Adding a new chicken to a very small flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hishigata, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two chickens, an ameraucana and a lakenvelder. I recently lost my third hen to fowl pox and heat exhaustion. The other hens miss her and now that the flock is down to only two the girls scream like crazy when the other hen is out of sight. This is especially problematic when the other hen is trying to lay her egg. I think a third hen would be good to keep the non-layer company but it seems new adult birds are difficult to successfully introduce.

    I realize I need to get a vaccinated hen since my current hens are pox carriers. I do not have room for a lot of hens. Can I add just one? My lakenvelder can be aggressive but she is small. I am considering getting a red sex-link of the same age as my current birds from a local feed store. My ameraucana is very sweet and smart I am less worried about her reaction.

    Any advice on how to add to a small flock?
     
  2. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you can do it, carefully. Make sure you quarantine the new girl, just in case. It might actually be better to get two new girls, and let the whole flock figure out the dynamics. The two can keep each other company in quarantine, and then will have a more even balance when introduced to the old girls. I've had success, in a small flock, introducing just one, but it is harder. I always have a cage within the run, where after quarantine the new ones and old ones can interact without getting too close. After a few days, they are released to run with the established flock.
     
  3. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    You could, but I wouldn't, I'd add two that are already buddies. You must quarantine any new chickens that come in the flock for 30 days. This stops any diseases spreading to your existing flock. The other two will bully and pick on the new one. If you add two, the older ones will feel more intimidated.

    Also when you add a new hen, make sure it's the same size and not a baby chick. Otherwise you'll end up with dead baby chick/s.

    I integrate by adding a barrier inside the coop(I use a wire dog kennel) and I put the youngsters in as soon as they feather since I buy them very young or hatch them. I won't let the newcomers on the roost until they are the same size(3-4 months old). I keep them in the house for a minimum of 30 days(quarantine time).

    I've integrated 4 times now. I keep adding 3 at a time. My oldest 5 do not have any issues anymore with integration, but one of the 3 I bought in March has issues with the new ones and she bullies a little, but not too badly.

    When I integrate, I keep my eye on them. I know from experience how well it will go.

    Good luck. Sometimes it will go very smoothly other times not. My coop is 9ft tall and fits the kennel well. If I couldn't use a kennel, I'd frame off an area in the coop with chicken wire.
     
  4. AlicesSilkies

    AlicesSilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am talking from past expierence, i had an original flock of 5, i then introduced 2 more and then introduced another 3, the biggest problems are the difference in size, i think you should get a breed that is bigger than your other 2.
    Also i would get 2 more, introducing one on its own, might be ok, but it would get picked upon alot more.
    When you first introduce them, people say you should leave them to it, however i sat with them, and when one chicken came over for cuddles it would get to know the new birds. I think that this helped alot.
    Good luck, if you need anymore advice your welcome to pm me.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Ivytwilight

    Ivytwilight Out Of The Brooder

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    I hope you all don't mind if I tag my own question onto this thread. I was going to post a very similar question. We have a very small flock, only 3 Dominique hens, about 4 months old. The reason we got the Dominique hens was because of their foraging abilities and we had a scorpion problem. ( Not important to my question but since having them forage we haven't seen another scorpion, Ya! ^^) Both my husband and I have become really fond of the chickens and enjoy having them around. I have wanted a Silkie hen for a number of years, but after research we decided they wouldn't be the chickens for the foraging job, but now we were thinking of adding one hen to our three Dominique ladies. So, is it really not recommended to add just one bird to a small flock? The Silkie hens are at our local feed store and are of the same age, or older than our girls. The Silkies are also slight bigger than our Dominiques.
    We would really prefer to only have four birds and not five, which is why we were only looking to get one more hen. Our coop and run are on the small side. It is a combination and could hold around six chickens.
    Our three girls are all very friendly, frankly I have never seen them peck at each other. I have actually never seen them take a peck at one another. The only thing I notice is the one girl eats faster than the other two, but they never squabble over food or treats. Once in awhile they will chase one another if one of them finds a large grasshopper and decides not to share. But there is no fighting. They are pretty peaceful birds. So, if you ask me who the top hen is I actually wouldn't know. Would it be okay to add a Silkie around the same age and size? I was thinking I could let the Silkie out with them while they forage (giving plenty of yummy treats) while supervise for a time before allowing her into the run and coop...or would it just be a bad idea altogether just to add one Silkie? I would hate to see all hell break loose and have my peaceful hens turn into bullies. I have heard that Dominiques can be bullies o_O
    [​IMG]
    Otto (the dog) and Furbush playing ball in the yard with one another.
     
  6. AlicesSilkies

    AlicesSilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Your dog and chicken look so happy!
    I would definatley recomend getting another chicken, however, get 2 silkies so they can share the bullying for a bit. Also they can get quite cold at night, so make sure it is nice and warm in the coop.
    Have fun, and good luck!
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice. I think general consensus is that a single addition is not a great idea. As a result, I plan on getting one new easter egger and a partridge rock when I return home from traveling. I can keep them inside with me until they are fully feathered and commensurate in size with my current hens for introduction. Your advice has been great. I'll update when things have progressed.
     
  8. Dee Dee 2

    Dee Dee 2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How do you add baby chicks to a flock of 6 hens and a roo.
     
  9. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update!

    I have two new chicks a barred rock, Nutmeg, and Gold Laced Wyandotte, Pumpkin, who are currently living inside. They are just over a month old and getting feisty and curious. I want to wait until they are about the same size as my current girls before starting the soft introduction. My biggest concern is the new birds are not vaccinated for fowl pox and my other girls have had it. Should I vaccinate the new girls? If so, how and at what age should I do that? Thanks!

    Here are some cute new chick pictures:


    [​IMG]
    Nutmeg (left) and Pumpkin (right) explore the bathroom


    [​IMG]
    Nutmeg being a camera hog, but so cute!
     
  10. Ivytwilight

    Ivytwilight Out Of The Brooder

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    Nutmeg and Pumpkin are soooo cute!!!!!! I hope all goes well!
    Well, I decided to go ahead and get two silkies, but when I returned to the feed store there was only one, lonely little mutt of a non bearded silkie left huddled in the corner....I couldn't just leave her. It was the eyes!! So fricken cute. I kept her completely separate from the other three chickens for 30 days, for quarantine. I am trying to introduce her to the other girls slowly...she is significantly smaller than the Dominique girls. She is fine going out and foraging with them, but they won't let her too close. She goes out every afternoon until dark and has become somewhat of an indoor outdoor chicken for the time being.
    I am wondering if this is a bad idea...I have the 3 Doms, but the one has become excessively loud in the morning and I am looking to rehome her for the sake of my neighbors and my mental health. She is also the most aggressive about chasing the little silkie.( She is third in the pecking order of the three Doms) When she is gone will the behavior of the other two Doms change? Will they be more willing to accept another chicken, less accepting, or does it not really matter at all? (Or will removing the loud third cause the other two to have a melt down, because she is beyond crazy loud and there have been a time or two I thought about making her dinner she upsets me so much.) I much prefer Squeakers and hope after a time she can remain outside full time with the big girls.
    [​IMG]
    Squeakers helping me carve a pumpkin for Halloween.
    She was more of a help with clean up than anything else. ^^
     

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