Should I get some more chickens or leave them as they are?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by spanner's crew, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. spanner's crew

    spanner's crew New Egg

    Jan 7, 2012
    I have 6 ex-farm hens which I rescued from the not-so-free range farm I work on.. Problem is, each flock at the farm gets killed at the end of every year and naturally I really want to rescue more. I got ten last year, sadly four died in one month but for the last few months the remaining 6 have been doing great and we have no problems at all. I would love to get a couple more hens.. We have plenty of room but I don't want a total of more than ten because I just don't feel they'd been maximumly comfortable and I have to bear in mind that next year I'll be leaving them under the charge of my mother when I'm at uni- other wise I'd probably end up with half the farm! 8 seems like an ideal number for their pen and little field.
    The sitution's pretty good- the chickens are exactly the same type, have had exactly the same first year of life, are the same size etc, the only difference is that they're a year apart (current birds are just over 2 years old, new birds will be just over one) so mixing them probably won't be as risky as it could be in terms of dominance.
    I'm mainly scared about bringing in some kind of disease or problem. As I say, they're healthy now and every thing is great, ironically the birds on the farm have far more preventatives for disease and stuff than my girls have so you'd think the risk of some kind of contamination would be small. I work on the farm and the only real problem they've had has been with red mite and that's manageable.
    I'd feel awful to not take some when I know I realistically easily could but I don't want to risk the life of my girls, at the same time.
    I only have until next weekend to pick some up! (fortunately I've also drafted my neighbours and sister to rescue some too so I've made a little difference, at least.) Seeing these animals having to be killed is so upsetting.

    Also, going on the asumption that I will most likely end up with a couple, what's the best way to go about introductions? The two most popular ideas I've found have been either popping them in the pen as it gets dark or letting them all out together into the garden (not really my chickens' space as they're usually confined to only one part of it) to meet on nuetral grounds- which is prefered? (the garden poses the issues of a friendly but very playful puppy and 3 INCREDIBLY nosy old bantams, too)
    Is tempory isolation for the newbies a good idea too, to watch out for any illness?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  2. humpbacks1962

    humpbacks1962 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2007
    Middletown, CT
    While your concern about the chickens is understandable, do your best to accept your limitations too! Your home is not a sanctuary and your mom may not be able to care for all your rescued chickens.

    That said, I introduce new ones by setting a hutch up against the edge of the run where the older ones are. After several days, I let them mingle. There's always an interaction or two but eventually they accept each other.
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hi Spanners crew,

    wow, it is great that you are rescuing chickens. It's your mom who maybe should make the call. Are 8 that much harder to care for than 6? Is she as enthusiastic as you are.

    Regarding could be that your chickens are already exposed to the diseases on the farm, unless you practice some strict biosecurity---change clothes, use different shoes, shower etc. between work and tending your home flock.

    Have a heart-to-heart talk with your mother and see if she wants more chickens to care for while you are away......

    good luck which ever way you choose to go.

    And a big WELCOME to the BYC forum.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  4. spanner's crew

    spanner's crew New Egg

    Jan 7, 2012
    Thank you for your responses!
    Thankfully my mother loves chickens as much as I do and I was actually the one at the farm telling her we couldn't take any more!
    I ended up getting three (Jungle Jimmy, Tumble Timmy and Barbie!) and I put them in the chickens' house last night on a separate perch. I went down at sun rise this morning and was greeted by a little swabbling but nothing that a couple of handfuls of sweetcorn couldn't sort out (except the newbies have no idea what it is.) Definitely glad that I got some, they're so sweet and Barbie particularly is an absolute darling and is running around with the rest like she's known them for ever :)
    Looking forward to introducing them to the joys of porridge and straw filled nesting boxes- what a life!
  5. TinaK

    TinaK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2010
    I have a similar issue! I have a 'not so free range' egg farm just down the road from me! We have rescued 7 so far (3 passed away)... but there is an ENDLESS supply of these poor ISA browns that they sell for $3 a pop when they reach the end of their first laying year. I don't want any more ISA browns but I do feel so bad. My hubby went and picked up the last 4 that I got and he was appalled by the conditions that they were in..... I was glad that I didn't go with him.

    Happy to see that your new ladies are home and getting ready for a life of pampering... they deserve it [​IMG]
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
  7. spanner's crew

    spanner's crew New Egg

    Jan 7, 2012
    exactly the same for me- it's heartbeaking and I know it can only be worse for caged birds! Since working there and seeing what free range farms are really like I've refused to eat any eggs which aren't from chickens I know personally.
    I can't believe they charge you for them! I can understand charities which rescue them asking for money but from the actual farms seems mad- those chickens are worth about 10p to them dead and they have to pay for slaughter and transportation.. My boss is nice , she would rather see them rehomed and lets me have them for free (and then i extend that offer by offering them to friends and family!)
    Great to hear you've adopted some, though! I wish I could take them all in but I think my garden might not be big enough for 11,000 new hens every year..

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