To get another hen or not; THAT is the question...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chick_In_The_Burbs, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Ok, background... We lost Shania, a 14 month old EE last week to massive uterin tumors. We now have five ladies in a coop big enough for six.

    I want another hen for three reasons. First, I love chickens; they're entertaining, inexpensive and easy to care for. (Sound familiar? [​IMG]) Second, I think that another body will help keep everyone warmer when winter hits. Third, I have a fear that I may loose Shania's sister Scrambles; they were very alike and I just don't know how likely she is to get tumors too. And I definantly don't want to go through a winter with only four ladies in the coop.

    For the Con's; the technical difficulties of intergrating a single chicken into an exhisting flock. I do have a seperate coop I can quarentine and introduce the new bird from (Eglu Cube) but otherwise it's a small yard so anything airborn would be likely to make it to my girls anyway. I could keep the newcommer in the house for a week just to help with that but all the same...

    If we do get another lady I want to do it soon so I can have everyone together before hard winter hits. Otherwise it's a moot point until March at the earliest. I will not put a single bird out for quarentine with the insane weather we can have out here.

    I was also thinking it might be easier to intergrate a larger bird, like a Brahma or Cochin. I'm just thinking that a bigger bird may not be as easily intimidated but might keep the others from being too agressive simply because of her size.

    Opinions, Insights?

  2. bustermommy

    bustermommy Songster

    Apr 16, 2011
    My light sussex outsize the rest by at least 1/4. They are the most picked on. Size doesn't matter in that regard. I'd think they'd gang up on her if you tried to introduce a single. When I introduced some new hens this week, they are getting chased and I put in 5 new ones as once (4 hens and a roo). They're even chasing the roo who is definitely bigger than they are. There's one in particular that is the leader and I may have to put her in timeout (still giving them time to work it out).

    Temperament/aggressiveness has a lot more to do with it than size.
  3. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Quote:Hummm... Three of my current batch are pretty laid back. I would probably have to seperate Scrambles out for a few days, maybe Freckles too. There'd be no hardship with that; I'd just move them into the coop that I was using to quarentine the new girl. But then I'd definantly need a lady with some attitude. When I intergrated 3 to 3, the one that took the longest was my flighty little hamburg simply because she exudid timidity and fear constantly. So, a chicken with a certain level of confidence, enough to stand up for herself and not put up with the bullying... Not sure which breeds I should be looking at for that. [​IMG] No mater what, eventually I will be adding in a new girl so that question will still be there even if I wait until March.
  4. BetterHensandGardens

    BetterHensandGardens Songster

    Feb 28, 2010
    Clinton, OH
    I don't believe that size necessarily plays a role in the pecking order or will insure a new girl doesn't get picked on. Our golden buffs are far smaller and fewer that our Buckeyes, yet they rule the roost (and everything else)! There are some suggestions for introducing new chickens here: Basically if they can see a new girl for awhile but she's protected by being in another cage or enclosure it seems to cut down a lot on the initial beating the new bird takes.

  5. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    Northern Wisconsin
    I introduced 6 new hens and I kept reading on here all the problems or fights that occur, well they didn't fight at all.... they all are fine together! So the only way you will know is trying!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by