Risks to peahen of adding new chickens--opinions, please?

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by yorkchick, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. yorkchick

    yorkchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello, peafowl people! I do have a question (down in the last paragraph for anyone who wants to skip all the fluff!!!), but first, for anyone who remembers, I'm the person who had the minor drama with catching a stray white peahen that had decided to move into a neighbor's property, and I knew nothing about peafowl but of course the BYC peafowl people walked me through everything. Well, here's an update since the last time I posted: my "found" white peahen, Eloise, has settled in very nicely. I was going to ask what I'm sure is a real newbie question, do peafowl dust bathe like chickens, but Eloise kindly answered it for me:
    [​IMG]

    That's Gilbert the turkey doing the photobombing there, LOL. But there was also an unhappy turn of events here. I sadly lost almost all my chickens in a single daytime predator incident. The same day neighbors a little ways down the road saw either a fox or a coyote, they're not sure which, several times during the day. I'm reasonably certain that's what got my chickens as I have never had predator problems of that magnitude (lost 10 of my 11 chickens) in the four and a half years of keeping chickens. But I was free ranging, so I knew they were at risk. I know it was a daytime attack because my DH went right out at dusk to close up the coop (I was still at work) and only one chicken and the turkey were inside. When I got home an hour or so later I searched for a long time in the dark and found one body. The next day with daylight to help I was able to find three more. Never did find the other six bodies.

    The one chicken who survived is Bonita, one of my original chickens and my slowest moving, least ambitious bird ever--which saved her, I'm sure, because she was in the habit of going to roost in the coop at least two hours before anyone else. She's four and a half years old, and while my other two birds of that age were still laying (one of them very well, actually), Bonita had for all intents and purposes stopped at about a year and a half old. I always said she just took early retirement. I have the birds primarily for my personal entertainment, so it didn't actually matter to me as long as she was healthy.

    Anyway, the attack left me with a single chicken, not to mention the single turkey and the single peahen I already had, and a fear of letting anyone free range without supervision... The peahen had just passed her 30 day quarantine period, and I'd let her spend a little time with the turkey, which seemed to go fine, before the predator problem. So first I put the turkey in the room in the barn with the pea. But Bonita was very sad out by herself in the chicken coop, and not very interested in eating except when I hand-fed her. I knew Gilbert was okay with chickens, just didn't know if Bonita might get bullied if she was shut up with the bigger birds all day. But I tried it on a day when I could check them frequently. And... Eloise seemed to take to Bonita right away. Maybe she lived with chickens before. Anyway, very often if I peek in after "lights out" they are roosting side-by-side. [​IMG] And Bonita actually bosses Eloise around! Even though Bonita was middle to low on the chicken pecking order before, she can chase Eloise away from a bit of scratch or whatever if she wants it. All three of them seem to get along fine, Gilbert seems to think he's the star of a remake of "Three's Company" but the girls just ignore his attempts at "romance." (oh yeah, just like in "Three's Company" [​IMG]).
    [​IMG]

    OK, now on to the question! How much risk is there to the peahen and the turkey in bringing in new chickens? I am thinking especially of blackhead. I can and would quarantine any new birds, but blackhead wouldn't necessarily show any symptoms in chickens, right? Could the new chickens be treated successfully before being introduced to the other birds, or is it just too risky? The other option, of course, would be to either hatch eggs or get day-old chicks that wouldn't have the risk of having been exposed to the parasite that causes blackhead. And I could definitely wait till spring and do this, I thought at first Bonita was going to need friends but she seems pretty content with Eloise and Gilbert. (I realize all three would ideally be better off with their own species, but given the facilities and budget I have to work with at the moment, adding a few chickens is the most practical. I do have plans to build more coop/aviary space in the spring).
     
  2. BYC-user-174785

    BYC-user-174785 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry for your losses. A few.years.when when our chickens free ranged a fox came and killed eight hens. I would be very cautious with bringing in new chickens. More experienced people can help you with that. You should get your peahen a boyfriend!
     
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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