Adopted a new girl today - Questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Backyard Buddies, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I went to the feed store for organic lay feed today and came home with a new chicken instead. [​IMG] I have some questions about her and about eventually blending her with my current flock.

    I have two girls (EE and RIR) who were raised together along with another RIR who passed away in January. The girls in the original flock are now almost 4.5 years old. They were raised by hand and are very friendly, snuggly girls.

    I didn't intend on coming home with a new chicken. When they were out of my usual feed, I bought just enough lay crackles to hold me over until my usual feed comes in later in the week. I got to talking with the guy about my flock and mentioned the girl we lost in January. He asked if I wanted another chicken and that they happened to have a real sweet girl in the back. I paid for my stuff and went to visit, just because I love chickens. [​IMG]

    Anyway, she was a really sweet RIR probably younger than a year old. Within minutes she was eating out of my hand. We decided to bring her home, where we have a playhouse/coop where she could live while we keep an eye on her health. While setting things up, she laid an egg in the transport box! She let me hold her and pet her for a bit and appeared to settle in really well.

    As dusk was setting in, she got nervous, started pacing, and didn't appear to want to go into the coop. When I reached in to direct her toward the door, she bit me! She then roosted on the top of the open door rather than going inside (she had been in and out all afternoon). When I reached for her, she bit me again. I eventually got her inside, but now I'm worried. Did I just adopt an aggressive bird or did she bite because she was spooked?

    How long does it take to determine whether she's going to fit in with my other girls? I don't want to keep her in quarantine for a whole month only to find she's a poor fit with my current flock. How long does it take for an adoptee to adjust?
  2. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    I would imagine that she bit you because she's scared and in a new, unfamiliar place and roosting alone. Even my sweetest lap chickens will occasionally bite me when I startle them accidentally, especially around dusk when they're settling down, but a little bit disoriented.

    You might not like this recommendation, but here goes...

    I have found that introducing a single chicken to an established flock (even if the established flock is just two chickens) is extremely difficult and they never seem to be fully integrated. Even once the "getting-to-know-you" harassment is over, the 'new' chicken always seems to be lonely, will wander by themselves, roost by themselves, just never really become part of the gang.

    I would recommend getting another chicken of about the same age (same size is most important) of your new girl and quarantine them together, they'll bond and when you introduce your original girls there will be some grumpiness between the two groups to establish the pecking order, but there won't be the singling out and bullying you'll have with introducing just one girl.

    Just my two cents!
  3. aubreynoramarie

    aubreynoramarie designated lawn flamingo

    May 27, 2010
    Reno, Nevada
    Quote:I agree whole heartedly. I had two girls, an re and a mgr. I got a silkie to finish off my flock but she was having major integration issues. So I went and got a barred rock and introduced them together and had no further issuesÂ…
  4. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I understand completely what you guys are saying about integrating a single girl into a flock of two. If we decide to keep her, I'll look for another girl to add along with her. However, I'm not yet convinced that she doesn't have some aggression issues. When I went in to get her egg today, she appeared to charge me. She never got close enough to do anything to me because I lifted my arm and she backed off. I need to give her a little bit more time to show whether she's even friendly enough to be a pet chicken, which is what the other two are. She may be better off in a flock intended for eggs only. She's a GREAT layer!

    If anyone has any ideas of how to test or adjust for aggression, I'd love to hear them.
  5. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Charlotte was much better today. Today I spent some time with her through her enclosure. I fed her goodies through the fence, but from where she couldn't take any nibbles on my fingers. I sat with her and chatted with her, getting down to her level and trying to bond with her face to face. I also fed her a tomato by hand inside her run without problems. She went into her coop tonight on her own without me having to remove her from the top of the coop door. I hope that means we're making progress. [​IMG] I'm still not sure what direction this will go, but I'm willing to give her the time to adapt before calling it quits. If it continues to go well, I'll find a friend for her before introducing her to the other girls. They've been able to see her when they're outside. So far they're completely unimpressed. [​IMG]
  6. beachchickie

    beachchickie Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    This is one of those ya never know kinda things. I have always introduced no less than 4 together so they would have a flock to run with. Once I got 4 babies about 1 mo old 3 turned out to be roosters so I had to get rid of them and that left 1 female with a flock of 4 that grew up together. They were mean to her at first but once she began to lay things settled down and now she is at the top of the pecking order.

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