One sad little chicken (and my hen is upset too!)

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by begood, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. begood

    begood Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2014
    Hi! First post, new member. :)

    Read on for the TL;DR details, but here's my short question:

    Can I introduce juvenile silkies (6-10 weeks old) to a coop/roost with one approx. 18 month old Rhode Island Red hybrid?

    Will they make a flock even though they are different types?

    We inherited two Rhode Island Red-type chickens a little over a year ago from a neighbor who was moving to Italy. One healthy, robust very bold chicken we called Brad, full of herself and out to conquer the world, or at least our little corner of it, and one shyer chicken - Andy - that had survived a raccoon attack but had permanently lost all her throat feathers.

    Andy followed Brad everywhere she went.

    Brad marched off into the woods one day last fall, didn't come back at dusk, and got eaten by a fox. Andy, who had been following behind, escaped and from that day on stayed right around the house/yard.

    We went and got a 20-week-old RIR hybrid (nondeterminate) the next day to keep Andy company. The new bird - Red - is even shyer, super shy. Afraid of grass, afraid of people, just wants to stay in the roost, even after a year. Red wanted Andy to lead her but Andy had no leadership skills. Kind of funny and sad to watch the two of them not lead each other. Probably should have added one more to make a real flock?

    Saturday was a sad day: Andy, who had been losing feathers and looking rough, died. I think, having done a lot of reading here at BYC, that she may have had a mite infestation. She never seemed to fully recover from the raccoon attack that happened before she came to live with us, and I think she was more vulnerable than some might be. Red, for example, still has all her feathers.

    I don't know for sure that that was the problem, but it seems like a good bet.

    To get rid of the mites, we are going to try the wood ash treatment described various places here, and treat the coop and roost with permethrin. We're also going to add a layer of sand on the floor of the coop and put a wood ash pan in the coop so the chicken doesn't have to be out and about to have a bath.

    Does that seem like a reasonable approach?

    After we do all that, is it safe to add chickens to the coop? We would like to get bantam silkies, probably 3 of them. Can they share a roost with a RIR? How long should I wait to introduce them? I only have one coop/roost, so I'm not sure what to do with them if I can't just put them in the coop with Red. I have a cat carrier, but nothing bigger than that.

    I was so heartsick over Andy that I had about decided I was DONE with having chickens. But I don't think it's good for Red to be by herself, so I feel a little stuck, and I worry about getting into a never-ending cycle of adding chickens when one dies.

    Help?
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    The introducing will be hard for you. Chickens who aren't used to silkies are very mean.

    The best way to introduce them is the "see but don't touch method." Separate them from each other by a fence or other barrier for at least two weeks. The longer the better. By using this method you can start when the birds are only 8-12 weeks old.

    The key is patience and hideaways. Also, make sure there are lots of extra feeders and waterers as bossy hens will hog feeders and starve the other birds.

    Good luck!
     
  3. begood

    begood Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2014
    Thank you for replying, Mountain Peeps! I spoke with a well-regarded chicken supplier a few minutes ago, and I think we will have to give up on the silkie dream, at least for now. I do not feel equipped to raise chicks, which seem to be all that's available in my area. Instead, we may choose Buff Orpington pullets, which should be easier to introduce to our remaining hen. They'd have numbers but she'd have seniority.

    We could try to cordon off one section of the coop and put an extra feeder/water, but then the new birds would not have a roost/nesting box to go to at night. Or I suppose we could try to get an extra small coop and put it within sight of the other one. OH BOY. I have gone from being DONE with chickens to thinking about buying another coop. What the heck?!?!? ;)
     
  4. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Sure thing![​IMG] Yes buff orps would be so much easier. They are also very friendly like silkies so you won't miss out on a whole lot. Buff orps are my favorite breed and I think you will love them!
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    So sorry you lost your hen. [​IMG]Mountain Peeps has given you some great advice. Definitely use the permethrin spray on and under the roost bar and nest boxes. All wooden cracks and crevices around the roost bar. Repeat the spray treatment every few days for a couple weeks. You can use it on the birds as well.

    Good luck and we do welcome you to our flock!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  6. begood

    begood Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you have a recommendation for permethrin spray? I can only find ones to put on clothing. I found some dusting powder. But I can't figure out how to use that in the roost without it touching the nesting material.

    Thank you!
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Do you have a feed store of pet shop, they should have that product - explain you need it for chickens.
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    You will need to clean out all nesting material in the coop and nest boxes. It all has to go. Dust and spray, and then you can put down new bedding. You will need to repeat this in 5 days to get any hatched eggs. Keep up this program for a couple weeks to make sure you get them all.
     
  9. begood

    begood Out Of The Brooder

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    I got "garden and poultry dusting powder" at Agway this afternoon, and I can put it on the floor of our "roost" which is a 3' x 3' raised box inside the coop. I can't figure out how to get it on the walls though. And a pound covers 100 chickens when used as a dusting powder so I don't know how much to use for 1 chicken.

    They did not have any spray permethrin at Agway.
     
  10. begood

    begood Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2014

    We can do that! I think we are going to switch from straw to wood shavings and put a layer of sand on both the coop floor and in our roost.

    I will continue to look for spray permethrin. Maybe I can use the kind designed for spraying on tents and camping clothes? That is all I see for sale at Amazon. I will keep looking for more poultry specific products.
     

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