single lonely chicken - to buy chicks or not?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by soulman, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. soulman

    soulman New Egg

    Aug 4, 2011
    Hi all, i'm relatively new to raising chickens... here goes:

    My dog managed to force her way out of the kennel fence... and killed 2 out of the 3 chickens in my little flock.

    I'm keeping the surviving chicken indoors for the time being, but she often cries out loud (there's a distinctly distressing sound to it), especially right after i leave her alone. She's a little over 6 weeks old now, and I'm supposed to stop feeding her the chick starter diet and switch to the pullet thing...
    I'm a bit hesitant to buy new chicks, because if i do, I need a separate feed tray for starter feed and another for the pullet. And I need to keep the chickens from eating the wrong feed.

    So it boils down to this:
    Either get new chicks and find a way to keep their feed separate from the older chicken, or, let the older chicken alone?

    This is where you guys come in..
    Will a chicken cope well with the solitude of being the only chicken in the house?
    Do 6-week-old single chickens cope well with 1-day-old chicks? My concern here is that the chicken is still in its teens - so i don't know if she'll act like a mom or like an elder sister to the chicks?

    I've done some searching on the net but there doesn't seem the be many cases like this one...
    Any help or advice much appreciated!
  2. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2011
    west virginia
    lonely chick, how sad for her, yes, she is calling out for someone and doesn't want to be it a loud chirp? that gets louder and more insistent? and just tugs you back to hold her? poor thing
    I have a hen, she had 5 chicks, whenever I took one too far away it would start to call, and amazing how loud it could get! I believe it called a hen turkey into our meadow (that probably lost her chicks) because she was there 2 days in a row, clucking and looking in circles....for her lost chicks.
    No, it won't attach to younger chicks and may even attack them, actually, more than likely, however having them nearby might be soothing and they will grow up fast, chickens like to be in flocks, safety in numbers, so eventually your lonely chick will attach to other chickens, it might just take time, getting another chicken the same age would probably be the best bet, but don't try defenseless peeps, it only takes a few pecks to kill. 4 weeks old might work. She won't mother the chicks, once they are old enough to run and get away if need be would I introduce them in the same area.
    I think your right that a solo chicken might not be as happy as 2or 3, someone to talk to when your not there who really understands what she's saying...ha ha
    don't worry about her eating chick starter, I still let my older chickens have it a taste as a treat, even though they are still big babies, they grow tired of it soon enough and go on to other things, so it won't hurt the older bird, you might try to find someone in your area with chicks near the same age, if you were near me I'd give you a few of my extras
    good luck !
  3. JD4570

    JD4570 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Soulman, sorry to hear about your loss. I would say to try to find chicks at a farmers co-op if at all possible, because they're usually a little older , say about two to three weeks old. As far as the feed goes you can go up to twelve weeks of age with starter/grower feed and I go from twelve to twenty weeks on grower/finisher before switching to layer feed. Your girl will become big sister, Diggitty , my lonely chick did even though she was two weeks younger than the six I bought. First thing she showed the newcomers was the proper way to scratch and since then she has been a two legged feathered rototiller! Don' t be afraid to ask questions here because I've been raising chickens thirty plus years and still learn something new everyday. By the way welcome to B.Y.C. and this way of life!
  4. soulman

    soulman New Egg

    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks for your reply! And you're right - the chirps do get louder and louder.. I never thought a chicken could get so loud!
    hmm, about having friends to talk to... now that I think about it, I've often seen birds (mostly doves and pigeons) fly over and come close to the chickens. They fly away upon seeing me, but I suspect they're after the chicken feed.. Or some chicken company? or both?
    Interestingly (or perhaps not?), they don't seem to see the chickens as a threat (same goes for the chickens) and walk quite freely around them. Not sure if chickens understand pigeon talk though.. Anybody have experience dealing with inter-species avian communication, by any chance?
    oh and, unless you happen to live in Mauritius... I'm afraid giving a few of your extra chicks to me won't be very... erm, practical. But you have my thanks anyhow [​IMG]

    well, at least i can take comfort in remembering.. remembering how happy their short lives had been.
    Thanks for the tip on the starter feed! Like you said, I guess we never stop learning, eh..
    Thirty years, that's a lot of chickens!
  5. zengrrl

    zengrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2011
    Oakland County, MI
    Put a mirror and a stuffed toy or washcloth in with her. When I had to seperate one of my chicks for an eye infection it helped a ton!
  6. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    Where are you located? Maybe a BYCer could sell you or give you a couple 6 week olds [​IMG] I'd try and find her a couple friends. You could post in the wanted to buy section of this forum. Craigslist would be good, too!

    Welcome to BYC
  7. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2011
    west virginia
    Birds of a feather flock together, but everybird comes to the table...
    Some don't seem to mind eating together, others will chase each other off, they learn when and where and wait their turn (opportunity) If I notice alot of birds I know I am feeding too much, sometimes I see chipmunks at the edge of the groups. The little sparrows wait till last..Don't have any pigeons, just 2 doves, but I do know they are there for the food, not companionship,
    I noticed alot of mention about avian flu, parasites, etc from wild birds but I am not buying into it maybe because way out here the birds are pretty healthy and don't live in overcrowded conditions, maybe because I don't believe the cdc presents a good enough argument to worry if a bird flies in amoung my chickens, maybe because my grandparents were long time officials in the audabon society,
    too bad you're so far away, you'll find another chick soon I'm sure, and remember they grow up so fast that a few weeks age difference blurs pretty quickly

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