Introducing a chicken to a chicken and when to do so?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SeptemberQuail, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,

    Last year we were given a sweet little hen (ISA brown) who's been doing very well on her own so far. I'm presuming she enjoys human company (as every time someone hangs up the laundry, she'll always come by and linger around, as well as even come to our back door and stand on the ledge, staring indoors like a puppy wanting to come in [​IMG]). We basically let her wander around the house for the whole morning and she entertains herself by doing stuff that chickens normally do and occasionally comes to quickly say hello to the quails.

    However, we're planning on getting her a friend since chicken's are social animals after all. We have no need for more than two chickens so I'm hoping that having another female hen of the same breed would be good enough for a mini flock since we already have enough birds at home anyway.


    TL;DR

    I'm just wondering, when's the best time to get a chicken (season-wise)? We want to get one asap, but since its winter, and we have no where to home a new chicken where it'd be warm (since I don't think I can just throw the two into one coop on the first night). I'm also worried that my chicken might be a little aggressive during spring since I'm presuming its breeding season? (basing off my quails behaviour o.o)

    How would I go about introducing it?
    I don't have a large enough cage to keep a new chicken in so they can 'see but not touch' each other.

    Would I just introduce the two by putting them into an open, neutral area when they can see each other? Or would we need some sort of temporary cage for the other chicken where I would let them free range at the same time and keep them sleeping in separate areas...? I am unsure of my chicken's temperament towards other chickens but she's generally calm.

    And... how long does it normally take to introduce a new chicken into the flock? Any other advice?

    Thanks in advance! (sorry for too much info and questions, I get carried away when typing [​IMG])
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Do you have a run attached to your coop? Can you get a dog crate to house the new chicken in at night? The recommendation is to quarantine any new bird far away from the existing flock for a month, and change clothing and footwear between tending the old and new birds. Can you put up some temporary fencing to keep the new bird separate? If you don't want to quarantine, and some people accept the risk of not quarantining, you could put up a divider in your run, and house the new girl in a dog crate (assuming the weather is appropriate) for a while. Then let them out to free range to get to know each other on "neutral territory". As your girl has been alone, she could go one of 2 ways: have a snit about the interloper, or go running into her wings and accept her as the long lost buddy she's been waiting all her life for. Either way, all should settle down soon. However, I'd recommend that you get 2 new gals who are younger, perhaps approaching point of lay, if you have the room for it. Integration will be easier with 2. That way if you loose one, you won't be back to where you started!
     
  3. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry for this incredibly late reply (and thank you for your reply)! I've been busy with schoolwork and overall procrastinating to the extent of which I forget to check these forums. ^^"

    Thank you for you advice as well.
    Today we found a seller in the markets and found that he had two ready-to-lay chickens that were almost exactly the same size as Cookie, except that they lacked a fully grown comb. We decided to buy one of them since we have enough birds at home (and daily eggs) and I believed that since Cookie has been alone for so long, that she'd be more accepting of one single companion, and I don't think my parents want anymore birds as well. :p

    We brought Cookie and the new chook still in the box (named her Coco) to neutral territory at the front of the house, to which Cookie abruptly charged at the chicken (after we took her out) and karate kicked her. However, this ordeal lasted for a mere second before Coco became adventurous after finally seeing light and dirt after that tedious 10 minute drive in a cardboard box, and ran to explore her new home (she eagerly started kicking dirt around). Cookie, surprisingly, followed her around. Where ever Coco stuck her beak in, Cookie would follow like a little chick. She really did go 'running into her wings and accept her as her long lost buddy'. Coco obviously wasn't too excited about the presence of Cookie and was more interested in adventuring off into new lands.

    I believe (and hope) pecking order is being established from time to time as well as Cookie is still nipping at Coco's back from time to time when Coco comes too close to Cookie or vice versa.

    Right now they're both sleeping in the coop together. We put Coco into a nest at dusk next to Cookie's and we're hoping that all turns out alright in the morning and that we'll be seeing two eggs soon. I understand that I should quarantine Coco, but we don't have anything else to house her in for a whole month and it'd be pretty troublesome to go through all those processes. If the two don't appreciate each other in the morning then we'll figure out a way to temporarily separate them for a bit of time.

    On the left is Coco with the smaller comb, and on the right is Cookie who's following Coco around.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ChookRanger

    ChookRanger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is adorable. I have always heard that a chook needs a buddy and it's nice that Cookie has one with Coco.[​IMG]
     
  5. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since she's alone it may make her ubnocstious,but being alone ,she may let her just stay.But fighting for pecking order will be vicous,and because its her territory she's libale to kill the hen.I'd get some extra friends also.Chickens give body temperture,so just two hens will make yours cold.We have a flock of 20 something chickens and still added a heat lamp.It's need escpecialy if she goes into molt if either do.

    Good luck!
    (Sorry I spelled so much wrong!)
     
  6. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh my god! I LOVE EM! Their PRS I LOVE PR'S!
     
  7. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again for the replies everyone! Hehe.
    I live in Australia, and its already spring and getting quite humid around now so I'm not too worried about the chooks getting cold at the moment. ^.^ Winter here is normally around 5 to -5 degrees celsius at night and we mostly only get early morning frost on the grass; no snow or anything exciting here. [​IMG] Cookie managed the winter alone quite well (the coop is behind the garage so she's safe from the worst of any chilly winds and we've made sure that no cold drafts can get into the sleeping area) so I believe the two will be alright together.

    However, we discovered that Coco prefers to sleep on the roost, and Cookie prefers to sleep in the nesting box. Sooo, Cookie (the greedy big sister) decided that she wanted the new nesting box instead of her own one which was originally intended for Coco and so now Cookie's nesting box is left untouched and both the chooks like to lay their eggs in the same box! Luckily though, Coco lays very early in the morning and Cookie lays her egg at around 10 in the morning. Is there any way to persuade Coco to sleep in her nesting box instead? Every morning when Cookie does a giant poop in her nest, we just scoop it out, but Coco does that poop on the floor of the coop because she's on the roost which isn't as easy to clear away.

    The relationship between the two is a little confusing now. Cookie doesn't follow Coco around as much now but still lingers around when free ranging and wants whatever Coco gets (e.g. Cookie isn't too enthusiastic about bread but when Coco eats it, Cookie wants some too). If Coco gets too close, Cookie will run and nip at her back/neck until Coco takes a step back and all will be normal. Cookie's voice has also become a lot deeper than it was before when around Coco, but goes back to her innocent squawking when around people's feet. Is this like a dominance thing or something? Is she stepping up to become the one true leader of the flock? I'm just hoping that this little thing will stay little and will be over by at least next week (when school starts [​IMG]) and the two will be happily roaming around the yard leaving lovely fly-attracting presents together!

    These guys are actually ISA Browns and are very common. [​IMG] They love you too, ThePRfan~! XD
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  8. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well its ok.I love any breed really!
     

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