Pullets and Hens - Advice needed!

beccahp

Hatching
11 Years
Jul 15, 2008
3
0
7
Hi there-

A few nights ago a skunk got 2 of my 3 (2.5 month old) buff orpington pullets. Despite how angry and sad I am about the situation, I have to admit that the skunk did an impressive job- digging under 2 coop walls and pushing through bricks that were underground. But the admiration stops there. We've caught and removed the skunk and reinforced the coops.

Here's the problem: I now have a lone buff orpington pullet, who is temporarily living in the house. (Actually she's sitting on my lap as I type this. It's cute, but not a long term solution for us.) There is a flock of 3 full-grown chickens she and her now deceased friends were (eventually) supposed to join. It seems like it would be a horrible integration process to add a single docile breed into a flock of three hens (a black sex link, a barred rock, and an ameraucana).

Advice? Would it be better to try and add the buffy to a group of 2 (new) pullets, and then add them to the older flock later? Could I raise 2 new chicks, add buffy to them in a few months, and then add the three mixed-age pullets to the grown-ups (when they are roughly the same size)? Or should I just tell my husband to suck it up (he's quite attached) and give her away to friends who have 3 pullets of the exact same age? Is the pecking order less violent in younger chickens?

Any advice you have would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Brickman House

Songster
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
352
7
131
I hear you! Have had a variety of house birds (and lap birds!) for various reasons, and it's fun for a while, but definitely no long term solution!

I get your concern about introducing her to an existing flock on her own, but honestly, I think she'll be fine. How much room do you have for everyone?

They call it a "pecking order" for a reason, and every addition to the existing flock goes through an uncomfortable period while everyone re-sorts their places in the group. In my experience, as long as the girls have enough room, they sort it out with high drama, much protest and many ruffled feathers, but no actual harm done. I don't think you need to go through any special machinations to introduce her, and I certainly don't think you have to give her away.

I'd just make sure she's a good sturdy size, that your girls all have plenty of room, and introduce her. I think she'll do fine.
 

chauqg

Songster
10 Years
Jun 13, 2009
131
2
101
If she is a mature size put her in during the night and in the morning or next day they will work it out. Longest 1 day then it will be over and all will live happily ever after. Chickens are very good at establishing a pecking order especially with the smaller number of birds. Keep in mind what brickman said about space,

that is most important to an unstressed environment.

Good Luck!
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