Introducing a new hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by page3, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. page3

    page3 In the Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2018
    Hello, I have a question :)

    We've had chickens for years, but in the past year, they started to die of old age. We gave them all a proper burial, and now we are down to one old hen. After doing some research, turns out a single hen can get lonely and stressed. We really don't want chickens anymore after this, but we also don't want the poor bird to be lonely, so we decided to get a sheep to keep her company.

    That didn't work well. The poor girl was terrified of the sheep, she spent 24 hours in the roosting spot and refused to come down. After a day of this, we separated the sheep from the hen. The hen immediately seemed much more at ease, she came down from the roosting spot and started to wander around the yard again.

    Still worried that the hen will be too lonely, we borrowed a hen from a friend. We put the new hen in the coop after dark, and they'll wake up together tomorrow. Hopefully all will go well.

    Now my question... We have the coop, and a big run attached to it. Normally, we open the door to the run and the hen can run free all day. At night, she goes back to the coop to roost, and then we close the door. The question is... how long should we keep the run closed? I assume the new hen will need a few days to get used to her surroundings. I'm afraid that if we let her go free too soon, she won't find her way back to the coop.

    I'm hoping we won't have to keep the run closed for too long, because our girl loves to walk around in the back yard. Any ideas about a time frame?

    Thanks
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    One can hope....better get out there early.

    If they fight too much let the older hen out to range and leave the new hen in the coop and run. What to do at roost time...I dunno...might a rodeo.

    Might have been better to give the old hen to the friend?

    The sheep part made me go :eek::lol:

    With time the hen may have gotten used to the sheep...
    ...and may have not been lonely at all.

    Best of cLuck...let us know how it works out.
     
    SurferchickinSB likes this.
  3. page3

    page3 In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply :) So far the hens seem to ignore one another. The new one is in the coop and the old one is in the run. Unfortunately I have to work today and can't keep a real close eye on them (I work from home and check now and then), but tomorrow my husband and I are both off, and we'll take your advice.. let the old hen run around in the yard. She really wants to go out.

    Now the sheep appears to be lonely and sad, and all I can think of is.. what have we done? Maybe we'll need another sheep now too..
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    :gig uh huh.....keeping the chicken happy was just a good excuse to get into sheep ;)
     
    Nolagurl1956 likes this.
  5. page3

    page3 In the Brooder

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    Haha not really :) I think we might have gone a bit overboard with keeping the chicken happy. I still wonder how long the new hen needs to stay in the run before we let her free range... would a couple days be enough?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    It might be, a week is about average for 'homing' them to their new space.
    Might depend on how well the other bird accepts her.
     
    Nolagurl1956 likes this.
  7. page3

    page3 In the Brooder

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    So far so good. They both went to the roosting spot without a fight, though they are still totally ignoring one another :)
     
    aart likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    That's great!
    The fact that there were no attacks is huge.
    Both eating and drinking without guarding?
    Don't expect them to be hugging just yet......;)
     
  9. page3

    page3 In the Brooder

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    We put two waterers out, one in the run and one in the coop. There is plenty of food in both, the coop and the run. I think they're doing pretty good so far.
     
    aart likes this.
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Free Ranging

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    Then I would not worry about it. Even if chickens are not BFF, they tend to stick together. Once mine have roosted in a good spot once or twice, they go back there.
     
    Nolagurl1956 likes this.

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