Need Advice Please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dickiegirl, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. dickiegirl

    dickiegirl New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2012
    Gainesville, FL
    Okay, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me.
    Me and my boyfriend have had two chickens for about a year. We got both at the same time when they were only a few days old, and the've grown up together all this time. They have a coop/run that they'll go into at night and we lock them in once it gets dark, but they generally just roam around our backyard during the day.
    Unfortunately one of my girls was snatched by a raccoon a few days ago. We were outside within seconds and the raccoon ran, but it was too late for my Wyandotte. She is now buried in my front yard. :(
    Now I think my Australorp is absolutely devastated. I don't really know much about Chicken psychology and behavior other than what I've observed but it seems to me that she's been searching for her friend/sister ever since and is loudly complaining/yelling for her! We found someone in our county who was willing to sell us a 4 month old Dominique, so our Australorp could have a companion again, but I just wanted to hear some input on what to do in order to have a smooth introduction.
    Has anyone ever gone through this?
    I've looked through the site, but all of the posts are generally about introducing one or more chickens into a flock, but these are just two single hens. Is there a difference? Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry about your other chicken who was attacked by the raccoon. I think introducing a 4 month old is a good choice. Newbie hen is almost full grown but would likely take a submissive role to an older chicken. At first your Australorp may not be thrilled, but I think she will come to appreciate the company. I think some of the same techniques could work when introducing a new chicken to a single hen's coop. A lot of people put the newbie in a crate or pet carrier within the coop at first or they find a way to divide the coop for a while so that the chickens can see each other but not have contact at first.

    Of course when reading about introducing a new chicken to a flock you probably came across discussions on a 30 day quarantine to prevent passing any potential illnesses, it is up to you whether you want to go thru that considering you only have one chicken in the coop.
     
  3. dickiegirl

    dickiegirl New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2012
    Gainesville, FL
    Thanks for the response. Yes, I've seen the posts about keeping them separated for 30 days, which did concern me because I would feel bad keeping them both separate and alone for so long. I meant to ask about that in my post, is it still necessary if they are both technically from the same city? The guy who had her lives just outside my city limits, a lot of the posts I read about the quarantine mentioned adding chickens from different states to a flock.

    I do have a small dog crate, so I suppose I could put her in that in the run for a few nights? And then trade shifts on which chicken is in a locked run while the other gets to roam the yard during the day?

    I also read somewhere about BYC owners who tried adding the new chickens into the coop while the established ones were asleep? Would that still work if I don't have an actual flock?

    Also, sorry about double posting in two different forums. I realized too late that I may have posted in the wrong forum, and thought I deleted the first before reposting but apparently I did not. :( Newbie mistake.
     
  4. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I didn't even notice what heading it was under until you mentioned that. I tend to look at unanswered posts, because I know that I feel bad when no one responds to one of my questions.

    Even when the new chicken is from the same city, there is a slight chance that they may carry a virus that will infect your chicken. People who have a flock of 10 chickens often don't want to take the risk of wiping out the whole flock even though the chance may be pretty small. In your case your hen is so lonely, I can see why you wouldn't want to wait.

    Adding a chicken after dusk is a great technique. When the chicken wakes up, its like, "Surprise, there is a new member of the flock!" It takes away some of the confrontation of introducing a new chicken, and it work the same whether the coop has 1 chicken or 10 chickens.

    Oh oh, are you thinking of letting you chickens roam the yard where the raccoon may still be lurking and waiting for the chance to get a meal? I guess this is unsolicited advice, but you could divide the run on the cheap with some chicken wire or even set up an extra day time run with a few T posts, chicken wire (or welded wire) and some zip ties. At least that would slow a raccoon down some.
     
  5. dickiegirl

    dickiegirl New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2012
    Gainesville, FL
    I feel so bad for her, since I've had them, they have rarely been more than 5ft away from each other. So once I get her, I will try and wait a little while to keep a lookout for diseases, and then at night, while my hen is sleeping in the coop, quickly open and sneak the new one in with her? Hopefully that will work, I'm just worried about what will happen at night while they are locked in the coop together.

    And yes, I do have some extra chicken wire, so building an extra day time run is a great idea!

    I was never really worried about the raccoon during the day. Please no judging, as this may seem thoughtless to you, I suppose I always thought raccoons would attack at night. (The incident happened in the evening at dusk, unfortunately only a few minutes before I normally go outside to lock them up for the night). But it does make sense that there is a chance that the raccoon could come back during the day. I do have 3 large dogs, that are generally in the yard during the day, and I highly doubt the raccoon would dare sneak in the yard when they are out. But I will make it a general rule that at night and if the dogs aren't outside, the chickens go in the run. Thanks for that!
     
  6. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    No judging. Raccoons are not typically out in the day, but others on the forum have warned about raccoons returning for more. Dogs are a great raccoon deterrent though.

    I can understand your concern about having them in the coop together unsupervised. I was actually picturing that you were going to put the new hen in the coop in a pet carrier, but your coop for 2 hens is probably pretty small. Maybe you could put her in a cardboard box with a couple of windows cut out so that they could see each other without having direct contact. Hopefully you would only have to do that for a night or two and then you would feel secure with them together after seeing how they act during the day. Warning pecks from your Australorp wouldn't be surprising, but once the pecking order is established things should calm down. Who knows, maybe she will be happy to have another hen with her right from the very start.
     

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