Friends for my disabled hen- need advice

Keeper

Chirping
May 13, 2015
48
23
59
Blanchard, Washington
Hello, Peeps! Need an opinion on providing companionship for my mobility-challenged chicken.

Cordelia is a Black Copper Maran, can walk and even run if she's really motivated, but with difficulty and doesn't do it very often, or quickly. She doesn't roost. The vet says there is nothing we can do and she is not in pain.

The rest of the flock bullies her so I separated her with one very mellow, docile chicken who became her friend, but recently died.

My plan is to get a couple of adult silkie hens. Silkies sometimes prefer to "pile" rather than roost, and bear confinement well, right? I've never had bantams before. I am looking for mellow, sweet birds who will be happy to hang out with Cordelia in a 4x8 indoor area in the winter, sleep with her, not bully her and hopefully make friends.

Does Silkie sound like the best breed? My plan is to get two but would one be better? Hoping for mellow, not flighty or skittish birds. Planning on trimming their crests so they can see. Would it be better to get birds that can fly, in case she tries to bully them? She's always been one of my more mellow, friendly chickens, but of course there will be an adjustment period.

Thanks!
 

penny1960

Yippity do Da Yippity ay
Premium member
Dec 29, 2015
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Mossyrock, WA
Hello, Peeps! Need an opinion on providing companionship for my mobility-challenged chicken.

Cordelia is a Black Copper Maran, can walk and even run if she's really motivated, but with difficulty and doesn't do it very often, or quickly. She doesn't roost. The vet says there is nothing we can do and she is not in pain.

The rest of the flock bullies her so I separated her with one very mellow, docile chicken who became her friend, but recently died.

My plan is to get a couple of adult silkie hens. Silkies sometimes prefer to "pile" rather than roost, and bear confinement well, right? I've never had bantams before. I am looking for mellow, sweet birds who will be happy to hang out with Cordelia in a 4x8 indoor area in the winter, sleep with her, not bully her and hopefully make friends.

Does Silkie sound like the best breed? My plan is to get two but would one be better? Hoping for mellow, not flighty or skittish birds. Planning on trimming their crests so they can see. Would it be better to get birds that can fly, in case she tries to bully them? She's always been one of my more mellow, friendly chickens, but of course there will be an adjustment period.
Thanks!

Silkies are your good choice I think you are here in Washington right we have a state thread with silky people in it where you could get younger birds
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...me-together-washington-peeps.717207/page-4299
 

N F C

to infiniti & beyond
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Dec 12, 2013
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Sorry to hear about Cordelia. I've never raised Silkies so can't say how that would work out.

We used to have a "special needs" RIR named Taylor. It wasn't safe for Taylor to be in with the rest of our flock so we set up her own mini-run and coop on the other side of the flock's run (with plenty of fencing between them). That way Taylor could be outside when the other girls were and when it was time to go to bed, she went into the coop through her own pop door and slept safely behind fencing next to the others. It worked well for her (and us). I just mention it in case that's something that might work for your Cordelia.

Best wishes that all works out well for both of you!
 

Keeper

Chirping
May 13, 2015
48
23
59
Blanchard, Washington
Hi! Thanks for your reply, sounds like you have a great set up.

We have kind of done the same thing. Our hen house is pretty big so we cordoned off almost half with wire mesh. When the chickens are inside she can see and hear them, but not really interact, you know? I set up her own run, also connected to the big run, but she never uses it. I think she has too much trouble getting in and out. I've tried all sorts of different ramps and things, but she doesn't like them.

I think living with the other hens helps, but can tell she is still lonely, as they are outside a lot of the time. I'm thinking this winter she might get cold at night, as well, without shared body heat.
 

N F C

to infiniti & beyond
Staff member
Premium member
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Dec 12, 2013
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Hi! Thanks for your reply, sounds like you have a great set up.

We have kind of done the same thing. Our hen house is pretty big so we cordoned off almost half with wire mesh. When the chickens are inside she can see and hear them, but not really interact, you know? I set up her own run, also connected to the big run, but she never uses it. I think she has too much trouble getting in and out. I've tried all sorts of different ramps and things, but she doesn't like them.

I think living with the other hens helps, but can tell she is still lonely, as they are outside a lot of the time. I'm thinking this winter she might get cold at night, as well, without shared body heat.
That was the beauty of the run for Taylor being up against the other girls run...they could see each other and sometimes her old buddy that was a chick at the same time as Taylor would lay on one side of the run right next to Taylor.

When cold weather came (and north FL can get down to freezing), Taylor had a heat lamp set up high out of her reach that warmed up her little 'coop' at night. Plus, I piled her straw bedding up high so she could snuggle down into it.

Maybe the Silkie idea would work for you. If it doesn't, you'd have a couple new birds anyway. Silkies are supposed to be great broodies so if you ever thought of hatching fertile eggs, you'd have them as the mama birds.

Sometimes this chicken business is finding out what works for you and doing what you feel is right.
 

Keeper

Chirping
May 13, 2015
48
23
59
Blanchard, Washington
sometimes her old buddy that was a chick at the same time as Taylor would lay on one side of the run right next to Taylor.
That is so sweet, I love it!
When cold weather came (and north FL can get down to freezing), Taylor had a heat lamp set up high out of her reach that warmed up her little 'coop' at night. Plus, I piled her straw bedding up high so she could snuggle down into it.
Yes, thinking of doing something similar. Deep bedding for sure! Probably infared heat bulb as well. Got one that is for reptiles and supposed to be fire safe.
Maybe the Silkie idea would work for you. If it doesn't, you'd have a couple new birds anyway. Silkies are supposed to be great broodies so if you ever thought of hatching fertile eggs, you'd have them as the mama birds.
Have to admit this crossed by mind! Dear Hubs doesn't think we need anymore chickens but....
 

N F C

to infiniti & beyond
Staff member
Premium member
6 Years
Dec 12, 2013
73,274
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Wyoming
Dear Hubs doesn't think we need anymore chickens but....
Don't listen to him :lol: Just ask around BYC and see what the overwhelming majoring will say...everyone needs more chickens, lol.
 
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