Introducing young hen to older hen...need your advice

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SillyBird, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. SillyBird

    SillyBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Nova Scotia
    I have a year old meat king pet hen named Coconut who shares a large shed/coop with two laying hens. It is divided in half as Coconut and the laying hens do not like each other and fight. They have full visual sight of each other though. Coconut's mate, a rooster, had to leave us a few months ago as he turned mean. Coconut does not appear to miss him, and all birds seem content. SO, on to my question now....I want to put an eight week old meat king hen in with Coconut. This little meat king is destined for slaughter a few days from now and I have let this go rather late as I only have tomorrow (one day) to see if they will get along, otherwise the little hen has to go with the others. I thought it might be nice for Coconut to have a friend, especially over the cold winter months, to cuddle next to at night. I hear that introducing birds is not a nice procedure...that it takes a week to establish a pecking order. Do you think this is a good idea? Coconut is a very friendly hen but I have this feeling she is going to hate the little newcomer. Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated. I've found that any initiation of animals (whether it be goats, horses, etc.) never a smooth one and perhaps not worth it in the end.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Well your best option with your limited time frame is to add her to the pen and note her reaction. Is she curious or outright aggressive? Some pecking is fine, but if she gets excessive than you will know she probably does want company. Some pecking is normal and expected. It's always best to pen the new one within sight for a few days before letting them mingle, and I would suggest it after the first meeting to have things go more smoothly unless she really takes to the young one.
     
  3. SillyBird

    SillyBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Nova Scotia
    Thanks for your thoughts on this...I appreciate it. I gave it more thought and I think it's best that I not attempt it. Coconut is showing no signs of being lonely and I truly believe the 'meet and greet' will not go well. And, if my past experiences have taught me anything...it's that adding an animal to keep another 'company' has always turned out to be so hard on the new one brought in...they just become a 'punching bag' so to speak...these experiences have been with goats though...but it's the same idea with other animals...and the situation never really did improve for the new ones introduced...in my experience anyway.
     
  4. SillyBird

    SillyBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Nova Scotia
    Thank you for the links. : )
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I think that's the best decision. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Goats are brutal, and so are chickens, both have a strict hierarchy as most critters do, that is enforced. The new chick would end up really stressed, especially if it doesn't come with a friend or two.
     
  6. SillyBird

    SillyBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Nova Scotia
    We got out meat kings back all 'processed' and I felt bad when the smallest one went into the freezer....that being the little one I was going to keep as a pet. Made me question not keeping her..she was pretty sweet and eager to come over to me when I went in to feed them all. But then I look at my ol' meat king hen Coconut and think did she really need the stress of another hen in her pen anyway. I mean in time it may have worked out, but who knows. I didn't give it enough time to see if it would work anyway. Why do these meat kings have to be so darn personable and lovable anyway...makes it hard to part with them. All I know is I won't be eating that little frozen chicken...as I had her sitting on my knee. Someone else can enjoy her. Sigh. : (
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Sorry, it's sometimes a rough decision on whether to butcher or not, I probably would have trouble with that one too, but it would have been stress on both birds, and they aren't known for being hardy.
     
  8. SillyBird

    SillyBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2015
    Nova Scotia
    True...they aren't hardy. Like you said, "if it ain't broke don't fix it.". Every day I see Coconut I think how lucky she, and I am, that she is still here...as she really wasn't supposed to be around past nine weeks.
    I truly adore her...she brings me great joy. (And I love the two laying hens we have also...they are here until they die regardless if they lay eggs or not). To me...the eggs are just a bonus. Below a photo of the two laying hens and Coconut in her dirt bath in her yard. : ) : )




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  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She's lucky to have you. She looks really good and happy. I see you like white chickens.[​IMG]
     

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