One year old "rescue" hen and other breeder bought chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sonya9, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay so I have found a breeder (my vet said breeder is good, and we live in a small town). Am planning to get 3 chicks, ideally 2 hens and a rooster.

    I asked my lawn man to quote me on building a small coop and fencing the run (will be a nice size for 3 chickens, 25' x 25' run plus the plan is they can free range the big field part of the day).

    So anyways lawnman says he also has a chicken that he needs to "get rid of". He has a bunch of RIR's and someone gave him hen that lays green eggs (he didn't know the breed), poor girl was stuck in a 2' x 2' pen and outgrew it so they gave it to my lawnman. He put the hen in with his RIR's and now he believes she is eating eggs.

    Lawn man is a "good ole' boy", retired welder, vietnam vet, redneck, hunter etc... Great at building stuff but not the most "sensitive" regarding animals. I am sure we can work out the evil egg eating problem (if in fact it is a problem).

    He says the hen is sweet. I am buying chicks from a closed flock fanatical breeder so do I need to worry about disease? Would a single hen be likely to torment 6 weeks old chicks? Somehow I think she won't. Should I have my vet check the hen out for mites?

    If I got her before I was ready to let the chicks into the pen would having a single adult chicken cause emotional problems due to isolation? Should I wait until I can introduce them all at once? Chicks and hen at the same time?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Read up about biosecurity! She might be wonderful, but mites are the least of the problems that might arrive with her. I'd recommend NOT taking her in, and have your handyman not wear shoes or clothes from his chickens to yours. Sometimes paranoia is a good thing... Enjoy your new flock! You might talk to the person who's selling your chickens also. Mary
     
  3. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Folly'splace. I think I will ask my vet about it (he also has a lot of chickens, even plans to start making his own GMO free feed).

    I understand about the need to quarantine at times. It would be nice to have a laying hen and get some eggs without waiting until fall so that is one of the reasons I am tempted to get her (plus I have a soft spot for animals in need, she would have a much larger run here and also be able to freerange at times).
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If you do follow through and get her: (And I'd recommend that you don't. This hen has already been exposed to 2 flocks that we know of, and she's a problem hen. People don't give away laying hens!) I'd get 2 hens from your lawn man b/c a lonely chicken is a very upset chicken. They are flock animals and need a flock to feel secure. But, if you do, the fix for an egg eater is to be sure she has extra calcium in her diet. Give her free feed oyster shell and finely crushed egg shells (no that won't make the problem worse!) in addition to her regular feed. You might also look into fermented feed for both her and your chicks as it boosts nutrition in the feed as well as absorption in the gut. You can also provide her with a roll away nest. You'll not be able to integrate the chicks with your older birds until the chicks are full sized. Read up on integration to see what you'll be facing. Also, read up on biosecurity, and read a few horror stories. That might make you think twice about rescuing this girl from the hatchet. I have a feeling that your lawn man has been traipsing all over your property for a while now, and he's had chickens all along. So, biosecurity has already been breached somewhat. Of course you will never be able to keep your flock completely risk free (unless you raise them in a bubble) as the wild bird population is all over your property and they carry mites, and disease, as well as the insects that your chickens will enjoy munching down being vectors for some parasites. You might ask him if his chickens have ever had a "cold", or if they've ever had any little "illnesses" or otherwise been sick, or any deaths not attributed to the hatchet. So, yes, be aware of the risks, educate yourself so you know what you might run up against, then make the best informed decision for you, and realize that no matter what you do in any of your poultry practices, there will be plenty of people to tell you that you are not doing it the right (their) way! Above all else, enjoy!!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  5. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks LazyGardener. Yeah I asked my lawnman (Tommy) if he is feeding them oyster shells, he said he is feeding them whole grain right now. He isn't getting many eggs but this spring he plans to start feeding them food for laying hens.

    The poor bird wasn't kicked out of two flocks, her first home bought her as a chick and kept her in a 2 x 2 foot cage, when she outgrew that they gave her to Tommy.

    And yes he has been traipsing around the property for 4 years now. Right after I moved here I had a very very pregnant little dog show up, she had 6 pups 2 days later. At one point Tommy told he had an outbreak of parvo that killed an entire litter of pups at his house (well his daughters house, adjacent to his) and I utterly freaked out as he was cutting the lawn every week. Fortunately the pups here already had a couple of rounds of parvo vaccine and no one here got sick but yeah that was scary. He wasn't aware how risky it is to walk around a parvo infected area and then enter an area that has pups.

    Thanks for answering the question about keeping a single hen by themselves, I figured it could be a very bad idea psychologically. I really don't want to get two adult hens from him (especially since he mostly has RIRs and they can be a bit aggressive).
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    It's nice to help someone out, but in this case, if I were in your shoes, I think I'd pass!
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    As to getting three chicks, you might be considerably happier with getting all hens, if the chicks can be sexed. If this is your first experience with chickens, you might have better luck with all hens. Two hens are really not enough hens for a rooster if kept together all the time. Your hens will lose a lot of feathers on their backs, and may even be bare backed.

    A couple of mistakes new people with chickens make, is in thinking that if treated nicely, chickens will be nice..... and that is not the case, they are chickens and have definite chicken behaviors. It seems counter intuitive, but roosters treated like pets, often become very aggressive towards people. Older hens will be very aggressive to younger and smaller chickens. The original flock will be very aggressive toward any new birds.... even if they are nice to people.

    If you have a breeder close by, let her do the breeding until you get some experience.

    I would not worry excessively about the garden man, and bio-security, but I would not mix new chicks with an older hen. If you want older hens, and I think that is a great way to start, I would get a trio of hens from the breeder. Buying older hens, it is pretty sure that you get hens, and older hens are less fragile than chicks.

    Mrs K
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Good advice Mrs. K. I missed the fact that this was to be a 3 bird flock.
     
  9. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh! I thought two hens per rooster would be fine. Okay I will just get three hens. A friend of mine has 3 year old solid white "meat turkeys" that she rescued, the male constantly tries to breed the female and tears her feathers up. We don't want that.

    I would like to get youngish birds that can be kept in a brooder for at least a couple of weeks though. Reason is two fold, I am a bit afraid of large birds...lol...and getting them when they are little will help with that. Also my LGD will likely recognize them as part of our "herd" if they are in the house with us for a couple of weeks, he is a house dog but the coop will be close by so he can keep an eye on them at night.

    Thanks for telling me about the sex ratio being off, we don't need those problems! Also I don't plan to breed but everyone (vet, breeder, etc...) keeps telling me how great roosters are. I don't want to breed because I don't want to have a bunch of males that will end up dead (and that was one of the reasons I considered getting a rooster so one that didn't have many options could have a home but not if it will cause high drama).
     
  10. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    also, it is very likely that an adult hen will kill the new chicks. You have to introduce chickens to each other, that includes adult to adults, chicks to adults, etc. Usually the chicks need to be nearly as big as the adults, and the introduction period (after quarantine) can often be several weeks. Read up on the threads on introducing chickens to each other. It is possible, with a very docile hen, that the chicks will be ok, but it is about a 98% probability that they won't be.

    good luck
     

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