Safe to add a stray chicken to my flock?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by 6Pipers, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. 6Pipers

    6Pipers New Egg

    Sep 1, 2016
    Hi all--
    Our family is new to chicken keeping as of this spring. We have a nice flock of six hens purchased as chicks this spring that are just starting to lay. The flock is doing well and all of the birds seem healthy and content. My concern is this--my kids found a stray hen at the park yesterday, fell in love with her, brought her home, and desperately want to add her to the flock. I've been reading online, and can see that there may be some social difficulties with integrating her into the flock, but aside from this, I am wondering if it is even safe to do so? She seems healthy, and I see no evidence of mites or other external parasites, but I still am somewhat worried that she could introduce some sort of disease. Is this a problem I need to be concerned with? If so, what would be the best approach to minimize risk? I would very much appreciate some advice from those of you that have been keeping chickens for longer!
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I think that i would be inclined to place an advert / poster stating that you have a stray chicken (ask anyone saying its theirs to describe the chicken before handing it over).

    If you do decide to keep her, then you would need to quarantine her for a month or so, just to make sure that she does not show signs of developing any illnesses that could spread to your existing flock.

    Here's a link on how to integrate a single hen into the flock

    Good luck

    1 person likes this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    If you do quarantine her you will need to take care of your birds first , then her. Have a separate set of clothes, shoes, maybe gloves that you only use in caring for her. You will especially need to be careful about not using the shoes from HER with your established flock. So much can be carried in on the bottom of a shoe. Practice a lot of hand washing also and dispose of her waste where your birds wouldn't come in contact with it.

    On the other hand, kids have to learn they can't get everything they want. You could explain the reasons for NOT keeping her, if that's what you decide.
    2 people like this.
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings, 6Pipers, and :welcome. Happy you joined us. I agree with CTKen and Diva above. Best of luck to you.
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Chickens can appear perfectly healthy but be carriers of viruses that they can then pass on to others. I didn't follow quarantine procedures when I first started out and I ended up bringing a very unpleasant virus into my flock which is extremely long lived and there is no treatment for sick birds, which suffer paralysis and tumours and often die. Don't make the mistake I did..... quarantine.

    Are you sure the chicken they found is a female? Many male birds get dumped as soon as it become apparent to the owner that they are cockerels, so it is more likely that a juvenile cockerel would be found straying than a pullet or hen. Might be worth posting a photo in the "What breed or gender" section to male sure you have a female before you make any other decisions. If it's a cockerel and you aren't allowed them in your area, then it may solve your problem before you even start to think about quarantine.


  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  7. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    CTKen has given you some excellent advice.
  8. kat914

    kat914 New Egg

    Sep 2, 2016
    I wouldn't. A sick chicken can kill an entire flock in a heart beat. Bird flu or any type of Avian sickness is no joke. If you decide to keep her. Proceed with extreme caution as Drumstick Diva stated. The more birds you have the greater the loss becomes. Time money and a flock if adding that one bird doesn't work out. Think of it as the greater good. 'Kill one to save a thousand'

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