Replacing a chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MomOf3BoysR, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. MomOf3BoysR

    MomOf3BoysR New Egg

    Oct 7, 2015
    I was given 3 chickens that were already laying and it has been quite a fun learning experience for myself and my three boys, but we've had to learn as we go! I'm guessing the chickens are about 9 months old. Recently, we lost one to a raccoon (I think) and so we are down to 2 now. Id love to get a couple more chickens, but we are limited on space. Our coop has room for 4-5, but I've been told you don't want to buy just 2-3 chicks. Would buying started pullets be a good idea? Would they be big enough to put in with my other two? We have golden buffs. If so, does it matter what breed we get?
    Thank you for the help!
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Started pullets are a great option! Definitely get a minimum of 2; introducing a single bird is a bad idea. Started pullets can range anywhere from 6-18 weeks depending on the seller. (If you happen to be in northern CA I know a great place).

    Breed doesn't matter, though avoid more than 1 Rhode Island Red.

    Introduction should be done over a period of 1-2 weeks. The best method is to let them sleep in a cage or crate inside the the coop during the night, and let them roam in a temporary pen (chicken wire and t-posts set up in one corner of your run are adequate) during the day. After 7-14 days you can wait until night fall and then place them on the roost beside your older hens. The younger the birds are the longer introduction should be; for example 16 weeks olds would do fine with 1 week separate introduction, 8 week olds should have at least two weeks.

    And remember: pullets need a GROWER feed. Non-medicated and around 18% protein. If you buy pullets 8-14 weeks old, switch the entire flock to a grower and supplement your older hens with a handful of oyster shell in the morning. If they are 14-18 weeks, mix a bag of grower and a bag of layer 50/50 and feed this mix until the pullets are at least 16 weeks of age. At 16 weeks pullets can go onto a layer feed.

    Any birds younger than 8 weeks should be penned separately until they reach this age or older.

    And don't forget about quarantine! Any birds from an untrusted source, i.e. an auction, swap, or backyard breeder, need a 2-3 week quarantine before you let them anywhere near your birds! Quarantine must be done somewhere physically separate from your flock, like a laundry room, garage, or the opposite side of your house from your coop. Always wash your hands after handling birds in quarantine!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  3. lindalouly

    lindalouly Grd Ctrl 2 Major Tom

    I think with only two... It doesn't matter how you get your next two or three... Chicks require inside set up..... But they are soooooooo cute. Pullets near the point of lay are fine too. Both ways are going to require the introduction issues that may or may not arise. Good luck and hope you increase your flock soon!!!!
  4. texsuze

    texsuze Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2012
    Good advice given in above posts. I've introduced new birds to an existing flock of older hens. Two years ago I brought in a single hen (Betty, needed a buddy immediately!), and last year, 3 started pullets. Both introductions turned out fine. A little jostling at first, but everyone is doing their thing now.

    Since you've had a possible raccoon situation, my suggestion would be first and foremost, take measures now to prevent that from happening again. Whether it is securing the run, predator-proofing your free-range area (best that you can), changing/adding different wire on/around the coop, etc. No point in bringing in more chickens if they might be subject to the same type of predator attack. Good luck and enjoy!

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