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WingingIt

Down to 2 chickens... is a flock of 2 ok?

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After months of struggling to get my little flock of 3 to get along, an old pigeon-keepers' trick courtesy of Cotswold Chickens did the job and since Xmas we have enjoyed a blissful trio of happy, funny girls.

Disaster struck this week when our sweet Goldie died, leaving only 2 girls in the flock. Happy mothers day :-(

I had initially thought that I might expand the flock in a couple of years time, taking on another couple of POL girls when this gang got a little long in the tooth for laying. Now not sure if I should be sticking with that or if the dynamics of just 2 girls means I should bring that plan forward...? Not to jinx things but so far the remaining 2 ladies are getting on fine as a duo. 

 

anyone got any experience of a teeny flock?

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We have two flocks of two and three flocks of three Winginglt. They are all fine, but we know that if we lose some and get to singles we may have a problem and will need to add a young pair quickly. Some hens are fine on their own but often they slip into a sort of trance and stop eating. We can tell that we'll certainly have a problem with both the pairs because they are inseparable at the moment and go everywhere together. It's a case of planning ahead and deciding on a supplier if you need a new pair in a hurry, but otherwise leave your girls as they are.

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Agree with Beantree, personally, I recommend to have at least 3 birds, so that you're not left with a lone bird if one dies. I would see if any outlets in your area have stock (Cotswold Chickens is getting them in, but you need to call ahead to check stock levels) set up your isolation housing and get a couple of other birds if space in your original coop allows.

Was that the vinegar trick? I taught them that - not sure about the pigeon aspect, but my Italian grandad used to do it. Did you come on one of my courses?

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Beantree and Dogmother! I don't live near the Cotsolds, I just rang them for advice... and yes it was the vinegar trick! I had tried absolutely everything else recommended here and elsewhere and was ringing C.C. for a permanent bit for my biggest bully when they told me to try the vinegar thing first. I was astounded!

My local supplier of young hens is probably a bit thin on the ground at the moment because everyone went chicken mad when this social meltdown started... but normally he is well stocked. I will leave my two as they are as long as they still seem happy then - but will be on standby to act! :-)

 

Thanks again both!

Edited by WingingIt

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Oh go on...put us out of our misery! What's the vinegar trick? I'm agog to know what you do with it 😂

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Mix up some water and vinegar in a spray bottle, spray all the chooks, old and new with it before roosting time and them pop them in together... smells like a chip shop, but they all smell the same, so less fighting. It's an old farm trick, possibly from Italy, where my grandfolks were from, and I suppose it's a good idea when you don't have the time or alternative housing. Personally, I prefer using alternative housing for isolation and quarantine and then introduce slowly - much less stressful for them.

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It was a slight variation on that - I separated my big bully girl (good job she's gorgeous) early in the day - she had a fabulous day out in the garden out of sight of the other girls (my dog - who was not allowed outside as a result, was livid) and gave her a nesting box to go to roost in. It's not a safe enough box to have separated her for long - we have local foxes!

Then I went and scooped her out of there at about 9pm and popped her into the coop with the other sleepy pair, and sprinkled a little of the vinegar solution over three indignant girls. I hung on nearby listening and they settled back down to silence and stillness within a couple of minutes.

It was bliss thereafter. I was a real sceptic but I cannot credit the change to anything else! 

 

These are my two remaining handsome girls... Dotty on the left was my bully while Blue on the right was half bald with bullying.

20200326_173458_capture.jpg

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I've had 2 girls since October and they seem fine so far.

I even got an egg on Mother's Day.

I was thinking of getting some more soon but that now seems unlikely. I will keep the vinegar trick in mind for when I do get some though.

Your remaining girls look beautiful by the way x

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We've done something along the same lines but used lavender oil mixed with water and sprayed; they smell nice using that.

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Lavender sounds a bit nicer all around! I did wash out the coop a couple of days later to rid it of the chip shop smell... we have an Omlet coop so it wiped away quickly, but i'm not sure it would be so easy to ditch the stink with a wooden coop! 

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