adding ONE chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PirateGirl, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    5,686
    13,895
    542
    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    I recently lost a chicken and of course have started thinking about a replacement, the breed possibilities are endless, but of course, I know it's not best practice to add just ONE chicken, but I do not want more than ONE (various reasons, but really I don't want to crowd the girls more than anything). So the question becomes can I add just ONE chicken, or am I best to leave things well enough alone and be happy with my existing flock size, 4 chickens, approximately 2 years old? Not only would getting a new chicken and a new breed be fun, but having a younger chicken in the flock would help with the egg production as well. A few thoughts... I could adopt a rooster in need of a flock (I know, no eggs, but I love the way my drake protects his ladies, and I'm a sucker for an animal in need of a home), but are 4 girls enough for him? Would my neighbors hate me? (roosters are permitted) I have a hen that is prone to going broody, could I stuff a lone chick under her to break her broodiness next time around? Would a single chick have a better shot of being accepted into the flock if it's broody raised? Or I could find a hen/pullet online at POL to integrate? Or I could leave well enough alone and be happy with the girls I have left at this time and wait to add a chicken until my numbers are lower or my coop/run is expanded? (I will not be offended if overwhelming advice is to NOT add a chicken) Any input is welcome. Any links to relevant threads to read through would be great. I know this is not a new question, but my search on BYC was not producing particularly relevant results.
     
  2. bantamsrmyfav

    bantamsrmyfav Free Ranging

    If it were me I'd get an egg or chick for that broody hen. Then you don't have to worry about finding a separate enclosure for an adult bird to quarantine.
     
    ChickenCanoe likes this.
  3. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

    53,760
    114,520
    1,687
    Aug 1, 2015
    My Coop
    I don't have a flock as small as yours, but I can say that in my own flock I have never had an issue integrating a single bird. Actually, it's easier, because they don't have a tendency to form groups and shun the main coop in favour of some cold tree branch like 5--8 birds do. I think that once I integrated a single hen into the main flock in three or four days, tops. I meant for it to be longer, but she escaped, ran straight to the big coop, and never looked back. :confused: I usually have 30--50 birds including quail and ducks. They all live in the same coop. Do you free range? If so, that would make integration a lot easier. 1 male/4 females could absolutely work... people do pairs and trios all the time. Your broody idea could also work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  4. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    5,686
    13,895
    542
    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Hmm... things to think about... I do have more birds, but the majority are ducks and they have their own space. I do not trust my drake with the chickens, he loves his ladies, but he would fight for them. We do not free range due to routinely visiting coyotes :( Thank you all for the input.
     
    BantyChooks likes this.
  5. Shamo Hybrid

    Shamo Hybrid Songster

    1,591
    1,733
    186
    Jun 6, 2018
    If you can convince (more like fool) the broody hen into believing that the newly acquired chick is hers, that would be the best case scenario in introducing a new member to the flock. The flock will know that it belongs to that momma hen and usually will leave it alone. Worse case scenario is momma hen rejects the little runt and you're left having to rear it yourself. I would go with an older pullet or hen and just let them sort things out on their own, usually after a day or two of squabbling, they will settle right in knowing each other's place on the totem pole. But then again you do have some chickens who will go after the other as if they've done them wrong in the past life and is now seeking revenge and won't leave it alone until one of them is dead! But I would rest assure, most of the time integration goes rather smoothly, at least for me it has been.
     
  6. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    5,686
    13,895
    542
    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Thanks! Yes I have integrated pullets before using a small cat crate within the run and for the most part things went smoothly, but I had a nightmare of duck integration this past summer so I know things don't always go smoothly or quite as planned.
     
  7. andreanar

    andreanar Crowing

    2,829
    4,798
    427
    May 16, 2014
    Finger Lakes, NY
    My integrations have been brutal! I would go the broody hen way. Let her sit on an egg for 20 days, then trade the egg for a chick in the night.
     
    PirateGirl likes this.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,562
    5,209
    476
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If you can get the single chick + broody hen which is the all time easiest way. I would put more than one chick under her, because your birds are getting old, and I would expect you to start loosing some of them. I know that many people on here have really old chickens, but... Course, if they don't die, then you have a problem.

    If you can't get the broody thing to work, then I would split a bird out of your current flock, and put her with the newbie. They will duke it out, but it will be one on one. Of course one has to come up with a second place, which can be problematic. After they get used to each other, you can try and add them back to the other three. Often times one of those will be violent, and you can put that one where you had the other two. Wait, let the three work it out, then add the bully back in.

    There is a great deal of difference in adding birds to a flock of 3-5, a flock of 12-15, and a flock of 50-60. The smaller flocks are much harder.

    Mrs K
     
    PirateGirl likes this.
  9. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    5,686
    13,895
    542
    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Thank you all for your input. I think if my hen goes broody at a time when chicks are available, this sounds like it may be my best bet. I know there are no guarantees, but last summer she went broody 3 times.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: