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Adding new hens

Adding new hens to a flock is not easy!

Henrietta the Speckled Sussex hen.

Henrietta the Speckled Sussex hen.

What an experience we’re having trying to create (integrate) a small flock of four young hens. I bought two hens from a gal who had hand-raised six chicks. She advertised them as “10-month-old hens”. One, a speckled Sussex was quite striking and the other, a barred rock a nice looking, healthy hen. I DO like barred rocks. They are great layers. The previous owner wanted them to stay together as they were very bonded.

I paid $25 each for them. I think this was a fair price in our county.

We brought the two hens home and put them in in their new pen. They were a happy pair, scratching in the dirt, dust bathing, and laying in their new nest boxes.

On the Monday of the next week, we bought two pretty hens, also 10 months old. This was from a lady who had a chicken-and-egg farm in the south side of the county. The young hens were beautiful and I bought a Buff Orpington and a black Easter Egger. They were a bit smaller than the first hens I had bought and appeared less mature.

We put Team #2, the Buff Orpington and the Easter Egger, on the roost after dark. In the morning, all hell was breaking loose and “hell” and bullying has continued for 30 days. In the past week, there are times during the day when things seem quiet. But there was a time that Team #2 was being dragged from the nest boxes. We put a ladder in the coop for Team #2 to climb up on so their heads wouldn’t get bloodied. That has helped, they have a place to get away.

Though I know they are establishing their “pecking order”, this behavior is difficult to watch.

I wish that I had gotten 4 pullets from the same place, all the same age. It would have saved me much angst. The downside of having a hencam is, I can see all the “goings on” as the hens adjust. Not pleasant to watch.

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