Only two old hens left


10 Years
May 7, 2009
I just lost my beautiful golden cuckoo marans rooster on Thanksgiving.
He apparently ate some type of plant, which I found in his droppings after he died.
My question is................. I only have two hens left in an 8 x 10 foot coop. One is about 6+ yrs old the other is about 5+ yrs old. I do not know what to do. It is very hard to integrate a new flock in with two old birds. I would love to have another rooster, but do not know what to do in that respect either. I have a closed flock (if you could call it that) and I do not want to stress out the older ladies and have them get sick because of it, either. Also if one of the two hens should die then I only have one bird and I do not think it is fair to keep any animal alone. Any suggestions? I do not want to give then away and possibly have them free range and have something happen to them that way. Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
I think that if your older girls could get used to younger ones gradually, they might be OK, and even appreciate the company - chickens are flock birds. Maybe is they were penned separately but by each other for a while. Your coop is large enough that you could subdivide it. Personally I would add youngsters that the older girls could boss around. I would not add a rooster unless there were plenty of other hens to occupy their attention.
If you add several all at once, it will throw off the older girls. They can't bully all the new/younger ones at once. Chickens may not be able to count but they understand the concept of 'there are more in your group than in mine.'
I agree with what has been said and you're right to be concerned about a single bird alone should one die.
Single hens don't fare well, especially those that have been in a flock.

I would add several pullets and a cockerel. The hens may bully the cockerel at first but he'll eventually assume his role as flock commander and help keep the peace.

Always have multiple feed and water stations when introducing new birds so those low on the totem pole can find sustenance.

Now for why the original died. I'm trying to imagine how paint would make it through the stomach and gizzard intact enough to be recognized.
The gizzard usually grinds everything to mush. Unless he drank some paint, I doubt a few flakes would kill him.
Did you see him eating paint?
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Sorry, I may have misspelled. It should have been plant matter. It was dark green and fibrous. I was gone for the day and had my leaves blown out of the yard. When I cam home the whole enclosed chicken yard was full of leaves, etc. I raked immediately, but maybe he had eaten something before I arrived home. I do not know. I had lost a hen several years ago when I let my chooks free range, from eating a whole tansy ragwort plant. When I look back on it, the symptoms seemed similar. This is why, after that I enclosed them in a 6 x 18 chicken yard.

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