1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Singletons

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Direchicken, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. Direchicken

    Direchicken Out Of The Brooder

    46
    7
    24
    Aug 6, 2011
    Passage West
    Hi All. We have 10 chickens now, all raised from a young age, but only three were hatched in our incubator. All three came from sets where theirs was the only egg to hatch, and for all three we found companion chicks as quickly as possible, thinking it might not be a good idea to have chicks being raised on their own (this is why we've ended up with 10 chickens!). These three incubator chicks have been much friendlier than the others, which we got from various places at ages between 1 day and 5 weeks. So I was wondering, were these chicks especially friendly because they are only-chicks (and so, for a period of a few days, had no one but us for company) or do chicks reared by humans from hatch tend to be friendlier than bird-reared chicks regardless of the number of siblings they have? Also, there is plenty of advice out there on chicken forums about how it's best to raise chickens in the company of their peers (should that be peeps?), but how many of you have tried raising a chick all on its own for any length of time, and what were the consequences? Thanks for any thoughts on this!
     
  2. MuckyPuppy

    MuckyPuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

    595
    5
    111
    Jun 11, 2011
    UK
    We have a chick that was the only one to hatch from 24 eggs. He mostly lives in the house. We didn't get him a companion because our small backyard flock is closed to everything except chicks that we hatch from eggs. We have tried to hatch him some friends but had no luck recently from our shipped hatching eggs. He is now just over 5 weeks and very friendly. We do take him outside to visit the older chicks everyday but only under supervision - he is much smaller than our other chicks were at 5 weeks. So far it seems to have worked out very well. We do have 18 eggs in the incubator currently and we hope that soon he will at least have others in the house with him and be a part of a group of his own.
     
  3. Direchicken

    Direchicken Out Of The Brooder

    46
    7
    24
    Aug 6, 2011
    Passage West
    Thanks MuckyPuppy!

    What breed of chicken is your singleton? And do you know for sure that it's a boy? Our first two hatched birds were autosexing girls. The first was a Welsummer called Hannah, who I thought was exceptionally friendly until we hatched our second bird, a Cream Legbar called Harriet who is cuddlier than most puppies. The last one (Leghorn/Buff Orp cross that I threw into the incubator on a whim) is only 2.5 weeks old but is already an obvious male. He has a larger comb than ANY of our 9 other chickens (the oldest of which are about 16 weeks), and I've seen him chest-bumping with chickens more than twice his age! But all three singletons have been noticeably more friendly than their companions, sourced from 6 different farms and small breeders.

    I'm glad to hear that your bird is also growing up to be friendly without any chicks to keep it company. I suspect that singleton chicks would be quite happy being raised on their own provided that they had company of some sort, whether bird, human or other sociable animal. But we noticed that despite having food, water and warmth, our single chicks tended to shout loudly when left on their own.

    Just one bit of off-topic advice regarding your incubator. Having also experienced very low hatch rates, we found that the most likely culprit was humidity. Most commercial incubators have no difficulty maintaining an appropriate temperature, but many allow only rudimentary measurement and control of humidity. We bought a small, wireless humidity sensor which we now put in the incubator with the eggs, and found that humidity levels at default settings were way too high early on. By partly covering the water well in the centre of the incubator we think we can get much better hatching rates than we were experiencing before!

    Best of luck,

    Mark
     
  4. catsew

    catsew Chillin' With My Peeps

    289
    1
    99
    Jun 14, 2011
    I also have a single chick, (s)he's 8 weeks tomorrow and super friendly. He'll sit on your shoulder/lap, follows us everywhere around the yard. Now he is a little skittish and takes forever to try new things, like food. Where the other chickens usually one will try something and everybody follows.
    When he was a baby he was in the house with us and the dogs and was only loud for the first 3 days. When I would take him outside I would put his fence next to the other fence so he could see the other chickens and he did learn to be more like a chicken from them.
    He is only 1 month apart from the others, but nowhere close to being introduced yet.
     
  5. Direchicken

    Direchicken Out Of The Brooder

    46
    7
    24
    Aug 6, 2011
    Passage West
    Thanks Catsew, I'd be curious to see what your wee one turns out like. Good to know that the shouting only went on for 3 days (though I bet it was a long old 3 days!)
     
  6. MuckyPuppy

    MuckyPuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

    595
    5
    111
    Jun 11, 2011
    UK
    Your welcome. [​IMG]

    He is a Dutch Booted Bantam (Sablepoot). I think he is a breed slightly harder to find in the US but easier to find in the UK. We currently live in the UK. Like Catsew's chick ours only did the constant chirping for a few days. Now he only is louder when he needs something or he think we may have a treat that he wants to share. [​IMG] His favorite perch is our youngest son's arm and shoulder. To be honest he is just lovely. We are pretty sure he is a boy because his comb is very red. Also like Catsew's chick, he is not ready to be with the other chicks without supervision or a barrier between them.

    Our female Pekin chick (bantam Cochin) chest bumps everyone. Once she plucked a couple of feathers out of one of our male Pekin chicks because he was bothering her and chased him all over the place. She doesn't bother the other one too much because he is just a sweetheart and gets along with just about everyone.

    Thank you for the incubation suggestions. I am trying lower humidity this time around. Hopefully we will have a decent hatch!
     
  7. catsew

    catsew Chillin' With My Peeps

    289
    1
    99
    Jun 14, 2011
    My friend hatched them for us. We got 2 out of the first batch, both roosters, and then only 1 out of the 2nd. She tried changing the humidity the 2nd time, but it obviously still wasn't right or didn't help. We're going to try again next spring.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by