Advice on purchasing adult hen (s) ?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gr8lakesgrrl, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Gr8lakesgrrl

    Gr8lakesgrrl New Egg

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    Sep 30, 2010
    Hello, I'm new here and wondering if someone can point me to some good advice on the forum or elsewhere regarding what to look for, and look out for, when purchasing an adult hen.

    I'm looking at a 1.5 year old Rhode Island Red to keep company with the existing Plymouth Rock hen, Spot. Spot had a couple of friends but they were killed by a predator. [​IMG] We didn't think she'd make it but she's coming around and growing new feathers like mad! [​IMG] Now we are concerned that she is lonely, reinforcements have been made to the pen and we are looking for a friend for her. Any suggestions on things to look out for and best ways to introduce hens would be welcome and appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
  2. JROOSTER

    JROOSTER Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] You want to look for healthy birds, you will need to keep them in quarantine for at least a month. If it was me I would get day old chicks like 5 just in case a few die and raise them up. good luck with whatever you do. Im sure more people will come by with more advice.
     
  3. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

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    My Coop
    This year was my first try at purchasing started pullets (at the point of lay). I found them at a local feed store - I made sure they were vaccinated, very important! They're RIR/Orp's and they have worked out nicely.

    I kept them seperated for a few weeks. Then I let the existing flock see the 2 new girls through a fence for a few days. Next I let them free range together. They will need to establish a pecking order (this will happen each time a new member of the flock is added). It can get quite rough but dont interfere unless they are really making each other bleed. And you may not like which hen ends up being boss but that's chicken society... it's brutal at times [​IMG]

    There are pros and cons to each option - chicks or pullets. Have you considered having her hatch out a few eggs? You wouldn't need to worry about fighting or disease. I live in Maine so it would not be the right weather for raising chicks here, but if you are in a warmer climate it could work.

    I hope you find the right option for your needs [​IMG]
     
  4. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I purchased all my org flock from the same person (12 total) and lost 7 over the past yr.. Not from predators but from illness. I purchased two BC Marans to add to the 5 that were left. I quarantined them for 35days. I dusted & wormed them. I tried to handle them every day. Then I moved them into the coop in a large cage and divided the run so each morning , they could go out and be next to the big girls but they couldn't peck or fight. After two weeks, I let them into the same run and they are roosting in the coop but not near the big girls (lol)..

    I also purchased eleven -3 week old true Ameraucana chicks, that are now 11 weeks old.. I really like the chicks, and have handled them from the beginning so they wouldn't be wild like the Marans are. BUT it will be several more months before they can go into the big girls coop. And I have 4 KNOWN roos (and maybe more), that I will have to find a place for ... Leaving me w/ only a handful of Ameraucana pullets..

    Just thought I would share my experience..
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I have added adult hens to my flock a couple of times and never had any problems, and if you have a single adult hen, I think that you should get adult hens asap, cause they are a flock animal. It sounds like you just want a few hens, so I would get one or two, add them after dark to the coop, and get ready to collect eggs shortly after that.

    If you only have 1 hen left, well, I would not worry so much about introducing a disease. Might be a bigger problem of your hen, getting the new ones sick? Is she really well?

    But all in all, many people here have very valuable flocks, with time and money invested. Others get very very attached to their birds, and so do not care to risk a disease. For me, they are chickens, and I have several times introduced hens and got by with no problems. Your call. I would worry more about introducing chicks, as they will be no company to your hen for months, and they are much more fragile to disease, than a full grown hen is.

    But hens are happier in a flock, and a flock is more fun to watch. As for handling them to make them friendly, mine are quite friendly, they know who brings the treats, and follow me, and collect around my feet. They don't get in my lap, but that is ok, I would not like them there, but I can catch them if I need to.

    Just a different point of view

    MrsK
     
  6. Gr8lakesgrrl

    Gr8lakesgrrl New Egg

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    Sep 30, 2010
    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies! I've been extra busy at work the last couple of days and unable to check back.

    Mrs. K, you are correct, my friend only had a small flock and now that she is down to one, we really feel strongly that she needs company. She doesn't have much invested into it yet so there's not much to lose, but we will be sure to check and see if the new hen is vaccinated.

    The existing hen, Spot, was the victim of a predator attack but otherwise seems perfectly healthy so I don't think she is going to make the new bird sick. With just the two hens, they aren't really a flock yet so it will be interesting to watch their dynamics. Hopefully they will get along okay.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I missed the part about a predator, I was thinking it was an illness. You should have no problem.
     

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