Only one hen survived...what do I do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KnoxvilleChick, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. KnoxvilleChick

    KnoxvilleChick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Hello- and thanks in advance for any advice.

    I had 2 hens (I ordered four chicks, and ended up with 2 hens, but that's another story...) until this afternoon. This weekend, I expanded their run (from 4x12 full encolsure to an oddly-shaped wedge of roughly 80 square feet). The new section is roofless, with about 5 foot high welded-wire fence. The girls free-range in the fenced backyard (4 ft wooden fence) pretty frequently, and have never tried to fly over the fence. Apparently, the temptation to reach the rest of the yard was too great today...Ruby apparently flew out of the run into our fenced backyard, and my best friend's dog got her. I closed off the new roofless section for now, keeping Diamond in the fully enclosed 4x12 run, and plan on giving the expansion a chicken wire roof in the next few days to prevent future tragedies.

    My question...can Diamond be an only hen for a while? We have already ordered more chicks to be shipped in early June. Do I need to rehome her? or try to quickly find a hen to be her buddy? Or will she be ok until the new batch of chicks is ready to move in with her? Everything I've read has talked about how chickens are flock animals and don't function well as individuals. I don't want to give her away, but I will if I need to.
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I'd get her a buddy. I'm sure you can find an extra grown pullet or hen on Craigslist. Chickens are very social animals and she just wont be happy alone.
  3. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2012
    Chickens are happiest in a flock and I would second Egghead_jr's suggestion to get a full grown bird as a companion until your new chicks are ready to be introduced. I have been corresponding with another member who had a rooster hen pair but had to give up the rooster. She got a second hen but since there is a 30 day quarantine period before introduction, her first hen was a lone girl for a month. Her hen was ok but she tried to spend a lot of time outside with her or bring her inside when she could. It seems people can be substitute companions in a pinch.
  4. feeding frenzy

    feeding frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2012
    I also had a lonely hen for about 2 months after her sister was eaten by a migrating hawk. When she was alone, she spent a lot of time in the covered patio and constantly pecked at the glass window to get into the house! She only went out to free range when someone was out in the garden. She only ate when I spent time outside with her by her food. I bought 5 chicks to keep her mind off her dead sister but the chicks all died after 2 days! My hen sat on 2 chicks and they died, others died of pasty butt. She was lonely again so I adopted a Easter Egger rooster to keep her company from a local BYC member. He is only 2 months younger than my hen. They get along just great and my hen is now eating normally and free ranging. She gained weight quickly after having companion. She follows my rooster around everywhere. They are inseparable!

    Your hen can survive alone but needs human interaction a lot more. Due to my past experience, DO NOT introduce baby chicks to a hen. Wait until the chicks feathered out and able to fly to introduce to your hen. Hope this helps.
  5. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR

    But don't for get to quarantine. That is the hardest part of introducing adult birds. Good luck.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    if I only had one hen, I would get some hens, and I would not worry about quarantine. Don't buy obviously sick birds, but really quarantine is to prevent the loss of a flock, not a single bird. This time of year, body heat is more important, especially if you have cold temperatures for weather.

    Most people do not do quarantine correctly, and if they don't, they may as well not do it at all.
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    X2. Quarantine is a pain to do correctly, and you only have one bird.

    I'd definitely get some birds off Craigslist. Too bad you're so far away, I'd sell you some red sex links that are awesome birds-- but they are laying super jumbo eggs that are unsaleable because they won't fit in cartons. I haven't listed them because I figure they won't sell this time of year anyway.
  8. KnoxvilleChick

    KnoxvilleChick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Thanks everyone for the replies! I love being able to get such great advice with a few clicks.

    I live in East TN, zone 7- 7.5. No big concern about temperature, it sometimes gets below freezing, but rarely if ever below zero. Even at night. My coop is pretty tight on the walls, but well vented up top, so it stays dry and no drafts. But i don't think I'm going to quarantine in this situation, since it is just one bird. Normally I would, but not this time.

    I found a guy who raises all kids of birds (plus other livestock) and tomorrow happens to be processing day. Not only am I going to pick out a new hen around the same age as my other one, but I'm going to stock my freezer with all kinds of fresh, local deliciousness. And I'm going to learn how to process chickens, too! So, out of this really unfortunate situation comes the beginnings of a great personal connection with a local farm family. Plus, my 3 year old says he wants to name the new chicken Front End Loader. Talk about some lemonade :)
  9. Brandi Leigh

    Brandi Leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    YAY!!!! New chickens!
  10. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

    Jun 16, 2012
    Tending to my chickens
    I would try to quickly introduce another girl or two. There are good odds that Diamond will assume top hen, because she would have lived there the longest (that's what happened to me). Craigslist is good for finding chickens.[​IMG]

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