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Raising a solo chick? Any way to make it work?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hiya!
So, I have a flock of seven pullets, six standard who will turn a year old in late March and one kind of odd bantam, who is probably two or three months younger. We raised the standards from day-olds, and when they were about a month old got two bantam chicks, also day olds. One of these, Pepper, turned out to be a roo, and we had to give him away. As he was best friends with our other bantam, Rowena, she was lonely when he left and wasn't really friends with 'the big girls.' A few weeks after we gave Pepper away, we got Poppy, the aforementioned bantam, at a county fair. She and Rowena were best friends, doing everything together, and they were both alienated from the big girls. In mid December, Rowena died of what we think was a genetic illness. Poppy has since hung out with the big girls more, but she often wanders off by herself, and the pick on her when she is with them. As Chick Days at our local feed stores are coming up soon, we want to get Poppy a friend.
Poppy is some adorable mutt mix of barred Cochin bantam and brahma. She is 2/3 to 3/4 the size of our big girls, even our Orpington, and is very docile and sweet. We really want to get her a friend, but don't want another more bantamy ( tongue.png ) bird after Rowena. There are Blue Cochin sexed day-olds at our feed store on the 29th, and we think that we want to get one for to be Poppy's friend- they have very similar builds and are Cochins, like Poppy, are known to be very docile, sweet, and slow. We really just want one.
We really want this chick to bond with us, and we plan on introducing the chick to Poppy when she is very young, just the two of them. This does, however, mean that this chick would be raised by herself for most of the time until we could introduce her to Poppy (~3 weeks) and put her outside (~7 weeks) We don't really want to get two, because as we learned from Rowena and Pepper, they really just bond with each other, and were only getting this chick for Poppy. However, we also can't have this chick be a Roo, because we would have to give it away and be back at square one.
Any advice? Can we just get one chick? What extra steps would we have to take? It would be brooded in my room, so it would with me as much as possible when I was working, playing, sleeping, ect. Do you think it's worth it and absolutely necessary to get two, even if we might only keep one into adulthood?
Help!
And thanks for any advice big_smile.png
post #2 of 3
I ordered Blue Cochin Bantams to be friends with my one Silkie smile.png I only had the choice to order five and straight run. Hoping for at least one hen! I hope it all works out as I imagine. I didn't want my Silkie feeling lonely in a flock of standard size chickens.
post #3 of 3

Chickens aren't like dogs where a lone pup would benefit by getting a new puppy to be its friend. The social order of chickens is much different.

 

What's likely to happen, if you succeed in raising a single chick and introducing it to Poppy, would be that Poppy would likely treat it as the new, lowest-in-the-pecking-order, and bully it just as she's been bullied by the other chickens. That's how it works in chicken world. The new chicken gets relegated to the bottom of the pecking order and usually it's the previous lowest in the pecking order that will do most of the bullying.

 

There are exceptions, of course, but generally, that's what you could expect.

 

Back to raising a single chick. It's extremely difficult on the baby chick since they have an instinct and need for other baby chicks to snuggle with for warmth and safety. They also derive their self confidence from the chicks they grow up with, and that bond lasts for life. A single chick would end up exactly like Poppy, a loner in the flock.

 

Poppy probably isn't as lonely as you think. She's content and secure in the flock in spite of not having any close buddies. And there's always the possibility that if she lives long enough, she might make friends with others in the flock as they age together. That's occurred in my flock. I have some seven and eight-year old hens who where picking on each other as youngsters who are now BFFs in their old age.

 

If you do decide to try raising a chick for Poppy, get at least three or four.

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