How lonely is one chicken?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sandy16, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Sandy16

    Sandy16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greetings!

    We started raising our flock of 6 chickens back in April of 2010. We are down to only 2 girls, and we are wondering what will happen when there is only one left (we have lost 2 hens in the past 2 months, so it might happen sooner rather than later). These are strictly pets, so culling for dinner is not an option. We've thought about rehoming, but wonder how hard it would be for an older hen to merge with another flock. Can they be happy alone or is it cruel to keep just one?

    thanks!
     
  2. Cluckies

    Cluckies Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I would say it would be pretty lonely as they are flock birds. You could always bring the last one in when the other one dies and make her a house chicken for her remaining time left. Many people have house chickens I guess, who knew?
     
  3. calichicken

    calichicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep! I am one of those "house chicken" people..LOL! I have a Bantam Cochin/silkie mix that I have had since she hatched. She had one other hatchmate for 6 months before we lost her. My girl is coming up on 2 years old in the spring. She is outside foraging off and on throughout the day, but otherwise lives inside with us. That being said, she has a lot of interaction from people so she is not lonely and I think because she has been an "only chicken" she is used to people company and not chicken company. We are looking to hatch in the spring, but for now she is an only chicken and happily so. I am not sure how this would work with chickens that are used to having flockmates and chicken company, but I think it could be managed until you get her a new friend. Just plan on giving her a lot of interaction and TLC [​IMG]
     
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Chickens are very social birds, and unfortunately, they would exceedingly lonely if there is just one bird. When I have to quarantine a single bird for a few days, the chicken pretty much went crazy. I had a hen that started crowing when I did that. Hopefully both of your chickens will stay alive! :)
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm sure everyone has heard of a goat keeping a horse company, a dog being best friends with an elephant, a barn owl being friends with a cat, etc. Many times, if a flock or herd animal can't have a flock or herd there are successful substitutions.

    I raised a rooster that was re-homed twice, and he now lives with a family in their house, spending his summer days outdoors with his best buddy, a basset hound. He also sleeps in the dog house with the dog in summer, and in winter, roosts on a file cabinet in the house at night.

    Creativity overcomes adversity.
     
  6. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first chicken as a kid was a single hen that was given to us (as an older layer) - she did just fine. I don't remember any problems (we got a bunch of hens about 3 years later, and she was integrated into that flock).

    Chickens are definitely social birds, but I think there's a bit of anthropomorphising going on here - they don't have enough brainpower to get lonely. They get a bit skittish when alone sometimes, because they associate the lack of other birds with a predator being around - but the one we had did just fine.

    My suggestion would be to get some new pullets.
     
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  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I hope more folks post with their experience with single chickens.

    I believe a single chicken can imprint on another animal or person and have a successful interaction, and not be lonely. Just look at the guy you know who lives alone with just his cat, or the old lady who lives alone with just her little dog, and they will tell you they are not lonely. If my rooster, who now goes by the name of Walter, could talk, he would tell you he's perfectly happy with his humans and the dog and goat for companions.
     
  8. calichicken

    calichicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    AGREED! [​IMG] My girl was buddies with our neighbors rabbit and every time they were outside together, they followed each other around [​IMG]I think as long as animals...just like humans....have companionship and TLC, they are happy!
     
  9. Sandy16

    Sandy16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, everyone!

    We think that we will try to re-home whichever one is left. There are several neighbors on our street and in our neighborhood that have flocks. That way, we could go visit too! Bringing one inside isn't really an option...we have a small house (1000 sq.ft.) and 3 dogs/2 cats. We are going to take a little break from raising chickens, or we would just go ahead and get more right now.

    I'll keep you posted!
     

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