Starting with a Flock of One


7 Years
Oct 15, 2012
Hey everyone - a few questions from a newbie who's been lurking for a while. :)

I'm going to be getting my first chicken at Thanksgiving - she's a Polish Top Hat from my parent's mixed flock that's been pecked so badly that they've had to literally set up dividers in the run to keep her safe. I'm going to be building my coop over the next several weekends, and I'm starting to consider the logistics of getting some companions for Tina the Top Hat. (Named after Tina Turner, of course!)

Tina's been in a separate enclosure but still within view of the other chickens since sometime in August. I know that ultimately she'll need companions, but should I try to find another year-ish old hen immediately to stay with her, or would it be better to give her a few weeks to get used to her new coop? Given the time of year, should I perhaps wait until spring and raise her some companions myself? Would she be ok on her own for that long?

Since she's been pecked so badly already, I clearly don't want her to end up in the same situation again, so I was thinking of just getting bantams rather than full sized birds. Does that make sense to you all as a way to try to prevent any issues? Tina is the smallest of my parent's flock, and we think that's why she was pecked. Could I get a mix of bantams without worrying about coming out to find her skull exposed again, or are there certain bantam species that I should steer clear of? I'm considering a couple of cornish, another polish top hat, an ameraucana and maybe a bantam buff orpington.

I can get all but one of these types as day old straight run chicks from Ideal, hatching Oct 31st. If I went ahead and ordered them now (I was thinking 5 of each type would give me a good shot at making sure I had pullets from each, and then I could process or try to sell/rehome the extras), at what point would they be hardy enough to go out to the coop? Before Christmas? And then when could I put them in with Tina? There's space in the coop plan to keep them separated until the chicks are old enough, but I've seen conflicting info on what age that actually happens at.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!
I would NOT get striaght run. You may end up with too many roos to get rid of. If you can try and get pullets. If you get baby's DO DON'T put them with the hen. She may attack and kill themm as they are not her's. You will need to introduce them slowing by letting them live next( so they can see each other) to each other for a while before letting them mingle together. I would get any new hens or chick right away she will need the companionship. Good luck
I have bantams and LF together wih few problems, I have a contraption that allows the bantams to "escape" from the LF- this has worked well for us. We have Cornish Bantams and Dutch Bantams, Cornish are a little aggressive but slow- The dutch hens are bossy but not mean they are also good layers. I have LF Ameraucana, EEs, Barred Holland and Leghorns. EE & Ameraucana are gentle- Barred Hollands are too, but the Leghorns are plain stupid and a little mean to newbies and those that are younger and weaker in the pecking order.
Thanks for the responses! I think I'm going to try to find another Polish locally, just because the logistics of raising chicks right now isn't working out. LeJune1, do you happen to have a picture of your 'contraption'? I'm building the coop now, so I can plan to put in something similar. :)

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