Introducing a new younger single hen??

labelle21

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
65
3
43
Hello,

A bit of advice please...

I basically would love more chickens, however can only convince hubby to have one more at the moment. The problem being there is a particular breed I want (a French Wheaten), I have found a seller but she advices me that because of the age difference between the proposed new on and our 4 older hens, that the new one would not survive alone.

She has let us know the only way around this is to buy two and keep the new and old separated but in view of each other for a couple of weeks.

Has anyone tried to introduce a younger single hen to your existing flock before, and if so what was your experience. Is it definitely a no no?

Feeling a bit miffed now.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
4,099
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
It is usually hard to watch but it is doable. enough room is the key. Out of sight of the older birds, out of their mind.

Remember all a second French Wheaten will accomplish is to divide the torment between two hens instead of only one.

I promise you that the two French hens are not going to gang up and shank their 4 tormenters in the shower.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,581
22,675
912
Colorado Rockies
You need to be aware of flock dynamics. It's a real numbers game. Chickens are flock animals, but they are also members of smaller units inside their larger flock. They derive self confidence from the members of this smaller unit. The larger the number in the unit, the higher their self confidence will be.

This is very important in determining if a chicken will be able to handle the stress of fitting into the pecking order. Just as adolescent humans band together to bolster the courage they need to grow into members of our society, so do chicks in a brooder. As they mature, they stick together, and they will be less intimidated by the adults if they are sufficient in number.

I've observed this dynamic up close and personal, and it's now my firm opinion that introducing a young chicken into an established flock in numbers less than four is extremely cruel. Not only will older chickens step up the harassment of new, younger members if they are fewer than four, but the youngster develop an inferiority complex that interferes with their being able to sustain the courage to cope with the pecking order for the rest of their lives. A have two such hens. They have a lot of "issues", to put it simply.

So, my advice to you, if you love your chickens and care how hard life can be in chicken world if you make the wrong decisions, is to wait until your husband approves your getting FOUR chicks.

Trust me on this. You will not be able to live with yourself if you go ahead and get just one chick and submit her to a known outcome.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
620
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Don't integrate the younger pullets until they are 16 weeks of age or more for their safety- integrating before this age can be fatal or have a good outcome, depending upon the personalities of the older hens.

So you can "get away" with integrating younger than that sometimes but it can be very risky.

It is not generally a good idea to introduce just one new chicken. They are bullied terribly.

The more new ones the better.

One new chicken will be depressed and miserable.
 
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labelle21

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
65
3
43
Thanks for all your replies. I think I have come to the conclusion now that it just simply be too hard or cruel, I would love to have many more chickens but the main problem that my husband is concerned about is the little space we have in our garden, it's big enough to get more chickens, but it wouldn't leave much more space for our 3 children to enjoy it too. Their coop is big enough for 8 in total but with the fact that we let them free range, our garden would just seem over run with them.

It is a real shame, I really would love more because I am absolutely obsessed with the little ladies we already have. However it now seems kinder to keep it as it is.

Thanks again for your replies and great advice.

Claire. xx
 

ChickenLegs13

Songster
6 Years
Sep 4, 2013
1,401
178
143
Lower Alabama
I hatch & raise my own chickens, so all the members of my different flocks "know" each other and I can usually move them between pens without drama. But, I culled a small young game hen from my layer pen couple weeks ago because she laid small eggs. I put her in different pen that contained another game hen and 3 large bantams and figured since they all knew each other and were about the same size & breeds it would be ok. They picked on her so harshly that she wouldn't come down from the roost. After about a week when I realized "When she gets hungry enough she'll come down to eat" didn't apply in this case she had lost so much weight and was so weak I had to put her in the rehab pen and now I'm trying to nurse her back to health so I can at least eat her or give her away.
It may or may not work, it depends on the personality & temperment of your other hens. Some chickens adhere to the pecking order more than others. Moniter them and be prepared to intervene if they don't accept her in a day or 2.
 

labelle21

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
65
3
43
Thanks for all your replies it has definitely helped. Although, my husband has come back from work to say we can have more than one new chicken and we are going to go over to have a look at some in a few weeks. We will make sure we take the proper steps to introduce them properly and have the right number to introduce too. Oooh I am so excited, I think I am chicken mad!



Thanks again, Claire x
 
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