New here. Is it possible to keep only two chickens as pets?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Three4me, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Three4me

    Three4me Out Of The Brooder

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    I apologize if I am posting this in the wrong place. I just joined and I am a first time chicken owner. We started with 2 day old bantam chicks which are now 5 weeks old.

    We have 2 silkies, (a buff and a blue), a Brahma, and a Rosecomb. We are keeping them as backyard pets and my children will be doing 4H with them as well. We live in a residential neighborhood and are only allowed to keep hens. Luckily the farm store we bought them from will happily take any roosters back from us. We've already had to bring one back after it developed quite a prominent comb around 3 weeks of age. They were surprised that he was showing so early but said he was definitely a rooster. They swapped him out for us with another chick but warned me we could have problems with the other chicks picking on it. Luckily they were all young enough that the new one fit right in with no problems.

    Our buff silkie has a light colored beak and has always had a larger bone structure than the blue and this past week it's comb has gotten raised, lumpy, and is turning a bright pink. It's head is also narrower and it is much taller than the blue so we're pretty sure it's a rooster and will have to be returned to the store. The blue silkie has a black beak and comb so I don't see it turning pink or anything. I can see a difference in width and shape (it is narrower than the buff) of the comb though and it has a rounder head so I am hopeful it is a hen. We're pretty sure the Brahma is a hen but I have no idea how soon we'll be able to tell if the Rosecomb is a rooster. The Rosecomb is just starting to develop a comb and I have no idea what it would look like at this stage for a hen or a rooster anyway.

    We wanted to have 3-4 chickens but now I'm worried we're only going to end up with two. From what I have read you shouldn't try to bring more chickens into an established flock because they won't accept them. Any ideas what I should do? We're really attached to these guys and bringing them back to the store is so hard. I know chickens are really social animals and we don't want them to be unhappy or lonely. With so few in our flock does anyone recommend we try bringing in a couple more or is it too late for these guys and it is what it is?

    Thanks if you made it through this long post and I appreciate any advice for this newbie.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! Welcome to BYC!

    I think 2 is fine as long as there is more than one. (I am not sure where you are or what your coop is like but make sure two will be warm enough together out inside the the winter) A single chicken all alone would have a hard time. You can introduce more hens if you want to in the future. I just introduced two 4 month old pullets to my existing flock of 4 grown birds. You just have to be careful about how you do it and be prepared for some pecking.

    Silkie's are different than regular hens and tend to be a little more kind and accepting in my experience. If you have silkies and are introducing more silkies my guess is it shouldn't be too hard a transition.

    When I introduce new birds I use what people sometimes call the "playpen" method. You can put the new birds in a dog crate or pin or separate part of the coop -- anywhere so that the birds spend the day in the same space, able to see each other but not able to peck at one another. This allows them to start to get used to one another. I keep them like this for a week and then introduce in the evening and keep an eye on everyone. There may be pecking but this is normal chicken socializing and you kind got to let me work it out. Stop them if you see blood (This does not happen every time but if you end up with a bully it is something to look out for).

    Make sure you have two feeders and two waters in the beginning because the established flock tends to guard the food and you want everyone to get enough.

    Ask lots of question! Good luck!
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Ditto on the previous post. BUT...
    I would (personally) try to keep at least 3. If, goodness forbid, something happens to one you'll be left with a single bird that will be very lonely.
    Silkies are docile, friendly little critters. Mine are very accepting of new chickens I've introduced to them. Don't give up hope on your buff either. Silkies are probably the hardest breed to sex. The buff beak and pink comb could be there for a number of reasons. Lighter birds tend to have lighter beaks/combs/wattles/skin. I've had Silkies I just knew were roosters turn out to be hens (like the girl in my avatar, I'd have been very disappointed if I'd sold her as a boy). Good luck!
    Nikki
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  4. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] with my Silkies the cockerel had a raised comb (walnut shaped)? The pullet had a long flat comb. They were very different.
     

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