New here and a question about getting a hen.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by star_frances, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. star_frances

    star_frances New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 24, 2011
    Hello! I am new here and I have a question, go figure [​IMG]

    We have a rooster that literally showed up in our yard about four years ago. We don't know where he came from - probably either dumped off or escaped or wandered off or something. Either way, he decided he liked it here and has slowly wriggled himself into our hearts. He wanders around our yard, we feed him, he hangs out in an old unused dog house and sleeps at night in a pine tree. This summer he got very friendly with us, we can now pet and hold him and he will eat out of our hands. We call him Kevin, he is very handsome, and we intend to take care of him the best we can (trying to learn!) and see he has a good life as our dear pet. We were worried about him living outdoors through another winter and the dangers that presents, so we converted a stall in our unused stable into a coop for him. We'd like to make him an enclosed run, as well - that is in the works. As social as he is, and as much time as he spent sitting on the porch with us these past several months, I am concerned he is going to get very lonely out there. My idea was to "adopt" an older hen, perhaps one that is no longer laying and someone may want a "retirement" home for her - do folks ever do this? Where would I go about finding such a thing? Are there chicken rescues? Is it likely they would get along? What would I do with the poor hen if they didn't get along? I think it would not be possible for us to house them seperately, but I would obviously feel responsible for the hen once we took her. Maybe I need to look for a foster to adopt situation (LOL). Can anyone give me some advice please? [​IMG]

    We are located in SWPA, Washington County.
     
  2. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Chillin' With My Peeps

    People absolutely do this!! You are right chickens are very social animals and a companion would be a good idea for him. Good for you for adopting the little guy!!

    Your best bet for finding chickens is to go craigslist and see what they have. However! Go and see the conditions the chickens are living in. Make sure they live in clean surroundings, you don't need to bring home mites and such to Kevin. Also be sure to quarantine any new birds before you allow Kevin to meet them! It's best to keep them completely separate for a period of 30 days to be sure your new pets aren't sick.

    The usual ratio is 10 hens to 1 roo but that is for breeding. It might be best to get 5 or 6 hens just so Kevin doesn't mate them constantly - boys will be boys [​IMG] In fact the more hens the better!

    Fresh eggs are the best! Why not get younger hens? Point of Lay (PoL) might cost a little more but the fresh eggs are soooo worth it! Good luck to you and [​IMG]
     
  3. bustermommy

    bustermommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    734
    3
    121
    Apr 16, 2011
    Here in Denver, there is an organic family-owned farm that adopts out their "used" chickens. If there are any in your area, you can check with them and get a well-taken-care-of chicken still laying, but retired.
     
  4. star_frances

    star_frances New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 24, 2011
    So it is not advisable to only get one hen because he would pester her too much? I guess we are reluctant to have TOO much of a commitment to a larger flock at this time - we are currently living with my mother-in-law at her property because she is elderly and unable to care for herself. I am her full-time caregiver. When she is no longer with us, it is most likely this property will have to be sold and we will be moving. Since this is a somewhat temporary living arrangement, we already have a rather large number of animals we are responsible for, and we don't know what the future holds (not that anyone does!) our hope was to keep it as simple as possible so we aren't left with more than we can manage responsibly. As with a lot of olther folks, I am sure - money is a bit tight too. Given that situation, I am having a hard time deciding what would be the best thing to do - trying to balance the needs of our rooster with our need to be good and responsible to our animals for their lifetime.
     
  5. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    828
    6
    111
    Aug 2, 2011
    Madison, CT
    you can get two hens.
    3 chickens, ive had a small flock like that before.
    As long as hes not in competition with another rooster i think it would be ok.
    Just get the hens from the same place so you don't have to quarantine them from each other or bring in other illnesses.
     
  6. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    960
    2
    111
    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    Keeping a single rooster without companionship is better than the alternative of him starving to death out on his own. So you have already improved his situation. You could probably find 1-2 hens for him. Or just keep him as is due to your living situation. I'm sure he won't die from batchelorhood.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Yes, just one hen would not be such a great idea, if only because her feathers would get torn up (and she could get cut as well) from over-mating. The 1:10 ratio is a guideline for making sure all or most eggs are fertile, this is true, but it is also a pretty good ratio for having enough hens to make overmating and resulting damage less likely.

    In this case, actually I think I'd leave well enough alone. It is true they are flock animals -- but they can become attached to the humans they live with as well, as you have seen. I'm not so sure he is a flock animal at this point! Four years is a long time, and I'm not so sure he would appreciate having his world turned upside down at this point. He's already at least middle aged, for a chicken, too.
     
  8. star_frances

    star_frances New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 24, 2011
    So it sounds as if our time, money, and efforts would be best spent enriching his environment, spending time with him, and finding him fun and interesting things to do rather than getting him a companion. Thank you all for the wonderful advice. This is a terrific forum, I am already doing a lot of reading and learning!
     
  9. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I think you hit the nail on the head. A lone rooster will be just fine, done it many times. One hen for him would also be fine. The roosters that damage hens are young and have a tendency to act like teenage boys. A rooster kevins age would be a gentleman and treat his hen with respect. Done that many times also. Good luck with whatever you decide.........Pop
     
  10. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    828
    6
    111
    Aug 2, 2011
    Madison, CT
    Quote:I think you hit the nail on the head. A lone rooster will be just fine, done it many times. One hen for him would also be fine. The roosters that damage hens are young and have a tendency to act like teenage boys. A rooster kevins age would be a gentleman and treat his hen with respect. Done that many times also. Good luck with whatever you decide.........Pop

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by