Adding only one chicken help!


7 Years
May 6, 2012
So, yes, I know adding just one chicken is not ideal, but a friend of mine had two of her chickens eaten by a dog and she was left with just one. She decided because she couldn't figure out how a dog kept getting in to just not have chickens for now. Well, even though I had HUGE misgivings about adding only one chicken, I took her. I have a flock of 3. They are a bit older. Well, I have been introducing her slowly. She has been in the coop, but in her own rabbit hutch. The first few days, I let her free roam a bit first, then put her back in, and let my 3 girls roam. After a few days of that, I let them free range together. My girls mostly ignored her. Every so often, my two barred rocks would chase her and threaten her a bit. The new girl would just take off running. It seemed like it wa getting better over the course of two days or so. I was thinking I could start thinking about putting her in the coop at night. Well, yesterday, while free ranging, she went into the coop and started eating...well, they weren't having it! They chase her out quick! I'm worried they will be too mean and not let her have food/water if she she is in the coop. My coop is fairly small and I'm worried about them being in there all together loose. It's been about a week and 3 long before i know she is safe? And any other tips for integrating? They haven't hurt her, or even really seemed pecky, except once. They more just bully her a bit. Not sure what is normal or not. I was thinking about removing one of the barred rocks for a day and seeing if I could upset the power balance, but I can't decide which one! They both seem to go after her equally. Thank you!
It sounds like they are being territorial. I have heard people suggest that relocating the coop and run (if possible) helps with territoriality issues. You also may have a space issue, if your coop is small. More space always (almost always) means less squabbling, if there is any way to expand your coop and/or run. It sounds like they haven't been together for too very long...sometimes it does just take time. Another method that some people utilize is taking your most docile hen from your existing flock and partnering her up with the new chicken - I am not sure if this would mess too much with the pecking order however - maybe someone who has done this can chime in. I'm trying to integrate some new pullets now so trust me, I feel your pain! Is there a way to make sure she has her own food and water for now, in her own space?
Yes, she has her own food and water when I close her up in the hutch, and my husband built a little cage with pvc and plastic netting for the times I want them out but don't feel like keeping my eyes out so much. I stick her in it with her own food and water. I do want to eventually make a bigger coop but my coop is really big enough for 4, especiallly since they free range 90% of the time. I just don't want to have her go in at night, be fine because they are sleepy and then, if I don't get out there at the crack of dawn (which I usually don't!) to let them out, my other girls might be mean before I get there! I integrated my two barred rocks with my orpington after she was left alone, (and I had NO idea what I was doing) but, the two against one and the fact that my orpington, while the leader rules pretty gently, it seemed fine right away. Thanks for the ideas, it hasn't been long, I just would love to get her out of the rabbit hutch.

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