Adding a hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mrs918, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. mrs918

    mrs918 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 14, 2011
    spokane,wa
    Right now we have four almost five month old girls, theyve been laying for a little over a week now, and are such sweet birds. I however have been wanting a silkie since I started thinking about chickens.....and now I've found one. About a year old. My dh thinks its a very bad idea to add another hen right now, and thinks we need to wait until spring.

    So what's your expert thoughts? Is now vs later or later vs now better? I will get my silkie, its just a matter of when;)
     
  2. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    You'll probably have trouble adding just one to your flock, especially a breed that looks so different from them. I have 4 Isa Brown hens and they picked on my new silkies really badly for quite a while. The more you add, the more distributed the abuse is. They will all gang up on a new lone chicken.
     
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  3. HenniePennie2

    HenniePennie2 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2010
    Oregon
    In my experience of adding a sister to my flock I have added from 1 to several at a time. Always add them after it gets dark (chickens are blind in the dark). When it's time to get moving in the morning they see there is an addition, they will just go about their business and the pecking order may or may not adjust. My experience with silkies is that they pretty much keep to themselves. In the past I have had only one silkie and she did her own thing all day. She was the sweetest of the 'girls' and when I brought in new chicks I would give them to her and she was so happy to be an adoptive mom. One year I got 6 or 7 new chicks (standard breeds) and she mothered and protected all of them. It was pretty funny to see all of them get under her wings at nap and night time.
    I lost her last year so this year I got 2 and am looking very forward to see what sex they are & see their personalities.

    In my opinion you can add any hens at pretty much any time (as long as they are not new chicks).

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2010
    Younger hens may be more accepting of a new hen, but as far as adding a silkey to a flock of layers I had no luck and the poor silkies did not appeciate my efforts to give them "friends". I did however mannage recently to get the silkies in with a bunch of 2 month old chicks and turkeys.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I added one to my flock & I promise you I'll never ever do that again.
     
  6. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    The best thing to do is set up a smaller coop and find 3 nice Silkie hens to occupy it!
     
  7. mrs918

    mrs918 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 14, 2011
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    Wow.... So does the behaviors of my current flock at all matter on how they would accept a silkie? I ask because they have never displayed any aggresion towards each other, or my dogs. I had planned on keeping them in separate cages for a few weeks, but next to each other so they could see each other, and after a week or so let them free range together so they could work things out in a large area....then after time move them together.

    Am I still completely off base here?
     
  8. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Yes and no. The new hen will be seen as an intruder. She will definitely be the lowest ranking hen and if very fluffy headed, may have a hard time seeing the other chickens warning her or coming after her. She will NOT be able to outrun them. All of your hens will give her a hard time. How much of a hard time is unknown. Will they actually hurt the new hen or just harass her? We don't know for sure.

    As dianaross77 pointed out, adding one hen is always a concern. It is easier to add hens in twos or threes than to add one at a time. And with hens picking on each other, size can matter.

    We aren't saying it can't be done. We are saying you may be very frustrated with the process and frustrated with your current hens when they turn "mean" with your little silkie.

    Hen pecking order is very real. Your girls already have it worked out among them, they have been working it out in small ways since the day they all were placed together in your care. When you disturb that, things can happen.

    Just some things to consider.
     
  9. mrs918

    mrs918 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 14, 2011
    spokane,wa
    Thanks emys.....it definetly gives me things to consider. I know the pecking order is a big deal (I've lived with up too five bull breed dogs) and grew up with horses.....so I don't take that lightly. I was just thinking that if I took it slow enough, and added lots of hiding/getaway places, I could work things out. I would add two if I could...but I'm sure dh would have my head [​IMG]

    Gives me lots to consider though, thanks!!
     
  10. kidsnchicks

    kidsnchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Does the adding to the flock go basically the same for ducks? We have had our current crew for a little over a year now and finally had an intruder, (big coon) he has wiped out 1/2 our hens and he got our male duck! We are getting more hens, aprox the same age as ours but want to get a few ducks for our lone girl. Will she be the odd man out even tho she is in her home space? We have gotton rid of the coon and did some tweaking to the run,so hopefully all is well now.
     

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