Advice for Newbie

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ewokelise, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. ewokelise

    ewokelise Hatching

    Feb 4, 2017
    Hi chicken folk!

    I've found myself in need of some advice. I recently, last week, built (read:had my boyfriend build) a pretty sweet chicken coop. It could house about 6 hens. We live on an acre, so we thought we'd get some chickens and let them free range. We wanted to start with a manageable amount of chickens, so we got 2. We got them all situated to their coop.

    Now one is sick. I've separated them. I'm treating the sick one as best I can, but reading through the disesases thread, I know I should prepare myself for her passing. :( Fingers crossed though! I now realize that 2 is too small a number, in case one gets sick. The healthy one is left alone. Poor things!

    Anyway, I plan on getting 3-4 more hens, to be friends with my lone lady. I want advice on how to quarantine them. Should I put the new chickens in temporary housing for a month, it is quite small? Or should I remove my lone lady from her mansion coop and put her in temporary housing while I put the newcomers in the big coop? Is quarantine really necessary when I've only got one hen anyway?

    I'd appreciate any advice you've got!

  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    I am sorry your bird is ill. The answers to your questions will depend in large part on what ailment your bird has -- can you share with us the symptoms that she is showing? Certain illnesses that are flocks are prone to can be highly communicable and can remain present in the ground and enclosures used to house birds long after the removal of any symptomatic birds - meaning that it could infect any new birds brought into the environment. There may be disinfection steps that need to be taken before you think about brining new birds into the picture. Also, even though the second bird is not currently showing symptoms, there are many ailments that it is possible for her to "carry" without showing symptoms which could put new birds at risk as well. Getting a firm diagnosis of what you are dealing with is going to be key in moving forward.
  3. ewokelise

    ewokelise Hatching

    Feb 4, 2017
    The sick hen just passed away. I'm not exactly sure what ailment she was suffering from. Here were her symptoms: diarrhea, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Its probably important to note that she was brought to us by a family member, who drove both hens to us from Lousiana (we live in California) the entire trip was about 30+ hours. She was healthy before the trip, so whatever illness she had may have been brought on by stress. I doubt it was egg bound, as I examined the area and there was no egg. It could have been sour crop as her mouth smelled spoiled. We helped her vomit, but there was no improvement after that. Her breathing seemed normal. From reviewing the disease forum pretty thoroughly, it seemed as though once you notice your hen is sick, its hard to treat them back to good health. Very sad. :(

    The other hen seems very healthy. I can get more hens as early as tomorrow (only about a ten minute drive away), but I'm not sure about how to house them. How long can a hen stay alone until they start to get lonely?
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Even if they are lonely, they won't take to new chickens easily. I think I would try and add two new birds, about equal size and age as the remaining bird. I agree with you, quarantine to protect a single bird is probably not necessary. The fact that she stayed healthy while the other one passed is a pretty good sign, I think. I would be willing to risk it. Make sure that the birds coming is are healthy, and check them for parasites and do not take anything you feel sorry for, even if you remaining bird has to be alone for a while.

    If you can only get younger birds, if they are just a little bit smaller, get three birds. If they are baby chicks, you will need to split off a section so as to have a see but not touch pen in your set up. Older birds can be heartless to baby birds, and sometimes will kill them.

    In your run, make sure that you have some hide outs, a pallet up against a wall. Maybe a small wall in the middle of the pen or in one corner, so that a feed bowl can be behind it and out of sight of the other feed area. These will help with integration issues.

    Good luck,

    Mrs K

    ps, I can't imagine bringing chickens in a car from Louisiana to California! wow!
    2 people like this.

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