How do I raise a single chick?

Pork Pie

Flockwit
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Jan 30, 2015
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If at all possible, try and locate a source of day old chicks and buy a couple of them. Chickens are social animals and thrive with their own kind. Some people here do raise house chickens, so you can do a search on that, if you wish.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
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Agreed, it's important to find it a flock mate. At what day did you candle? Are the eggs dark? Sometimes you find some pleasant surprises. What you don't see at day 7 may show as viable at day 10. And... with some of my eggs, even when candling with a table lamp and a home made candling cone, I can't identify a fetus in the egg at all, and it still hatches. Have you read all of "hatching eggs 101" in the learning center? If not, it's a good education and I recommend that everyone read it before plugging in the incubator. I do a refresher every spring before starting eggs.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
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Are you just now beginning a flock with these eggs? In other words, do you already have a flock of adult chickens? If so, you can brood this single chick, or two chicks, alongside the adults. They will become part of the flock by proximity.

I won't go into details on how to raise chicks among adults if this isn't your situation.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
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Sep 19, 2009
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Normally I would simply rear the chick in isolation. Introducing it to hens will be more problematic than introducing it to the rooster, assuming he is fully mature (>8 months). On mutliple occasions I have had roosters adopt chicks that were as young as 10 days. That minimum age likely a function of chick needing to be able to fly up high enough to roost 18" above the ground.

To keep things simple, I would simple get more similar aged chicks assuming motivation to get more chicks is still in place.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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Definitely try to find more day-old baby chicks. Chickens are flock animals and need others to survive. Even just two or three more would do the trick. Then you would have a nice little flock of five hens and rooster. I doubt that just one will hatch, but if that happens, it is important for the little guy to have at least two friends (if you are wondering, why not just one? Usually, you can't just buy one chick from a hatchery, or farm store. Also, if that one gets killed, or dies for some reason, you're back where you began. Two at the very least).
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
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While I've never brooded a single chick, I recently had my broody hen raise single chicks in succession last summer and this summer. They were fully integrated into the flock and independent by age six weeks and have done very well.

Chicks do enjoy and thrive on being part of a "unit" of similarly aged chicks, but they do okay as singles as long as they are raised in proximity to the flock, therefore knowing they have a place in it. As long as they have safety while they are learning their place in the social order, they adjust just fine.

Regardless of whether I brood chicks myself or have a broody hen do it, my chicks integrate at age two weeks using a "panic room" setup where they have a refuge to which to retreat when feeling stressed. They adjust very quickly to being part of the flock, and seem not to suffer from being the only ones of their age.

I've noticed that these single chicks often associate with the oldest members of the flock, and that seems to satisfy any need they might have to associate with a peer group. Therefore, I have concluded it's not as important to have "friends" of similar age for a chick as it is for them to have the security of proximity to the flock itself.
 
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