How Do You Quarantine A Single Hen?


11 Years
Mar 7, 2010
I am adding a hen to our small flock of six girls because it is a breed my daughter has wanted badly. I have several questions about the quarantine. First, can one chicken be happy for a month in isolation? Should I put another hen in with her after three weeks for company? We intend to keep her in our sunroom which isn't heated but worked well as a brooder. She'll have plenty of run around room but no grass. My other hens never get out to the front yard so should I put her out there with supervision once a day? Does she need an actual roost or is a box on the floor okay? This hen has been passed for AI and pullorum but should I give her the same kind of vaccinations that my other six came with as chicks (they were from a feed store)? Is there anything else I'm missing here that I should or shouldn't do? Thanks for any advice you can give.
I keep medium and large dog crates for this purpose. The crates are in my unheated garage where there are cats that do visit the chickens when I have them confined in there. The chickens can also watch rabbits in cages on the other side. So yes, it is probably lonely and boring for a chicken. I do give treats of grass, hay, and other greens as I can. I'll throw in scratch as I might on the large coop floor. They don't have a roost, but I use a lot of shavings and keep it dry and clean.

If you leave her loose in your front yard, she may be attracted to the noise of the others in the backyard and try to join them.

I would not vaccinate or medicate in any way at this age.

I would not add another hen unless you bought them at the same place and same time.

At the end of quarantine, I would take her to the coop after dark and place her on the roost. Then watch her for a few days to be sure she is fitting in without getting too picked on. Some pecking order adjustment is to be expected, though.
You can provide your quarantined hen a mirror, a radio to listen to (soft music preferred, low volume, dont want to stress her out.) You can also provide her with some cabbage to eat in addition to her regular feed and water. I would provide a roost for her to perch, something temporary like a wooden broomstick will work. If it's a cardboard box, just poke a couple of holes in it and run the broomstick through the holes. It it's a wooden box, use screws to screw it in somehow. Your sunroom sounds good as well. Keep in mind that bacterial, viral and fungal bugs/spores can travel through the air and on clothes and shoes. Biosecurity IMO is full quarantine to give you the time to inspect her and treat anything that shows itself. I dont recommend letting her out in the yard even with supervision. If you wish to place another chicken in with her at the 3 week mark is your decision. Personally with only 6 hens, I wouldnt do it...just in case.
Vaccinations are a choice you'll have to make. I've never had any of mine vaccinated and maintain a closed flock. I only order chicks from a hatchery.
Also keep in mind that there is nothing in writing stating that there's a mandatory 30 day quarantine me, that is a minimum amount of time to establish if there's a problem...depending, problems could show up later if not sooner, not to mention follow up treatments times or cull.

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