adequate room in the coop or pen to reduce the chance of bad habits that come from over crowding. Cannibalism is one of the worst results of over crowding. New chickens also do not have room to run and hide if need be from the older chickens as pecking order is established.


Implement a "see" but "no touch" policy by placing the new chickens in a pen inside of the coop of the established flock. This will allow the older chickens to satisfy some of their curiosity without instant squabbling.


Hang a distraction in the pen such as something shiny or nail a few ears of field corn in accessible places to keep the old chickens busy while the new chickens explore.


Put new chickens in with a flock during the night so that the flocks can wake up together. This seems to reduce the squabbling and the pecking of the new chickens.


Ensure there are plenty of food and watering areas so that the old chickens cannot guard them all and keep the new chickens from feed and drink. Feed and water the new chickens before adding them to the flock.


Remove injured chickens from the flock at the first sign of bright blood and treat with an "anti-peck ointment" or pine tar to discourage the pecking from going further. Chickens will naturally peck at fresh blood and can kill an injured chicken very quickly.


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