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Please Help! Introducing hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Renshawfarm, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Renshawfarm

    Renshawfarm New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ventura, CA
    I have seen many posts about introducing hens to flocks but our "flock" only consists of one hen. We rescued a chicken that was in front of our house in August and she has finally started laying eggs. We let her free range in our yard but she seems to be drawn to an old mirror outside. I don't know much about flock mentality and was wondering if she needs a friend? My wife and I have been talking about it for a couple of days and we think it's a good idea. I guess my real questions are, is it a good idea, what would be a good breed to look for, and being that this is a lone chicken can we get a younger one or does it have to be the same age? We aren't really sure what kind of chicken we have now but we think she is some type of Easter egger and has a great temperament with us and our dogs so one of our concerns is her being put down in the pecking order. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  2. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't been doing this for very long, but I think you should get her a friend. Look for a breed with a calm, friendly temperament- maybe another Easter Egger. If I were you I would look for an already grown chicken as well or your hen might pick on the younger one. From what I've seen, two hens don't enforce the pecking order as harshly as a bigger flock. But don't be surprised/disappointed if you get another hen and they don't pal around- not all chickens are chummy with each other, but they still roost together and act like a flock :)
     
  3. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh! and still follow the recommendations for introducing new chickens. Your hen will consider her yard as her territory and will defend it at first. Before setting the new hen loose, give them a chance to get used to each other by keeping the new hen safely enclosed/separated but visible to your hen for a few days. Then keep an eye on them together in an open space. When you trust them, sneak her onto your hen's roost in the dark and cross your fingers for a peaceful morning rising! Good luck!
     
  4. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I introduced a spunky Black Star pullet and a Cornish Rock cross(she eventually was put in the freezer for her own good) to my flock of 7(originally 8) aggressive hens, so you should have no problem! [​IMG] I kept the two in a temporary fenced-in area with a crate to shut them in at night so the original girls could get a good look at them.
     
  5. Renshawfarm

    Renshawfarm New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ventura, CA
    Thanks for the input! We are trying to find her a friend now but haven't quite firmed up a decision yet, I'm hoping we can find one soon for her. The other issue that we might have is the separate pen, we don't have a lot of space now so we are wrestling with the idea of moving her to a new smaller spot for overnights since she spends most of her day roaming the backyard anyway.
     
  6. GardenGal

    GardenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I definitely recommend getting at least one more chicken. They are very social birds and even if they don't become best buds will surely do better with company.

    From what I've read here and elsewhere, it's best to keep the new chicken(s) in quarantine for a couple weeks so you can make sure they don't have health issues. Then keep them separate but in sight of each other. Then introduce the new one(s) into the coop at night. Newbies are automatically at the bottom of the pecking order.

    And just think of all those extra eggs you'll be able to enjoy :)
     
  7. Renshawfarm

    Renshawfarm New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ventura, CA
    Thank you!
    We do want to get her a friend for sure! It's just right now we have only been seeing chicks and we would ideally like to get her something around her age and not have to deal with the hassle of raising a chick, though they are temptingly adorable!! But we have a busy life around here, 3 dogs, 2 of them with special needs, adding an extra task into our already busy day would be crazy!
    So we will certainly keep an eye out for a pullet or something around a year to add to the coop. We have plenty of chicken wire and scrap wood, so making a small quarantined area would not be a problem, my husband built the coop and run for her so that should be a breeze!
    Our newest issue is our girl has become broody in the last day or 2.. we took her out today (well actually my husband did with leather gloves cause she was pecking at him) she did not want to leave her little cozy box. But we got her out and she ate and drank water and pooped a massive poop and now she is back in the box getting ready to lay again and I am sure the process will begin all over again for us. Any recommendations on a broody hen other than what we are doing? I know we need to be sure she is getting food and water, but other than that we just need to let nature take it's course I guess...
     
  8. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see ads on craigslist for grown chickens sometimes. You may also post an ISO ad there. If your area has a giveaway circuit you might put an ad on there, too. If you live in town you may need to use more rural area circulations to get what you need. I'd imagine if you got word out, some kindhearted farmer would give/sell you a chicken. :) Good luck and be patient. An opportunity will present itself if you get word out.
     
  9. Renshawfarm

    Renshawfarm New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Ventura, CA
    We've had are eyes on Craigslist for a bit now and we just haven't found the right match. I did however see someone posting today from the greater LA area that might deliver up our way but I haven't been able to get any pricing from them yet. I guess we are also playing the waiting game to see how she does with her broodiness. Any suggestions on a breed to look for?
     

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