Loner Hen


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
Saratoga County, NY
Anyone what share any experience in finding a friend for a year old hen who lost her only friend?

Here's the story. We have 3 S. Sussex hens we raised from hatch. They are 1 year old now. They are a bonded flock. They free range all over 3 or so acres. They beg for treats, the whole social scene. We added 3 teenager Barnie hens who came from an over crowded chicken hoarder. We quarantined then for about 10 weeks or so last summer/fall. By fall they were all living in the coop and option to free range together. But the Barnie flock never went far from the barn or coop. They weren't imprinted by people and they have always seemed fearful. All 6 lived in the coop together for the winter but still they did not mesh into a single flock. 2 groups of 3 cohabitating at night.

This winter and spring we lost 2 of the Barnies in 2 separate incidents. The last incident was a neighbor dog that killed one and ravished the last Barnie. Poor girl watched her last friend be murdered. Her feathers are coming back nicely but she seems so depressed. She rarely leaves the coop and she appears to spend most of her time on the roosting bar. The Sussex all leave except to lay but she never goes. If I'm giving out treats I sometimes pick her up and set her out with them and she eats but always back to the coop. Her body language when she is alone is very sad/depressed/scared. It's been a month. Given that she never went with the SS, I don't expect that to happen now given the lack of interest.

Is it worth trying to find a single chicken see if I can get them bonded?

We are getting 6 more hatchlings SS in less than two weeks. 2 of them will be roosters so I don't really want to get a rooster now.

What about housing her next to the chicks where she can see them but not peck them?

Should I continue to just let her be "as is?"

That is so sad! I think housing her next to the new little ones could help. Once they get big enough I would put her in with them and see if maybe she will bond with them. Or you could always try to find another hen or two around her age to house with her separate from your SS hens for a little. That way she will have a chance to bond with them before the SS do. My Salmon Faverolle acts similar. Ever since we had to give away her rooster that hatched with her she doesn't want that much to do with the rest of the flock. She's always off by herself. But unlike your girl, she spends the entire day free ranging alone. I hope you figure something out!

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