Incorporating my inside chicken to an outside flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bkruss, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. bkruss

    bkruss New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2015
    So, long story, we have this pullet (around 10 months old) who was not so lucky keeping friends alive. Because we went through four other chickens that couldn't seem to keep breathing, she's ended up alone...and inside. We built a coop for her and the last chicken. As soon as it was done, the other one died. We just got three chickens for outside a few weeks ago, and they're doing fine in the cold. Marsi, our inside chicken is a little spoiled now- she's become a lap chicken; watching Jeopardy and going to sleep in front of the TV. Don't lecture me about how you shouldn't let chickens watch TV before bed.

    So, I'm thinking she won't adapt very well to being in the cold after being used to 64 degree weather inside. Does anyone have any advice as to when I should incorporate her into the new flock? Don't want her to get hypothermic outside. I'm also worried about the other chickens beating up on her. Though, they're all bantams- two silkies a cochin, and Marsi is a barred-rock/ silkie mix (I think.)

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You're correct in being concerned about acclimating her to the cold. You can do that gradually by exposing her to cooler temps, both at night and during the day.

    I would begin by letting her meet the flock during the day from a safe pen so she will be safe from their aggression. They won't be welcoming. She will be an outsider, and chickens aren't keen on outsiders.

    I recently introduced a new hen to my flock of twenty. After being in a safe pen for the first couple days, I began leaving the gate to her pen open so she could begin adapting to the pecking order. She learned who she could trust and who she needed to run away from.

    The most important thing is food. The flock still chases my new hen away from the feeder even after a month of being with them. That's why I still feed her twice a day alone so she will get enough to eat.

    Be aware also that chickens hate change. After being a house chicken, your hen may not be thrilled at being a regular chicken. I would make that transition gradually, also.
     
  3. bkruss

    bkruss New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2015
    Thanks for the advice. I will make sure to get her out there gradually, and keep her away from the rest for a while.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I think that she will adapt more easily than you think. You don't say where you are at, but here, in SD, we have lovely days for the next few days, so if so, put her outside, where she can sit in some sun out of the wind. Leaving her a couple hours the first day, several hours the next day, and longer the third day. That cool air will be putting feathers on her. However, you might want to put her in a garage at night after a couple of days as if she comes back to very warm at night, then back to fairly cold in the day... it is going to take her longer to adjust.

    While you are doing this, you might pull one bird from your other flock, the middle bird, and introduce her to the house bird. Keep them together, but separate at first, then together. Then in a week or so, introduce the pair to the flock. Should work much better than a single bird introduction, those are always hard. Two 'new' to two old will really be much more even odds than 3 to 1.

    Mrs K
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    [​IMG] tv before bed...hahahaha.


    My main concern here is.... how did they other birds die?
     
  6. bkruss

    bkruss New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2015
    So, one was eaten by a dog when we didn't realize the dog was in the basement, and didn't realize that that bird could fly out of the tub we had them in. The other three we got from one particular breeder and each of them were always really sleepy until one day we came down to check on them and they were dead (three separate times.) We never had more than two chickens at one time. No explanation other than that. But it always seemed odd that they were always so tired. The one that's still kicking has always been really hyper. Maybe she just wore them out.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Could be disease...either from the new birds or in existing birds.
    Birds can carry disease and not show symptoms until stressed.
     
  8. bkruss

    bkruss New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2015
    That's what we figured. We thought we were doing something wrong until the third one died. She lasted about two months though before she died. The other ones usually lasted about a week.
     

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