Operation Rescue Chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cixuru, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. cixuru

    cixuru In the Brooder

    Jul 1, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I live in urban Los Angeles and a fully grown adult hen showed up mysteriously at my door last week - I've now got her happily settled...free range foraging in our walled 20'x30' backyard garden with night coop and bowl of scratch. She's extremely sociable (follows me around, gets sad when I go inside, very curious about whatever I'm doing, and she squawks frantically when I put her in the coop at night -- will only calm down and go to sleep if I sit in there and talk to her). [​IMG]

    I think she needs two hen friends so they can have a Girl Power Triumverate organizing in the backyard. And keep her from being lonely.

    MY QUESTION: I have a friend who's a vet and she has found some rescue chicks - she'll give them to me when they're a few weeks older...

    (1) Can I just introduce them to my hen, or is there some magic trick to it all?

    (2) Should the chicks have a separate coop (her current coop is 2.5' x 1.5' including a 1'x1' raised nesting box)?

    (3) Is there anything I should be prepared for behaviorally?

    (4) My hen has a clipped beak and clipped wings. Will that be a problem since the new arrivals will NOT have clipped beaks?

    Many thanks!
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    They should be able to all go in together, and while I"m not a fan of clipped beaks, that will help reduce the pecking.

    You do need to quarantine any new chickens for around a month unless they have already been quarantined in before you get them. Quarantined means they are kept totally separate and away from other poultry - no contact at all with other chickens, and preferably kept in bio-clean conditions, IE wash hands and change shoes/clothes between handing these chicks after handling other poultry.

    Anyway, when they are ready to go together...sometimes older chickesn will pick on smaller/younger chicks, but if your girl has her beaked trimmed that should keep it from getting too brutal.

    Put the chicks in the coop at night so they all wake up together in the morning. Then be on hand to keep an eye out for any major trouble. Some pecking/sqawking is to be expected as they work out the new flock order, but if it gets to the point of drawing blood then you may have to intervene.

    Hope it all goes well for ya!

    Edited to add: I just saw the size of your coop... if ALL they do is sleep in there then the size should be OK. If you have to shut them in the coop for any length of time, then you may need to upgrade. The minimum space requirement is around 4 sq ft per bird.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008

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