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HELP!! Single hen...what to do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MeechHen, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. MeechHen

    MeechHen In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2010
    New England
    So I inherited 3 chickens this past June. I wasn't prepared but did my research and got them all set up in a small coop in the backyard and fenced in part of the yard for them. I found the local Agway and bought them all the supplies and went crazy.
    After a few days of my new banty rooster going crazy, I was forced to find him a new home. I was left with two pullets....one Rhode Island Red we named Chocobo and my favorite little girl, Trixy the Barred Rock. They did great all spring, summer and fall. Trixy started laying in August and Chocobo started laying in early November. Once it started getting cooler, I bought them a infrared heat lamp for the coop and a heated water dish and made sure they were ok for the winter months. I spent lots of time with them, giving them treats like mealworms and crickets and picking them up and giving them lots of attention.
    I took for granted that I lived pretty close to Boston and in a populated area and that they were be safe from any predators being right up against my house. I would unlock the coop every morning before I went to work and come home at night and lock them up.
    I came home from work one day a few weeks ago and one of my chickens (my favorite one, Trixy) was dead....half eaten in the yard. I was devastated!! I saw the hawk on a branch looking for its leftovers the next morning.
    I kept Chocobo (my remaining hen) in her coop until that weekend when we built an all enclosed predator proof pen. We also took a trip to my sisters house that weekend and while there, stopped at her neighbors house who gave us 2 new very young pullets; Phyllis, a silkie and Zelda a mixed breed golden.
    I have supervised visits with the birds to try and see how they get along...and they don't. Chocobo clucks her face off when they are around and tries to peck them very hard. I have even put the babies in a cage so that they could get to know each other but they would be safe from her if she tried anything. I have had no luck. I can't leave them alone with her, I don't trust her. I have been told to wait until they get bigger and older before I can do that. What do I do in the meantime??? She is alone and I feel bad. I have been keeping the babies in the garage in another coop and let them outside with her only when I'm there and the weather is cooperating. I have to put up a gate inside the pen to keep her away from them when I do.
    I would love to get her another hen for a friend but its hard to find one full grown hen anywhere....especially around were I live. I was lucky to find the pullets when I traveled to my sisters house out in southeastern MA. I just hate having to wait until May when they get as big as she is (and she is a BIG hen!) What do I do???? help! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    What you are doing, allowing them seperate but together visitation under supervision is about all you can do. If you are going to be home, you might try putting them all together at night, after they've gone to roost. You'd need to be there first thing in the morning to make sure everything went okay, but sometimes that little trick works.

    I'm sure others will be along to help you shortly with more ideas.

    Sorry for the loss of your girl [​IMG]
  3. darkroo

    darkroo Chirping

    Jul 12, 2009
    Meechhen I'm sorry for your loss I lost eight birds last year at different times and different locations [​IMG]

    If you could rig your setup where they can see each other for a coupe of weeks to the point they can peck at each other through the fence.
    The pecking order is and must be established for them to be secure. I had to shuffle my flock last year and when I would bring birds back to the main coop it can get ugly fast but it also stops fast if there was a order established before the separation.

    I haven't even gone into bio-security which is something you should look into in the future just keep your fingers crossed for now.

    What color silkie did you get? I lost 7 silkies this year 2 white, 1 red, 1 blue and a partridge that were only three months old and then a couple of months later 2 black one year old hens. I think their top mops are so neat. You have to want them to watch be cause they will go broddie at any sign of an egg.

    If you can get them to live next to each other for a couple of weeks there will be a lot less agony passed around. The more targets you can present at the same time the better for all.

    Good luck, I'm still a newbie there should be more suggestions from others [​IMG]
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    You're doing the best you can. Don't give up, they'll eventually integrate together when the babies get bigger. It's just that your big girl doesn't recognize these babies as flockmates yet. Give her a mirror, securely attached to the coop wall so she can "see" another big chicken like herself in the meantime.

    Can you put the baby cage into the coop with her - but keep the cage closed so she can't get inside? She'll become even more used to them, that way. And I second the recommendation to try and put them together on the roost, at night, once it is sufficiently dark - but be there very early in the a.m. in case there's trouble, at dawn. Of course, if the chicks aren't fully feathered and still need a heat lamp, you can't do that, b/c they'll freeze. Good luck. Don't give up, and check Craigslist for mature birds. I'm amazed how many ads there are for adult chickens that need to be placed in another home. And if you do get another adult hen, please keep them segregated for a while so you can make sure the newcomer doesn't have any illness that could devastate your home flock.
  5. alleyjazz

    alleyjazz In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2010
    Southern New Hampshire
    Check craigs list for boston and NH. I got a single chicken on Craigs list. You can also try a feed store. Sometimes they have older pullets and you can buy one or two. I've seen them at Dodge Grain in Salem, NH, only 30 minutes from Boston. Good luck.
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    The size difference is what's taking so long for integration but your lone Trixie does apreciate visually seeing the other birds even if through chicken wire. Very sociable birds, thinking she'll come around and allow them about her soon even though they are small.
  7. FiveHens

    FiveHens Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Have you tried your local Craigslist for a companion for your hen? They usually have plenty of adult chickens (hens and roos) that need homes. I saw your location--here's the link to the Boston/eastern MA craigslist.

    Good luck! I'm so sorry about your hen. [​IMG]

  8. MeechHen

    MeechHen In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2010
    New England
    [​IMG] Thank you all for your quick replies and great advice. In regards to the craigslist idea, I keep looking everyday but don't see much at all in my area. I love the mirror idea! I'm going to try that one tomorrow morning. I have the perfect mirror to put in the coop with her! I hope that helps a little at least.

    I also found out there is a single wild turkey that has been hanging around my house. I think he is going after my bird feeder. I have seen him every day for the past week in my yard and roosting in one of my trees. One of my neighbors says he hangs out in my yard all day. I wonder how Chocobo feels about that.

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