Need some advice please

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dickiegirl, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. dickiegirl

    dickiegirl New Egg

    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. Kittyf

    Kittyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd like to know this too - please, experienced chicken keepers...

    ps I am so sorry for your loss, it must have been a terrible trauma for you.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  3. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Very sorry about your baby girl. Wow how sad for your friend. I would suggest for you to get more than 1 but to get 2 more girls in case 1 of them may be a guy and the other reason when it comes to chickens 2 is such an odd number.

    There is NO specific way to introduce them to each other for sure. Ages have a lot to do with it also? Pecking order has a lot to do with it? Over crowding is a big consideration. Feeding is the most competitive situation there is and the food is all about pecking order and regarding who gets first dibs and bragging rights. If they are you stand a better chance at integration.

    Here is what I would do.
    #1 isolate (quarantine) the new birds to make sure of illnesses first for at least a week if not more. This allows you to get familiar with the new girls.
    #2 inspect them over the week or so to make sure there is no injuries already. Check the entire body for scraps scratches or any infection stuff.
    #3 Ask the old owner (If there is one) who is the first girl in the pecking order and next if they know who is the boss
    #4 make time throughout the week or so to inspect each birds stool to see if its runny, bug infested, solid or if there is blood in any of the birds poop.
    #5 find out what are the new kids favorite foods so you can bribe them to you.
    #6 they need to know and understand where is there new home so they need to be not only locked in the new coop/run/brooder during the day all day while the regular hens are around but this is difficult bc there is just 1
    #7 build a chicken divider from the furthest place in the coop right up to the door of the coop and put the new on one side and the old one the other side but at night you need to carry the new girls to a temp sleeper so the old girl can go to their own coop/run/sleeper. You do not want them being disturbed daily cycle wise.
    #8 put coop food/water exactly opposite the other sides food/water so they see each other every day after the first week or so quarantine time while eating. Why, food is the most competitive time and the survival of the fittest comes into play and they will hurt and pull feathers and peck to the point of hurting and drawing blood maintain the pecking order that is in place.
    #9 week 3 after a max 2 week lock down in the temp side you will let them in the run together supervised and in the run as the referee between the 2 or 3 or even 4 top of the pecking order birds.
    #10 start letting them in the 3 week time or 4th week start interacting together without you and your have done your part and great job. Its not always easy but look for fights or disputes but your really done merging 2 flocks safely.
    Best of luck to you.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  4. dickiegirl

    dickiegirl New Egg

    Feb 12, 2012
    Gainesville, FL
    Thanks for the long detailed response!
    I can't get more than one new chicken, because two is the legal limit where I live. I'm sure my neighbors are already not too excited over having 2 chickens as neighbors, since my Australorp gets pretty loud everytime she lays an egg. I don't want to push my luck and get more than is allowed for the moment.

    The isolating is going to be the toughest part for me. My hen will not stop screaming and pecking at my sliding glass doors during the day, I'm assuming she's complaining about being alone, and wondering where her pal disappeared to. :( But I will try my best at following the separation guidelines. Hopefully there won't be too much pecking, and my girl will just be glad to have another companion.
  5. jspitzer221

    jspitzer221 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 14, 2012
    Lugoff, SC
    I'm sorry to hear that. I would follow Steve's advice and just remember to take the integration process slowly until she get acclimated to her new home and her new buddy.

    We had a scare about three weeks ago when we found feathers all over the run and one of the girls didn't show up to go inside the coop for bed. And I know there is at least one fox that lives around my house. But the next morning, there she was, hanging out outside waiting to join the others.

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