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Rosey Supposey

Only one hen left - how can I keep her happy?

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I'm down to one hen and I desperately want to keep her. Does anyone have any advice on whether it's possible to do this well please?

 

I absolutely can't get any more chooks at the moment. I've a massive emotional attachment to the last one (she was a very, very poorly ex-bat) and the thought of re-homing her cripples my heart completely. She's also a difficult bird so re-homing wouldn't necessarily be easy.

 

I know the one-hen thing is not generally a good idea, and if I have to get her re-homed somehow then I'll do my damnest to find somewhere that will work for her, but is there anything I can do to give her a fighting chance of being happy on her own here with me? She free-ranges in a large garden all day, so she's not stuck in a run on her own.

 

Is there any way I can make this work? Any advice very grateful received, but please no judgements on me wanting to keep her - I know it's selfish and I am wrestling with that.

 

Thanks for reading.

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I've had a few chooks that have lived on their own for a while for various reasons but they really honestly do miss the company of their pals, they do get a little withdrawn and lose their sparkle after a few weeks

 

I totally understand why you want to keep your hen but long term its not a good idea for her to be alone, they need company of their own kind

 

I know thats not what you wanted to hear but its probably what you thought you would hear :(

 

Sorry

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As Tasha said, she will be OK for a short time, but will go down hill after a while. We used to have three ISA brown hens, two died within six months of each other leaving just Fifi. After two or three months of being on her own she was clearly getting distressed, and spent all day tapping on our conservatory windows or pacing the the garden (we also have a large garden). She was a changed hen as soon as we introduced Di and Anna, accepting them completely within 24hrs. Di passed on last year, but Fifi (now aged six!) and Anna are still best-of-friends and totally inseparable.

 

Andrew

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Our Lulu has been on her own since January and like you I couldn't get her any friends at the time, she was absolutely fine in the Eglu run during the day and a dog cage in the conservatory at night, we gave her plenty of free ranging too and she really seemed to enjoy being on her own, we get plenty of eggs from her :)

 

So now things have settled down we got her two new friends today and whilst she seemed quite disinterested in them at first, she rapidly took to pecking them and leaping on their backs :shock: So we've divided up the run with bamboo canes and Lulu will be back in the conservatory tonight, which is probably just as well as during her attacks on the new girls she's only managed to hurt herself and is now limping a bit :(

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I too am down to one hen (my last three all died within the last month - the vet said it was a viral infection, probably caught from wild birds). Judy has had a course of antibiotics, just to make sure she didn't get the infection, and I thought it best not to buy any more chooks, just in case an infection was around. Anyway, that's nearly three weeks ago, and Judy seems fit and healthy. She's still laying, but unfortunately she now crows in the morning like a cockerel! Not good for the neighbours! Not sure what to do yet.

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Hi, really grateful to you all for posting.

 

I'm going for trying to keep her on her own, but in the meantime check out re-homing options just in case they're needed. I'll hang on and hope for the best (that she's stays happy) whilst preparing for the worse (she has to go and make some new friends somewhere else).

 

Fingers crossed she'll stay happy, but I'll be ready to move her on if needbe.

 

Huge thanks for your advice and opinions. x

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I too am down to one, also an ex-batt who I have now had for two years so an old lady, and like you, circumstances do not permit me to get more. She has been on her own for two months and seems fine - still cheeky and lively and eating etc OK. I do give her lots of fuss and corn cobs etc to keep her occupied and she also pops in to see my rabbits on a regular basis.

 

I would look to rehome her if she deteriorated, but for now, she seems to be OK.

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Thanks for that Cathy, really good to know there's a chance that my last one may settle into her new life as solo chicken okay. Really hope your chook is enjoying the spring! :D

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If you are fine keeping her on her own then go for it. But if she starts looking sad, ill, lonely, bored, etc, the kindest thing to do is rehome her. Some chickens are fine on their own (when we "inherited" our Bluebelle she had lived on her own for a month beforehand but seemed fine about it)but some absolutely hate it. Give it a go, but keep a close eye.

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Hello

 

I'm just re-awakening this thread as I have just been left in the same position as Rosey Supposey and completely echo her sentiments and situation. I was about to write virtually the same thing when I found this:

 

I'm down to one hen and I desperately want to keep her. Does anyone have any advice on whether it's possible to do this well please?

 

I absolutely can't get any more chooks at the moment. I've a massive emotional attachment to the last one (she was a very, very poorly ex-bat) and the thought of re-homing her cripples my heart completely. She's also a difficult bird so re-homing wouldn't necessarily be easy.

 

I know the one-hen thing is not generally a good idea, and if I have to get her re-homed somehow then I'll do my damnest to find somewhere that will work for her, but is there anything I can do to give her a fighting chance of being happy on her own here with me? She free-ranges in a large garden all day, so she's not stuck in a run on her own.

 

Is there any way I can make this work? Any advice very grateful received, but please no judgements on me wanting to keep her - I know it's selfish and I am wrestling with that.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

I am going to see how my last one goes, and have got an option of rehoming her into another flock, but I think the stress of that might be a bit much for an old hen, so I will try her on lots of attention, free-ranging and being taken inside overnight if we have another cold-snap.

 

I thought some of the comments above were encouraging, but I take Redwing's point as well, so will be looking out for how she gets on.

 

Has anybody else had experience of this, and Rosey Supposey how did it work out a few months down the line?

 

Thanks

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Well, I posted in April, Hermione is still on her own and still fine. So it is possible, I guess chooks are all individuals and whether they do OK alone depends a lot on them. She gets lots of treats and petting from me!

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Hi, just seen the other posts, so checking back with an update - in case it's ever helpful to anyone.

 

Sandy the hen did absolutely great on her own, she really did. She was alone for six months until she sadly died lthis week from a tumour. Right to the end there was no loss of sparkle or enthusiasm for life. There was never any sign of her being lonely or having chicken depression at all. She stayed the same old noisy, inquisitive hen she'd always been. If anything she even flourished a little more from all the attention we gave her.

 

Here's where I'd stress, we gave her a LOT of attention. I'm not sure if I was an honorary chicken, or she was an honorary human, but the lines blurred. As autumn came she started hanging out in the kitchen, by winter she had full run of the house. The eglu was moved out of the garden and into the (battered old) conservatory, to bring her closer to us. Everything became about making sure Sandy wasn't left without interaction. It was no hardship, it was great having her around!

 

The only hiccup I ever noticed about her being alone was that in the dark winter evenings she didn't like going into the eglu on her own, it was too dark in there and she was nervous. We solved that by taping a small nightlight to one of the holes and leaving it turned on until she was all settled in there. Solved the problem straight away!

 

I miss her terribly, but I really do believe she had a great time as a lone hen and head of the household pecking order over the last six months. Obviously I'd never chose to be lone-henned again, but if circumstances mean it happens again one day I'd definitely let a hen try on her own - maybe I wouldn't be so lucky second time around, but I'd give it a try.

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Lovely to hear how she did, sounds like she had a fine time being single. Sorry to hear she has gone.

 

Did you bring the run into the consrvatory as well?

just wondered how you coped with the poop with her being inside?

x

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Thanks for the update Rosey, and sorry to hear that Sandy has now passed away

 

Mine is also getting on ok. She is quieter vocally now (they used to make quite a lot of noise in their group) but seems otherwise fine in herself. I have made up a corner of the utility room with a box of straw, papers, food and water, so she can spend the nights in there when it is below freezing outside, or use it as a base in the daytime when she's inside, which she enjoys.

 

I work from home luckily so she spends most of the daylight hours in the garden or (her preference) my kitchen, stealing food from me and the dog. So I'd say it's not ideal and I'd love to get some more ex-batts to join her, but I can't commit to that at the moment, but she's certainly a (differently) contented hen.

 

We just need to invent chicken nappies - luckily I have all solid floors downstairs...

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I initially had four rescue hens when I hit them two years ago, but two died over the last year and last night a third died (not sure why, she seemed fine), but I found her in the nesting box in the Eglu this morning.

Anyway, I have one left now. I’ve read the thread and it seems like the kindest options are to either re-home her or get some more chickens.

Either way she’ll meet new chickens- is like to get some more so that’s my preferred option, so I’ll look to find some more rescue hens. But my question is- how many is best to do this with and are there any precautions I should take to minimise any fighting and potential injury while they sort themselves out? I have an Eglu go-up and currently a movable fence which gives a free-run area of around 20m square in the garden. 
 

thanks.

 

 

 

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The original question was asked over 10 years ago, and  the problem no longer exists. 😃

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On 8/15/2020 at 1:27 PM, Steve Good said:

I initially had four rescue hens when I hit them two years ago, but two died over the last year and last night a third died (not sure why, she seemed fine), but I found her in the nesting box in the Eglu this morning.

Anyway, I have one left now. I’ve read the thread and it seems like the kindest options are to either re-home her or get some more chickens.

Either way she’ll meet new chickens- is like to get some more so that’s my preferred option, so I’ll look to find some more rescue hens. But my question is- how many is best to do this with and are there any precautions I should take to minimise any fighting and potential injury while they sort themselves out? I have an Eglu go-up and currently a movable fence which gives a free-run area of around 20m square in the garden. 
 

thanks.

 

 

 

You can either do a slow introduction or the chuck-em-all-together method.

Slow introduction: keep them separate but in sight of each other. Then do some free ranging together over a period and finally let the new ones move in the coop. This might take a few weeks, but is less likely to result in bloodshed.

chuck-em-all-together method: keep them in sight of each other when it is still light but in separate parts of the run. When it’s dark, move the new ones into the coop with your existing hen. Be present when they wake up in the morning to see how it goes and prevent any bad fighting.

What ever you do, make sure you have a number of water and food stations in the run spread out. So all chickens can get their food and water as they will guard food and pester others away.

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My question is, I have a 6 year old hen, she lost her friend a couple of months ago, Samantha sleeps in the garage at night, we have a container that is up on stilts has a perch and we close the door to her homemade bed at night. She is very spoiled, she comes in during the day and has for about 4 years, I am now finding her in front of the mirror looking at herself. She loves to be held and we put her to bed at night. She is taking dirt baths all by herself. She was also aggressive with her friend because her friend was injured by a dog when they were 4 months old and her friend had to be separated. I think re-homing her is out of the question because of the way we raised her. Any suggestions?

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On 9/25/2020 at 8:25 PM, Diane Parrish said:

My question is, I have a 6 year old hen, she lost her friend a couple of months ago, Samantha sleeps in the garage at night, we have a container that is up on stilts has a perch and we close the door to her homemade bed at night. She is very spoiled, she comes in during the day and has for about 4 years, I am now finding her in front of the mirror looking at herself. She loves to be held and we put her to bed at night. She is taking dirt baths all by herself. She was also aggressive with her friend because her friend was injured by a dog when they were 4 months old and her friend had to be separated. I think re-homing her is out of the question because of the way we raised her. Any suggestions?

Get her a new hen friend. You can slowly introduce her to two young hens, so-called point of lay hens. She will have the upper hand, but if the ones are with at least two, they will have good chance.

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