Did I make a big mistake- One Wimpy Chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by libbyhan, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. libbyhan

    libbyhan Out Of The Brooder

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    New to chickens. We have 6 pullets (we HOPE!) that are outside in the coop. They are "free ranging" in the totally fenced back yard during the day. We do have a small run for them, but it's never really been finished and we just let them loose. Everyone seems happier like that. The yard is maybe 50 by 200 feet- small for us, nice for chickens. Thus far, they cannot/do not escape. We do let them out when we are home in the evening. They love that. The ticks do not. [​IMG]

    Here's a pic (before the finished coop)

    [​IMG]

    These outside chickens are 3 PR and 1 production red (my fav- already clucking and likes to try to roost on my shoulder) that are about 16 weeks old and 2 EE that are about 13 weeks old. The EE are on the bottom of the pecking order, but holding their own. The flock is almost always together- there is little stress. Even the dogs are OK. I should have stopped while I was ahead. [​IMG]

    But, Chicken math struck and we have 3 chicks inside- 2 are 7 weeks old, the other (Silvia) is 5 weeks old. This post is about Silvia.

    We have this great group outside and these three WIMPY chickens inside. Will I ever intergrate them? The inside crew consists of a TINY seabright bantam (who just starting clucking!) that is about the size of a dove and a frizzle mix standard that I was advised would be a nice body guard for the bantams- she's smaller then my PR chicks were. I think that these 2 will be OK- the seabright is quick and nimble and the frizzle is kind of a bad ass. They will stick together- they are maturing nicely and they are probably ready to go into a small crate in the coop. But, Silvia is holding me back.

    Was Silvia a mistake? She's a bantam silkie. She's slow on the uptake, slow to MOVE and, though the cutest chicken I have ever seen, seems to be dumb like a bag of rocks!!!! I mean this in the nicest way possible.

    Here's a pic from a few weeks ago:
    [​IMG]

    How will she ever make it? I don't want a house chicken- and she seems to want to BE a chicken and not a pet. But, I don't want her to suffer. We live in MA and the winters will be cold- the coop is small (the minimum size- 32 SF) and well insulated/ventilated and I can add a heat lamp. I will cover the run for them and hope that they get out as much as possible. I'm under the impression SPACE will help limit the stress.

    [​IMG]

    Since this above pic, her wing feathers are coming in and her "hat" has grown about 2 inches. She's ridiculous. There was no way I could leave without buying her. IMPULSE BUY.

    So, was Silvia a mistake? Can she survive with my normal, working chickens? Or, should I buy a nice purse to carry her around in? (kidding, sort of).

    Thanks!
     
  2. paddock36

    paddock36 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Silkie in with a bunch of Australop chicks that are all about 2 months old right now. The Silkie was hatched with them and stays right with them. I don't think it knows it's not an Australop.
     
  3. littlethorn

    littlethorn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a silkie in with the rest of my flock and I don't think they know it's a silkie either....and yes, mine is as dumb as a rock too [​IMG]
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I have two 6 week old silkies in with 11 (other breeds) layer chicks and 18 cornish Xs, all also 6 weeks old. The one silkie is dumb as a box of rocks. She prefers to hang with the meat birds, but is slowly realizing that she's a chicken. She does hold her own against the much larger meat birds.
    The other silkie has been out and free ranging with the layer chicks (and some of the meat birds) since he was 2 weeks old. For a chicken, he seems pretty intelligent. He's a great bug hunter.
    I'm slowly learning to treat the silkies as what they are, chickens. Playing it by ear and not borrowing trouble when there is none to borrow.
     
  5. libbyhan

    libbyhan Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Thank you all! I'm getting braver by the minute. The fact that Silvia is a bantam silkie is making things more intense for me. She seems really submissive to the other chicks-so hopefully she won't be a trouble maker.

    I might move them into the dog crate in the coop this weekend. The other 2 are ready. Silvia better start showing me she can survive!!!
     
  6. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Westford, MA
    We had a crevecoeur living indoors for half a year, and wanted to put her back outside with the existing little flock, a roo and 2 hens. Since they all picked on her mercilessly, the only way I could think of pulling this off was to slip her in with a batch of pullets, I decided to pick up a couple 6-8-week-old ameraucanas from a woman in town.

    Of course, "chicken math" kicked in, and I wound up with not only 3 (instead of 2) ameraucanas, but a cuckoo marans from the same batch, and a black silkie who was supposed to be about 5 months old and had the sweetest temperament. My rationalization was that the silkie looked kind of like a fluffy version of my crevecoeur, and she was all black, and maybe they'd bond and become BFF. [​IMG] (Basically, we'd just always wanted a silkie.) Several weeks into housing the new girls, it occurred to me that this precious little black silkie hadn't grown like a weed, unlike the pullets who were now even bigger than she was. Curious...

    Checked with the neighbor. Yep - Julia is a BANTAM silkie. But in a short period of time, she's worked her way into the middle of the pecking order, just below Blackie the crevecoeur (who used to the the whipping girl) and the established birds, but ABOVE all the now-larger pullets. She may be small, but she's not afraid of asserting herself and chasing off the larger ones when she wants her treats or a nice place to perch.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the cold. I'm on the MA/NH line, and yes, it gets very cold up here, but people assure me that silkies can handle the weather. If your birds are anything like mine, they'll hunker down inside during the coldest winter weather. If it's below 10 degrees, I often mostly-shut the run door anyway, and if they want to go out, they do - but they often don't bother. And they rarely want to be out in the snow. I close up the door to the run at night in the winter and open it in the morning, and on very cold days, keep the heat lamp on for a few hours. Plus there is a heater under the main waterer. She ought to be fine. And with time, she may get less wimpy. Good luck!
     
  7. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    I think they might be ok. I wouldn't put them all together until those three little ones were adult sized, or nearly adult sized. What I would do is put them in a little gated area so the others can see them, and get used to them without actually touching them....then, when you feel comfortable with the idea, free range them all together, then after about two weeks of that, put them in the coop together.

    It's Ok, during this whole process to put them in the coop with the others--just put them in a cage inside the coop, so they can see eachother but not beat the crap outta the little ones.

    You'll be surprised. Bantams are very ornery, and can hold their own usually with a full sized chicken.
     
  8. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Napoleon Complex. [​IMG]
     
  9. libbyhan

    libbyhan Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2010
    I like what I am hearing! Although, Silvia doesn't seem to have her little big man complex yet. I'll keep an eye out. I realized this am that we still have 8 more days of quarantine, too. So, they are staying put for another week anyhow.

    Swordgeek- I am in Lunenburg. It gets COLD here and I've already warned my husband that those chickies are coming in the basement if we get a below zero cold snap!
     
  10. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Libbyhan, the temp in Westford is about the same as Lunenburg. Is your coop insulated? Ours is, and the windows are draft-free. As I said, on the really frigid days, I close the trap door to the run. The birds don't like being cooped up (ha ha), but I feel better about it. I kept the heat lamp on inside during the day during the really cold times last winter, and had a timer shut it off about 6 PM every night. I have a remote thermometer inside the coop year-round, and even on the most frigid nights last winter (and we had several that went below 0), it never got below 20 inside the coop. So long as they don't get a draft, they're fine with that. Most people I know around here either don't heat their coops at all, or don't use more than a strong wattage light bulb during the day. My father's coop on Cape Cod was neither insulated nor heated, but his birds always survived. (Granted, it doesn't get as cold on the Cape, but it's a damp cold there.) The birds do a good job of huddling together and staying warm.

    The only time I was ever even remotely worried about them was during the December -08 Ice Storm from Hell, where we lost power for a long stretch of time. Not as long as YOU guys did, though! We were lucky that the weather was pretty mild, but it still got below freezing every day/night. I had to change the water a few times a day to make sure it didn't freeze, but otherwise, the birds were still fine. Doesn't stop me from feeling bad, but I'm a softy.
     

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