Lone older chicken - could 2 younger chickens bully her?

Coye16

Chirping
May 23, 2016
19
2
57
France
Hello

I had two pekin bantam chickens, one was just over 2 years old & the other 4.5 years old. Sadly two weeks ago totally out of the blue I found the 2 year old dead in the nest box.
That has left my 4.5 year old on her own. She seems to have been coping very well for 2 weeks foraging, dust bathing & eating as usual. I have also been spending a lot of time with her in the garden. However today she is very lethargic, ate a little bit of Sweetcorn when I gave it to her but is just sat sadly in the undergrowth sleeping & uninterested in everything.
My question is if I get 2 new younger pekin bantams, around 5 months, does the age difference make it harder for them all to bond? Could the 4.5 year old get bullied by the younger chooks? Is it better to introduce one chicken rather than two as the 4.5year old has only ever had one chicken companion at a time?
Any advice please would be great!
 

CoopintheWoods

Songster
Dec 27, 2016
188
275
132
I had a permanently lame hen who had one friend and lived separately from the flock. When they were both about 2 years old, the friend was killed by a raccoon. I got 6 baby chicks and brooded them next to where the lame hen slept in the garage. I picked the calmest 2 pullets when they were probably about 3-ish months old and let them run around together for about an hour each day. Since there were plenty of distractions, they fought minimally. My hen would bully them a bit, but no more than any hens do to hens lower in the pecking order. Once the younger hens were about 4 months old, my hen and her 2 new friends moved into a coop outside, and they got along well enough.

So of course, my situation may have been more delicate since the hen was lame and had already been rejected from her previous flock, but I think that as long as the newcomers are younger and significantly smaller than your hen, they should end up at the bottom of the pecking order. I would consider getting hens younger than 5 months (maybe about 3) so that they are not full grown yet.

Good luck!

Edit: And it's also ok if they all don't really seem to bond. For flock animals, bad company is better than no company. My hen did not like her new friends at all and would bite them if they came too close to her, but they kept her company. As long as there is no relentless bullying going on, everyone should be ok.
 

Coye16

Chirping
May 23, 2016
19
2
57
France
I had a permanently lame hen who had one friend and lived separately from the flock. When they were both about 2 years old, the friend was killed by a raccoon. I got 6 baby chicks and brooded them next to where the lame hen slept in the garage. I picked the calmest 2 pullets when they were probably about 3-ish months old and let them run around together for about an hour each day. Since there were plenty of distractions, they fought minimally. My hen would bully them a bit, but no more than any hens do to hens lower in the pecking order. Once the younger hens were about 4 months old, my hen and her 2 new friends moved into a coop outside, and they got along well enough.

So of course, my situation may have been more delicate since the hen was lame and had already been rejected from her previous flock, but I think that as long as the newcomers are younger and significantly smaller than your hen, they should end up at the bottom of the pecking order. I would consider getting hens younger than 5 months (maybe about 3) so that they are not full grown yet.

Good luck!

Edit: And it's also ok if they all don't really seem to bond. For flock animals, bad company is better than no company. My hen did not like her new friends at all and would bite them if they came too close to her, but they kept her company. As long as there is no relentless bullying going on, everyone should be ok.
Apologies for taking so long to reply! Thank you so much for your answer - I really appreciate it!
 

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