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Is it cruel to separate a pair of chickens raised together? I'm sad.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TinyLittleFarm, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. TinyLittleFarm

    TinyLittleFarm Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    My quandry: I have two EEs who were raised together. Just the two of them. One roo and one pullet. I recently integrated them into the rest of my flock. They are 7 months old. (They lived in my garage all winter). I already have a roo. I don't need the extra roo and his presence is causing some commotion within the flock. I have someone who is willing to take him.

    That would leave Ginger, the pullet, with the rest of the flock. She has been with them for a week. She is still getting pecked and bullied, but no major wounds or issues. The two of them sleep together separate from the rest of the flock in the coop. I feel like if I got rid of her roo, it would be rough on Ginger.

    I know I'm probably projecting too much human emotion on a couple of chickens, but I feel like I'd be tearing apart their family. [​IMG]

    I'm contemplating giving her to the lady who will take the roo just to keep them together. I had 4 chicks that I started with. 3 were roos. She is the daughter of our favorite chicken from last year that we lost. If we don't keep Ginger, I'll have spent god knows how much money and 7 months raising these two for nothing. But I'll give her up if it will break their little chicken hearts to separate them.

    What would you do?

  2. CCourson05

    CCourson05 Popping like kettle corn...

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hickory Flat, MS
    Personally, I am a chicken hoarder. Lol. I would build a separate pen and start a secondary flock. That way those two would be the hierarchy. [​IMG]
  3. TinyLittleFarm

    TinyLittleFarm Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Yeah DH has already told me he was not building anything else for the birds. [​IMG]

    I'm looking into building something new myself, but that's for the 6 in the brooder and 20 in the incubator. [​IMG]
  4. chicky_mommy

    chicky_mommy Chirping

    Sep 10, 2010
    Northeast Corner of CT
    I second ccourson05's comment...use them to start a whole new flock.

    I know it seems silly but you are right he is her shelter in the storm and to seperate them would do two things...
    1) break her heart and his
    2) open her up to more attacks and leave him seseptible to attacks from the new flock

    If starting a whole new flock isn't an option for you due to space or money issues you should devide a section of the coop with wire so that they are with the rest of the flock but in a sheltered way until the rest of the flock is used to their presance.
  5. ralleia

    ralleia Songster

    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    I think it's less a question of them having "bonded" together and more a question of Ginger integrating with the flock. I've not raised a pair together before (which might make *some* difference), but have not ever observed chickens "bonding" with a particular other chicken.

    Don't worry about breaking Ginger's heart. You have to get rid of the extra roo. At least with the method that you are using, if for some reason we DO observe chicken heartbreak, it can be undone. [​IMG]
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    If it were me, I'd keep him for another week or 2 until she's established with the other hens. Then you can rehome him.
  7. kevin2010

    kevin2010 Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    tucker wv

  8. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
  9. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    My daughter recently got 2 white orps who are closely bonded like the OP's. They are a couple of weeks older than the rest of the chicks in the brooder and can't be introduced yet (I tried). I'm pretty sure one is a roo. The roo HAS to go and I think the pullet [​IMG] should stay with him. My 15 y/o DD is not going to take it well. [​IMG]
  10. xyresicchick

    xyresicchick Songster

    Mar 5, 2010
    Providence, RI
    i read this the other day..... gives you sort of a perspective about the interpersonal bonds that chickens can have....

    Scientists have recently published a study showing that chickens are capable of feeling empathy. They say their study “has important implications for the welfare of farm and laboratory animals.” Here at Farm Sanctuary, we’re happy that the scientific community is starting to acknowledge that animals deserve ethical consideration, but if they wanted to know whether or not chickens are capable of empathy, they could have just visited our farm! For many years we have been marveling at chickens’ personalities, at their individual quirks and habits, at the relationships they form, and at their numerous displays of empathy.

    We frequently see chickens empathize with one another when one of them has a health issue. All of the hens and roosters we’ve rescued from the egg production industry perch at night, but if a hen is sick, we will usually find her on the ground when we come in to close the barn. She will not be alone, however, and if not a rooster, one of her companion hens will be there to keep her company until we take her to our shelter hospital for treatment and observation.

    The bonds between chickens grow when they have these experiences. We remember Taboo and Giggles, who were from different flocks, but developed a strong relationship when they spent time together at the hospital barn while they were both sick. Taboo’s health improved, so we returned her to her flock. After a few days, she ventured away from her flock and made the downhill trek back to the hospital to see her friend. We had to keep her away from some of the sick birds, so we again put her back with her original flock. It wasn’t long before Taboo started to show signs of illness and had to go back to the hospital barn. Immediately the friends united, and Taboo made an amazing recovery. At this point, we relented to Taboo’s insistence and let the two chickens remain together. They happily lived with one another until Giggles passed. After that Taboo started to succumb to illness again, and was never quite the same as when she was with her friend. It was clear to anyone who knew her how meaningful her relationship with Giggles was, and how profoundly affected she was by her friend’s well-being.

    The sad truth is that despite all the information we have about the complexity of these beautiful, intelligent animals, agribusiness still treats them like egg, milk and meat making machines. In typical factory farm conditions, behaviors like those shown by Taboo and Giggles could never be observed — most chickens spend their days crammed in a cage barely able to move, or in the case of birds used for meat, are killed after just six short weeks of life. We have been fortunate to be able to give chickens like Taboo and Giggles a home where they can act as they naturally should. In return they have shown us just how much they can empathize with one another, without having to test on them!

    from http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/farm-sanctuary/feeling-their-pain-chickens-and-empathy/10150228630158345

    . i would start a second pen, OR i would rehome both.​

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