Raising a single chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by FluffyPuff, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. FluffyPuff

    FluffyPuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I have 18 chickens (in my backyard...can you believe it?), and so the director of a agriculture sciences school has requested some fertilized eggs. I only have hens so I got him 2 or 3 dozen eggs from a friend. In the mix included golden laced wyandottes, silver laced wyandottes and black Australops. Because we had to go out of town to get them we made an arrangement to where I got to pick one single chick for myself. I had the idea that I could really imprint with her so that I could use her as a therapy animal for other people and keep as a pet (when I say pet I mean she would be with me all the time and I'd take her places). I was wondering if keeping her separate from the flock is an option. I realize chickens need to have a flock and will get extremely lonley but I'm wondering if I never introduced a flock in the first place and me and my family and sweet dog (who is friends with our existing chickens) were her flock that she would be ok. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. SJchickens

    SJchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are instinctively social animals. They can survive without a flock for a short time (I've found adding mirrors helps them feel less alone, and apparently feather dusters do, too), but they will not thrive on their own forever. If you really want to keep her separated from the rest of the flock, I suggest you get her at the bare minimum a single fellow chicken. We have two Cochin chicks that do fine as long as they are together, but you definitely don't want to leave just one alone. They need someone to huddle up with at night!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  3. FluffyPuff

    FluffyPuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Maybe she will imprint with us and it will go well. If she seems stressed at any point I will have to get her friend.
     
  4. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised a chick all by herself. She started peeping loudly at 3am and would continue peeping all day. I would not get a single chick unless you are available 24/7.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Yes, I'd say it's possible. But it could never be alone or it would suffer greatly from abandonment. You would be assuming a great responsibility.

    If the chick has never known what other chickens are, and it is constantly with humans, or say, dogs or kittens, it would imprint on those and look upon them as its "flock".

    Next you need to address its needs at each stage of life. In the beginning, chicks need constant touch and heat transfer for their well being. You would have to be prepared to keep it next to your body during the first few weeks as it feathers out, much as a kangaroo keeps its young. Feeding would be a hassle, but you could manage if you're dedicated to feeding it at least every hour during the day. (You could expect it to sleep most of the night, but how would you manage the heat transfer issue when you're sleeping?) Are you creative and resourceful enough to think up ways around this problem?

    As it gets independent of heat needs, you need to understand it needs constant companionship. Chickens can imprint on a dog, a rabbit, a goat, etc, as their "flock" and be content. How would you arrange that? If it's humans you want the chick to imprint on, you need to be prepared to indeed take her everywhere. My first question is how will you address the poop issue?

    In summary, anything is possible. But after giving it long and careful consideration, most people will conclude chickens are best off with their own kind in a coop and run.
     
  6. FluffyPuff

    FluffyPuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    all the other chicks I've raised didn't get fed every hour. I left a feeder out for them. Would that not work in this situation? I guess it's not a good idea anyway.
     
  7. FluffyPuff

    FluffyPuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Once a full grown chicken did she do ok by herself?
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    If you are going to give the baby chick warmth and the closeness chicks require by keeping it warm with your body heat, you will have to feed it somehow. Yes, baby chicks normally eat constantly, but they're in a brooder with other chicks under a heat lamp. Yours could be in a brooder all alone under a heat lamp and have constant access to food, but it may not eat because it's chirping constantly due to being lonely. A lone chick has an instinctive need for bodily contact with another living being, and will be chirping, trying to locate it.

    It's going to be very difficult to satisfy both the instinctive need for food and water and the need for closeness and warmth at the same time. One is just as critical as the other.
     
  9. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes. She did fine. She was very friendly towards people and would follow us around. By the way she died six months ago.
     
  10. FluffyPuff

    FluffyPuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think I'm just going to get two to save me the hassle and reduce the potential stress on the chicks.
     

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