Seeking advice on adding new chickens to flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by uncledaddy, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. uncledaddy

    uncledaddy Hatching

    Jun 15, 2011
    Seemed like the best place to post this, not sure......We are new to this and have had our 4 chickens since end of September when they were 4 days old and everything was going well until last week when we realized that we had 3 roosters in the flock. We cannot have roosters where we live, nor did we want them, so the breeder kindly agreed to take the roosters back. I kept one for the time being so the single pullet would not be alone. The breeder gave me a pullet in exchange for the roosters, as that was all that he had at the moment. I knew that we would need to keep this one separate for about a month until we could introduce it to the other hen and the last rooster would just have to stay until we could get her some company. It turns out that when i got home I noticed that the pullet was wheezing slightly and seemed lethargic. I also noticed a slight bit of clear nasal discharge, so I went to the feed store and told them the symptoms and they gave me some tetracycline and after 24 hours on it she seems to be doing a bit better. She is still not eating, but I am letting time tell me what to do with this bird for now. That all being said, the real issue is that the rooster started crowing this morning for the first time and he's going to have to go. I really don't want to leave the other bird alone because she is doing so well.

    We were planning on going to the poultry show in Newnan tomorrow and were thinking that maybe we should try to get 2-3 older pullets that are about the same age as the one that remains and just put them together and see what happens. I know that it is best to quarantine new birds but I don't have anywhere to really do that with larger birds closer to laying age. The rooster will soon be gone and I guess my thinking was that adding new hens to the one would be easier on them, unless the new ones happen to bring something home. If we got chicks we have a room in the basement where they could be in a brooder away from the sick bird.

    I know this is a lot to digest, but I am just looking for any advice or a point of view that I might not have considered at this point. This will be the first show that I've been to and I assume that they have chickens for sale there.

    Thanks i really appreciate any feedback!

  2. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I started my flock with 8 day-old chicks almost two years ago and have added new birds twice since. When my first eight were pullets, I lost one to a bobcat and about a month later, purchased two little Easter Egger chicks, that I raised separately in the garage until they were maybe 8 weeks old. When I introduced them to my existing 7, the new girls were each other's support group. I'd often come to the coop at night to close the pop door and find the two EE pullets actually snuggling together on top of the open pop door, rather than inside with the older chickens. I'd have to pick them up and bring them around to the man-sized door and tuck them onto the shelf above the egg boxes, because they were afraid to roost with the big girls.

    Last summer I kept two of the pullets from my flock of 35 Freedom Rangers, introducing them to the existing flock (now down to 7 because I lost two more of the original 8). 6 months later, the two Freedom Rangers still hang together and a year later the two EEs hang together. There is harmony among the whole flock, but the girls seem to have a particular comfort in their...what...class mates (?).

    So, since you will be basicly introducing a few pullets at the same time to a single pullet, I don't really know what will happen. I think they will be uneasy for a few days and then go to work figuring out pecking order. As long as they have plenty of room so that lower dominance birds can get away from higher dominance ones, I think they should be able to work things out.

    I am, however, a bit concerned about not quarantening the new birds for a few weeks. Is there any chance you could keep your rooster for a bit longer? Maybe you could talk to your closest neighbors and see if they even hear the rooster. Mine were pretty feeble for the first 3 or 4 weeks before they got a good crow going. They might take pitty on you if you tell them your situation, knowing the rooster will only be there for a short time.

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