Adding to the flock - adults or chicks?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FriscoRaven, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. FriscoRaven

    FriscoRaven Out Of The Brooder

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    I currently have one Barred Rock hen about 22 weeks old. She is the lone survivor of a fox attack.

    I want to get her some company because she seems miserable and lost without her flock. But I'm at an impass as far as what to do. Should I get new chicks, or should I buy some older birds?

    I initially thought about just getting 2 new hens about the same age for a more immediate solution, but have been reading that I need to keep them isolated/quarantined for at least 30 days. This makes total sense, but I would also have to find a place to house them. I only have one coop and run; so I I think I'd have to construct something additional to either move the lone bird to, or for the newbies to stay in.

    So, if it's not such an immediate solution, would I just be better off with chicks? After 4 weeks, would they be big enough to mingle with the existing hen? She's a very friendly, docile bird.

    After my recent loss of 6 hens, I don't want to go through the struggle of possible disease in older birds either.

    I'm just wondering what you recommend, and any advice you could give. Thank you!
     
  2. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have found that barred rock hens are good adoptive mothers. We have had two hens called "Gruesome and Twosome" that hatched the same time. Twosome was an adoptive mother to some of our extra chicks, then she adopted guinea chicks. She passed away about 4 years or so ago, then Gruesome, her sister, became an adopted mother taking over her sisters duties with the guineas. Then Gruesome adopted turkey poults.

    Sadly this early year, Gruesome died, leaving us with no adoptee mammas.

    But they do like to be adoptive mothers. Get chicks. It will give her a chance to be mamma hen, and then she will be hen-boss when they get older. Make it easy for her, since she lost her buddies.
     
  3. FriscoRaven

    FriscoRaven Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your reply! These are my first chickens, so I'm very new to this. I assume with baby chicks they would still need a brooder for the first few weeks? The temperatures outside are much warmer than when I got my first chicks back in March, so I can't imagine I'd need a heat lamp for very long.
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have the room to set up the brooder in the coop that would be the way to go. If you have a screen in the brooder where they can see each other then they will already know each other when it comes time to let them mingle. The full six weeks till they are feathered would in my view be the youngest to try to let them mix. The older the better. When it comes time to integrate them, opening the brooder with a hole only the chicks can get through will give the chicks a safe haven.
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd get chicks; more fun, more choices, and no new diseases brought in. You will need a brooder and a heat lamp to raise day-old chicks, better done in a safe location where the hen can't interact with the setup, ESPECIALLY the heat lamp. If they can be next to each other, that would be best, but be careful about the light. Mary
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 13, 2011
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    I'd get chicks; more fun, more choices, and no new diseases brought in. You will need a brooder and a heat lamp to raise day-old chicks, better done in a safe location where the hen can't interact with the setup, ESPECIALLY the heat lamp. If they can be next to each other, that would be best, but be careful about the light. Mary
     

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