adopting an unsocialized lone hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dogdoc, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. dogdoc

    dogdoc Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2011
    Hello -

    I've run searches and I didn't see this topic come up - please direct me to a relevant thread if I missed it!

    I have a friend who hatched out one single surviving chick after losing power to the incubator. This hen is now 4.5 yrs old and has never seen another chicken in her entire life, living her days as an only backyard chicken. I'm betting she has absolutely no chicken social skills, but if I adopt her, will her instinctive social skills kick in, or will she be a big mess?

    I'm guessing she'll either be super aggressive/psychotic or be terrorized by the other chickens. But hopefully I'm wrong.

    I have an established backyard flock of 6 hens 2-3 yrs old, in a coop/pen but allowed to free range if we aren't on vacation.

    Has anyone had any experience with this scenario?

    Thank you!
     
  2. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,194
    28
    121
    Sep 27, 2014
    She will possibly run,or fight.I have never really had a hen that has a this.
    Birds are social animals.Parrots chickens Etc things in that order.Shell be social as well,accept for first introduction.

    ThePRfan:D
     
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Introduce her through the fence, in a crate in the coop, separated in the run etc. for a week. Let her get used to seeing and hearing others. She will want to be social fairly quickly once the shock wears off. You will see the social curiosity start as she watches and starts talking. She will have to fight for her position. It's ok she know that! Carry on!
     
  4. dogdoc

    dogdoc Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2011
    Thanks for the optimistic advice! I figure we'll do the standard separation in wire dog crate, block off part of the run etc for several days. Just don't know if she'll have underdeveloped wiring in the socialization part of her brain, like a refugee from a 1980s era Romanian orphanage.

    My hens are a pretty even tempered lot - the mean one got carried off by a hawk (karma!), and there's plenty of space to run away/hide, so hopefully there won't be too much drama.

    At least the quarantine part is already taken care of! Still, I'll check her over for external parasites first.
     
  5. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,784
    136
    228
    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    You are welcome! She'll need to stay in the coop/run for at least a week anyway so that she knows where "home" is. Hope she doesn't prefer outside roosting, that would be a pain. Good luck to you and happy joy to the new hen! [​IMG]
     
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,814
    4,271
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I've never read about a situation like this, either! It will be very interesting to hear your reports on how this unsocialized hen adapts. Please keep this thread updated!
     
  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,814
    4,271
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Sorry about this dupe. My 'puter crashed while I was posting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  8. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    305
    148
    Jun 10, 2014
    Generally, the more brain power an animal has, the less is hard-wired (and is instead learned). Chickens are pretty low on the brain-power scale - much of what they do is instinctual. She may be a bit flighty to start, but she'll figure it out.
     
  9. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,245
    800
    206
    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    I had to laugh about the "brain power" comment! So true! I think she'll be fine given time to adjust. Most of what my chicks learned, they learned without observing older hens. I've even had a few neighborhood strays come and roost in my trees just to be near my chickens. I had one that was being mean to them, so I chased her off. She kept coming back and eventually was adopted and gets along well with the other now.

    Keep us up to date! I think your story will have a happy ending.
     
  10. dogdoc

    dogdoc Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2011
    I'm liking the continued positive outlooks! Your reasoning about being hard-wired makes sense. I always tell people that they are really bad at problem solving (e.g. figuring out how to go around something) but they are really good at being chickens.

    I do need to cull one hen :-O - I figure it will be a good time to introduce a new hen during the social reshuffling/confusion that happens afterward, especially since the hen who will be (gently and respectfully) dispatched is currently the boss.

    I'll keep you updated! This won't happen until the end of this month at the earliest when we get back from a trip.

    Thank you!! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by