I'm a very new chicken owner having inherited 2 Rhode Island Reds with the house I bought 2 months ago. Unfortunately one of the hens died and Big Joe was left on her own.
All advice said she would be very lonely and needed friends, and indeed she bonded with me and I've become very fond of her.
So I went to purchase 2 POL as a flock for her but was convinced, at the poultry farm, to take 2 older chooks with about 1 year of laying left, who had been relinquished that morning. The owner told me they were placid and would be great with my girl.
Well they're not. I read all about the brutal hierarchy process so I was prepared but I wasn't prepared for the 2 new hens to completely bully and isolate my girl. I feel unsure that I've done the right thing - she's still lonely and isolated in her own home now. Would this situation really be better than being on her own?
It's been about 6 days, they are separated except for a bit of supervised free ranging. Big Joe just avoids the others now (which is sad in itself) but they will seek her out, jump on her and attack, sometimes together. I do understand that chooks have their own behaviours but...I'm finding it difficult to believe I've made her life happier!
Any advice from all you experts would be so welcome. Should I leave her on her own? Should I preservere with these 2? Should I get a couple of younger hens instead? Who knew chickens were so complicated!