lone chicken - what to do

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by UkuleleLady, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. UkuleleLady

    UkuleleLady Out Of The Brooder

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    I am unsure how to proceed. I have one lonesome chicken, Precious, who really wants some friends. Her only friend died last month. I ordered 4 chicks that are due to hatch on March 9th. I'm not sure how old the chicks need to be before I introduce them to Precious but I know I will have to raise them for 4-6 weeks in a brooder first and I have a 150 gallon rubbermaid stock tank that I intend to use. I've been reading up on how to raise baby chicks. My plan is to put them in a cage in Precious' run first when they are old enough to go in the run for their first introduction. she wasn't mean to the newcomer when I got her a friend the last time, but that chicken was closer to her own age. Do I need to worry that she will be mean to the chicks? I am tempted to get her another adult friend sooner because then I know she would have company in 30 days once quarantine is over but it seems like it is safer for Precious if I don't introduce any adult birds to her at all. am I correct? I really don't want more than 5 or 6 chickens total ultimately anyway but I am prepared for there to be roos that I may have to rehome.
     
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you go with new chicks, don't let them loose with her until they are almost her size. Introduction through the cage is the best way to go. Even in the cage, they will keep her company. If you have hatches coming, it's probably best not to buy a hen from another flock. The safer route would be if you could pick up a fully vaccinated started pullet from a hatchery. That's probably too much trouble for just one bird unless hatchery is close by. It's really up to you, just my two cents on the floor. [​IMG]
     
  3. UkuleleLady

    UkuleleLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you. What you're saying is sorta what I've been thinking. I know they grow fast, but I just don't know how long it takes for them to get almost her size. She's not huge. She probably weighs 4-5 pounds. Please tell me we're talking weeks not months .....
     
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I usually add pullets to the flock of older hens when the pullets are 13 to 16 weeks old. By that time, they're large enough, quick enough and usually smart enough to keep their distance from the harsh pecks of the older birds.
     
  5. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't have to wait months to put the cage in the coop but yes, it'll be about 3 or 4 months before they can mix. It depends how fast they grow and how big the lone hen is. [​IMG]
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had no trouble at all introducing six-week old chicks to two adult hens. It all depends of the temperament of the adult hen.

    If this were my lone hen, I would get four or five baby chicks. You can get breeds that can be sexed accurately when they hatch, by the way. Welsummers and Marans are a couple. You can begin introducing the new chicks to your hen on days when the weather is warm after the chicks are just a couple weeks old. By the time the chicks feather out around four or five weeks, you could easily move them into the coop with the lone hen. They are more than likely to get along just fine, but you have no way of knowing until you try.

    Not too long ago on BYC, we had a story exactly like yours, except the lone chicken was a half grown chick herself, but much, much larger than the babies. They were all introduced and the older pullets immediately fell in love with the chicks, covering them with her wings to keep them warm.

    There are no guarantees, but your hen isn't necessarily consigned to live the next six months as a lonely girl until the babies are finished growing up. I recommend you get the chicks and go from there. We would love to be here for you!
     
  7. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't say I disagree with that idea, sometimes there is a chicken love story[​IMG] I've never had a lone hen to try that with but you never know! Let us know what you do pleeze! We love updates![​IMG]
     
  8. UkuleleLady

    UkuleleLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks guys. I will certainly update you. I'm sure I'll need your help when I get them. Precious is pretty chill. I'm hoping she'll just be happy to have friends.
     
  9. UkuleleLady

    UkuleleLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh yeah and I meant to add. I ordered 4 chicks. I think 2 of them the cream leg bar and the golden cuckoo maran are hens for sure. I also ordered 2 Easter Eggers cuz I like them but I think those are the roo risk chickens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  10. Naser

    Naser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In early February put a few dummy eggs in a nest for her. if you are lucky she will get broody, after 2-4 weeks sneak the chicks under her at night and then you don't need to do anything else.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015

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