Anyone have a small flock?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CheekyChooks, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. CheekyChooks

    CheekyChooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    Hi, I had to give away some of my chickens because they turned out to be roos and were finding their voices. Some nice people came and picked them up but then I felt bad they were going alone to a strange flock/home so pack a hen in with them too.

    Now I'm left with Molly the L/F Buff Orp and 'Mini Moll' the silkie/light sussex bantam mix. They are doing fine now even though there is just the two of them.

    If I were to get a POL L/F Orpington hen to join them do you think they would welcome making up the numbers or would all hell brake loose? I don't want to jeapodise their happiness but I also feel like they would feel alot more happier and safer with another 'bod' around to make up the numbers.

    Molly and Mini Mol are currently in a 7ft by 4ft run/coop with free access to free range in my large back garden. I don't close them in anymore except when they take themselves to bed at about 8 o' clock because they are very well behaved in the garden and enjoy pottering around. Every night they go to bed without fail and without any encouragement and I just go and lock the door. They are the most well behaved 'pets' I've ever had.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  3. Flockstar

    Flockstar Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    Nice to hear that they are doing well though! Big flocks are hard to take care of. I have three chickens so they never get lonely but two chickens are good because they have companionship [​IMG] You could get an orpington hen but yeah it would take a while for the previous chickens to get used to the new one, it's natural territorial behavior. But yes, quarentine the new one
  4. newchickgal

    newchickgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2009
    Republic of Panama
    I have a flock of two hens. They are happy and contented, even though I started out with six- day old chicks (Jan. 13th) they don't seem to miss anyone! I pared it down to the two when I could tell who was a roo.
  5. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    There would be the usual fighting,but hopefully things would tone down. I went from 3 red sex link to 8. I added my dd's class EE's(5) and a roo. I miss just having 3.I had to kill one of the 3 RSL due to illnes.

    Me, I would stick with 2,but you COULD add.Just keep it alone for a while.My roo made my girls sick and he still never got sick.
  6. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lantana, Florida
    I had only ONE lone hen for almost 9 years, after a dog killed her companions. She was a great hen, and she attached to all the family members and dogs and cats as her replacement flock! Didn't seem to miss any other chickens, since there was always activity around home to keep her watching us. She'd run up to the car whenever I came home! So I think your two should be fine, unless you want to add another.

    I now have 7 hens and another is going broody - as said in earlier post, a larger flock is a lot of work! But I really enjoy them [​IMG]
  7. Pam_x

    Pam_x Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2011
    Hi there i only have 2 hens on my backyard, i would like more but garden not big enough ~ your two sound like mine happy to potter around and go to bed on time lol although one of mine has started to become a bit noisey, don't know why, but if you have a large back garden it sounds like you have lots of room for more, so if you get some i hope all gose well...
    pam x
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are a couple of things to consider, other than quarantine. A flock is territorial. They will defend their territory from an intruding chicken. But if they feel that chicken belongs, they don't worry about it. Sometimes, maybe even often, a new chicken in your circumstances would be automatically accepted as one of the flock, but sometimes they will not automatically accept her. You can overcome this tendency to a huge extent by housing them where they can see each other but not get at each other for about a week.

    The other issue is the pecking order. Chickens are social animals but they need a flock structure for the flock to get along peacefully. Like a herd of cows or a pack of wolves, they determine this social order, usually by physical means. Once it is settled, they live together peacefully, but sometimes it is very violent getting to that peaceful condition.

    What often happens is that the chickens pretty quickly recognize their place in the social order. The more dominant pecks the weaker, the weaker runs away, and the social order is set. If they cannot quickly realize which one is dominant, they may fight. Again, the winner usually becomes apparent pretty quickly and when they fight, the fights involve a lot more chasing and running away than actual violence. Don't expect the dominance to be settled by size either. It is the spirit of the chicken that counts, not physical size. Sometimes evenly matched chickens will fight violently.

    They are living animals, each with their own personality. Sometimes the entire integration process goes so smoothly you wonder what all the worry was about. Sometimes chickens get seriously injured or die during this process. Many of us integrate all the time and seldom have serious problems, but I cannot guarantee you what will happen in your specific situation. I think you have one big factor in your favor. You have quite a bit of room so a chicken can run away if it wants to. Violence is more likely when they are crowded.

    I'd suggest that you do get another one. They are social animals and really feel better in a flock. Two is fine, unless something happens to take one away. Then you are left with an emergency. A third hen would be insurance against that possibility. You may get a situation like NanaLantana where the hen accepts you and other animals as her flock, but if someone is not around all day, she may pine away and be very stressed. I would get a third hen.

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