all but one chicken killed


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 22, 2011
Hi All~
Can you please help me with a question? We had 3 beloved chickens. Two were killed yesterday by the neighbor's dog who jumped out of her car window. They were not in their coop at the time. Our grief (my kids' and mine) is great. They were really special to us. The third- I just couldn't think of her being alone and made the decision to give her to a friend to be integrated into her flock- either permanently or as a foster chicken who may return to us. Now I'm finding it difficult to even go into the backyard without seeing my little friends who would always come running to me. Here are my questions:

1) If we were to get a couple of chicks, what is the chance that the lone one would be okay with them? (I understand that this is often difficult with an established flock. Would it be different b/c she is alone? Would she be more likely to accept them?)

2) Since we have summer plans, I think it would be best to wait to get more chicks (although the empty coop is killing me). Could I bring the other one back to our house at that time? Or would it be more successful for her to be here now and have new chicks immediately?

I realize that there aren't any definites here, but I'm searching for info on this and can't seem to find anything about introducing chicks to just ONE previously established flock member. Any help would be most appreciated.

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I wanted to say that I am very sorry for your loss.
You should get some new chickens, but I don't know how you are gonna handle the remaining chicken. It is amazing how attached we can get to something that is considered "Dinner" by so many.
I am so sorry for your losses

We too lost 2 out of our flock of 3 one week ago today actually. I do have a duck as well, so I brought her and the lone chicken into the house so I could treat the duck and the hen wouldn't be alone. My children and I were so attached to the buggers that we were devastated too. Cried for DAYS!
What helped us was that we went to Southern States and got 2 new chicks (the same breed as our favorite one that was killed, Golden Comet) and another duckling. Caring for new chicks has really helped with the grief. I also read to my sons the poem about "Rainbow bridge" which helped them deal with the loss as well.

As far as introducing new hens to a lone hen, I had the same questions you do and little information provided by my books! So we are "winging it"
It is my opinion that the lone hen will accept the newcomers. I started already by having them in a brooder (clear rubbermaid container) sitting close to the dog crate she was housed in while the duck was recovering from her injuries. She could see, smell (maybe??) and hear the babies which may help later on.

I have also read of people keeping one hen and spoiling her rotten, I think personally she needs feathered friends but she will manage for now until we get the babies big enough. I plan on putting them all together once the itty bitties get big enough. Slow introductions that are supervised!

If you are planning on going away for the summer, it may be less stress on her to leave her with her new flock and start with a whole new flock. She will adjust and pick up where she is in the hierarchy. To have her go through that and then weeks later have to do it all over again may be more stress than she needs. I have noticed that my hen is dealing okay. The duck is close by and they hang out during the day but at night she is alone in her house. They are surprisingly resilient.

Hope this helps, I always feel like I am making this up as I go.
Thanks, everyone. Somehow it makes me feel less crazy to know that others have the same attachment to their chickens. Ironically, I never even wanted chickens. I was totally against the idea b/c one of our dogs is a pit bull. My son lobbied for a solid year before I gave in. And slowly they won my heart. I walk past the coop and burst out in tears which is not like me. They were truly special animals.

Please keep me posted fifenashia about how it all works out. I know you'll feel happy to see her sleeping with others once again. I hope it is a smooth transition. Somehow it seems that they would welcome "siblings" after having been alone. It seems like putting the same number in that they were used to would not feel like the usual competition but just more like completion to them, but... not being a chicken myself, I don't know!
Sandy, that's my thought too. Perhaps by the time the new girls will be ready to join, she will welcome the company. I'll keep you updated

AND, I agree it's very helpful to know that others love these birds too. I was at work and would just break down. And still today when I open the fridge and see a full thing of eggs from those two I get all emotional. They are definitely special creatures.
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I've been in a similar situation with our chickens. We've had HEAVY losses our first year. I found a local woman and got 2 chickens that were at point of lay.... and introduced the 3 at night. My lone chicken wasn't thrilled at first, but she got over it. She was the lowest on the totem pole in her old flock and the queen bee of her new flock! Not to get too mushy, but it was actually great to see her become a leader and not a follower.

Sorry for your losses. It is hard on the kids, but they seem to recover quickly.
Be extremely careful about introducing chicks to an adult hen. There is the risk that she will attack and kill them, even if she is a lone chicken. Usually it's not recommended to integrate young birds with adults until they are about the same size.

It might not happen, but it could, and I wouldn't want you to have to go through more chicken tragedy. Sorry for your loss.
Thanks, Elmo. This helps. What is your opinion about bringing her back into the flock much later? Maybe the answer is that if she's doing well in her own flock we should let her be. If she's not, perhaps she would do better returning to her original place (here) with younger flock mates. I really appreciate everyone's insight and support. I wish I had joined this forum before this had happened but I'm glad to have found it. If it's meant to be I hope to be posting on happier matters one day. Just going grocery shopping last night was a horrid experience. It seems like every food reminded me of foods they loved or things that we liked to eat with their precious eggs. It will get better with time, I know.
Sorry for your loss. It has happened to me and it's pretty traumatic.

I think you should take your time to decide. You've been through a lot and it seems that you don't really need to decide anything right now other than knowing you'll get more chickens eventually - of course
. It is great that you have a temporary solution for your 1 hen, as that is the most pressing thing to figure out. After your vacation you may be in a better place to assess the situation.

Some things i would consider when your vacation is over are: how is the 1 hen doing at her new home? What would be best for her? If she is doing well, in a clean spacious coop and happy - I think I would leave her there. It is a big stress on a chicken to move around and be integrated into a new flock. Also, there is a chance you could introduce a disease to your flock even if your friend's chickens seem fine. I have personally found it stressful on ME to introduce new chickens - they almost always fight and it is hard to watch, and I worry about them when I first leave them together unattended. If you know your girl is in a good place, that combined with the new fuzzy butts will lift your spirits.

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