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VERY Lonely Hen!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by wmroth, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. wmroth

    wmroth Out Of The Brooder

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    Just over a year ago we purchases chick and put them in a separate coop. We had some older chickens in an older coop. We kept the new girls (babies) separate from the older birds because we were afraid the bigger girls would hurt the babies. After four month or so the babies started to die and we were told that they most likely had Merek's. Long story short we lost all but one chicken. Today, she is a beautiful hen. I tried to let her free range with our older girls but they just fight. We would like to purchase some pullets (4 months old) and put them with our lonely hen. Can we do that? If so, how do we put the new pullets (vaccinated for Merek's) with our lonely hen so that they all become friendly? How do you merge two separate flocks? Any help is appreciated! Thanks for reading our thread.
     
  2. MaggieP

    MaggieP Out Of The Brooder

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    I was able to integrate brand new chicks with a lonely SLW. I kept them (6) inside for about a week and a half then put them outside in the run In a dog crate covered in chicken wire. I had a heat lamp for them and protection from wind and rain. (It was also summer in Florida so it was hot outside) . I kept it that way for 3-4 weeks. I loved when I would look out the window and see my SLW sleeping next to their cage. In the last week I would let the chicks out in the run alone and provided plenty of hiding spaces that only they could fit into. I let them get familiar, then, while supervised, let them out at the same time as my hen. She certainly gave some warning pecks and they got the message and tried to always stay clear. So then for about a week I let them together but made an opening in the dog cage that only they could fit through so they had access to food and water without any pecking. Everything went really smoothly so finally after about 5 weeks I took them from their roost in the dog crate and put them on a roost just outside the hen house (fully covered). In the morning I went out and everyone survived! Not one visible sign of pecking. But also remember I am providing an area the chicks can go in but the hen cant fit through the opening. The next night they went in the hen house. I stood by to see how it would go. There was again a couple of warning pecks from my hen but all settled down fine. The "chicks" are now just over 4 months and they all get along great with her! She is certainly the head hen in charge. But they love her and she loves them. It was a long drawn out process they way I did it but it worked for me. Good luck. I felt terrible when my girl was all alone.
     
  3. MaggieP

    MaggieP Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This was my set up so my SLW hen could get comfortable with the chicks and the chicks with her.
     
  4. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At four months old they will be old enough that they likely won't be hurt by your older hen. You can try introducing two or three at a time to her so she won't be overwhelmed. She is likely going to peck your younger ones to let them know who is going to be boss. That will settle down in a couple of days. Then put a couple of more new ones in the coop and the pecking order will start again with the new ones for another day or two. You didn't say how many new ones your were introducing. If it's a very large number, it might overwhelm your older girl. I'm sure she will try to establish her dominance, but if she has to fight to many of them, she may end up avoiding them also. If you are just getting four or five new ones, then just introduce them in two groups a few days apart. That's what I would do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  5. MaggieP

    MaggieP Out Of The Brooder

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    That is extactly how my vet said to do it if I introduced older ones; just a couple at a time. Best to let them get used to each other through a fence of some sort before putting them in together even if it is the coop at night method. I went with the younger ones because I knew I wanted 6 and didn't want to overwhelm her with 6 that where almost her size. I wanted her to feel like they were joining her, not she was joining them.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Did the vet do a necropsy to confirm you are in fact dealing with Mareks?
     
  7. wmroth

    wmroth Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the info. this will help in planning for new birds.

    As for the Merek's. I sent one of my chickens to Penn State and the vet there said the chicken had signs (at the cellular level) of Merek's. She suggested that we cull the flock. I just could not kill my birds. So I vaccinated all my chicks and watched them die off. A but jet a big black cooper maran.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Then they will always carry it and your soil will too.....vaccination on any additional birds should save their lives but don't sell any off without full disclosure.
     
  9. wmroth

    wmroth Out Of The Brooder

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    That is what Penn State vet told us. All new birds will be vaccinated. thanks
     

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