Process for adopting a lone hen into existing flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mountainchickens, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. mountainchickens

    mountainchickens Songster

    Apr 7, 2019
    Hi everybody! We have a flock of 7 currently - four 10 to 11-month-old hens and 3 baby chicks, all 5 weeks old. There's a year-old hen at our local shelter and I'm wondering what the process would be if we adopted her. It would probably be in a week or two because we have a sick hen on antibiotics. Is it a bad idea, or could she integrate? She's been there for a week and a half already and I don't know about what diseases, etc she could carry, but I'm assuming they had a vet check her over as that's the normal intake process. I've never, ever seen a chicken there before though, so I'm not sure whether they have a good avian vet to do that. Any ideas? Thanks!
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  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    While it's nice that some shelters are willing to take in chickens now, I doubt their vet really handles chickens with any regularity and in any case, even a healthy looking hen could be carrying diseases without showing any signs of it (like I believe Marek's can only be diagnosed for sure on a necropsy, and a vaccinated bird could be a carrier without ever suffering from the disease itself.)

    Some folks will advise you not to bring in new adult birds under any circumstances. Some folks will take the chance and have no issues come up. It's up to you if you're willing to take the risk, as a proper quarantine is pretty much impossible in a typical home set up.

    I know that integration is a bit tricky with one bird as well. I've only ever done chicks to chicks and chicks to adults before.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    One hen can be one of the most difficult additions. I often add grown birds to my set up, but they are birds from local people with flocks similar to mine.

    I would not risk a strange bird, exposed to who knows what, she could bring in disease, and more than likely is going to be a difficult addition.

    If you do decide to take her, create a space, and put her with one of your other birds. This will do two things, if either of them gets sick, well, that means that they are not immune to the same diseases. And it gives a single bird a friend. Adding a pair is much easier than adding a single bird.

    Mrs K
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  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
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  5. mountainchickens

    mountainchickens Songster

    Apr 7, 2019
    Thanks everyone! We may be able to call in and ask what kind of treatment she's already had and if any experienced vet was there. If we're to adopt her though, we might be waiting a week or two to see if anybody else does and to see if our sick hen gets better. I wouldn't like to risk her getting sick the moment she joined the flock!

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