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Lone hen dilemma

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I’m looking for some advice and opinions please. I feel like I’ve spent the past couple of months constantly stressing about chickens.  
 

I typed up the whole long story but I’ve decided to keep it short. I have one lone ex batt after losing two to a fox whilst free ranging. The hen that’s left is very docile, bottom of the pecking order, was bossed about and has a limp.  

She’s had a very stressful few months (only had her 5 weeks and was a tricky introduction to my existing hen who bullied her rotten) I’m not willing to rehome her and inflict more stress and bullying on her. She’s currently coming in the house with us until 1pm for company then back in the eglu afternoon/night. She doesn’t really like being in the eglu, she stays in the house and won’t come out in the run. It’s breaking my heart. My options are:

1) Keep her as a lone house chicken - I’m not keen on this idea due to the mess she makes and it just seems unnatural 

2) take in 2 ex batts from cages these shouldn’t mind the fact that they can’t free range over the winter But I’m worried about the lack of space and the two Ganging up on her ( they won’t rehome single caged hens) 

3) take in one ex commercial free range hen. Worried it will get stressed with being kept in the run and will be in better physical condition than her and bully her

4) rehome her 

What is the best option for her ? 

 



 

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This is a hard choice to make.

Ganging up on a chicken is not nice to see and I have had that with my older girl Gemma when I introduced chicks.

I think if your girl was mine, I would pop her in the run with the cube door shut - that way she can't hide inside.

If you have lots of spare time try to keep her company and give her cuddles.

When she is on her own give her a treat ball to keep her amused, a corn on the cob or a cabbage. Try to fill her day with amusements with things to climb and perch on.

The clocks will be changing soon, so her day length won't be as long.

Don't forget to open the door so she can go to bed :wink:

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Hi Luvachicken

thank you for your reply.  I’m working from home at the moment so she’s been indoors with me during the day for company with music on.  I decided she could stay in overnight but she asks to go back out to bed about 5pm.  She’s so adorable, a real little gentle sweet thing.  
 

She won’t come out of her bed this morning, I did feed her in there and she ate but I hate to think she is sad. 
 

I don’t know if I would be kinder rehoming her. Both rescues for companions are mid November so she has a few weeks on her own yet 

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My preference would be to avoid rescues completely (they can be very aggressive) and just get two youngsters to keep her company; ones that haven't bonded earlier would be best.

House chickens can be a bit messy; tiled or lino floors are essential and they must go outside during the day anyway. We have had a variety of house chickens, all of which went out and all came back home to roost, some in cages, some in cardboard boxes and one very special lad who had his own dog bed under the kitchen table. Sometimes that's what you have to do. We would never risk their welfare by rehoming them.

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Thanks Beantree. What lucky little chickens you have! 
I must admit this little hen has completely stolen my heart . She’s so gentle and quiet, not like my previous bold mischievous hens!

i have laminate flooring but am already fed up with disinfecting and mopping the floors twice a day.  This will have to be a temporary solution until I can find her some company. 
 

im going to extend the run divide it in half she will have the eglu end and the newbies will have the other end. Not sure what I will use as a nesting box yet. I’m nervous about the introductions but I think she needs some chicken company 

 

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A cat litter box will do the trick. The cheapest kind without a filter in the roof though.

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On 10/23/2020 at 6:30 AM, Cat tails said:

A cat litter box will do the trick. The cheapest kind without a filter in the roof though.

That’s a great idea, you mean as an alternative house for the new chickens right? 
I would put it within the secure eglu run

 

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1 minute ago, Flopsy said:

That’s a great idea, you mean as an alternative house for the new chickens right? 
I would put it within the secure eglu run

 

Yes exactly!

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This whole house chicken situation is really beginning to stress me out.  I’m constantly mopping the floor, not only poo everywhere but she’s growing feathers so dandruff everywhere too. I love her to bits and she doesn’t want to be outside on her own but it’s starting to get to me the constant cleaning 

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22 hours ago, Cat tails said:

You could get a rabbit pen and a cheap linoleum off cut to limit mess. 

I’ve ordered a retractable dog gate to try and contain her a bit and keep her from jumping on my sofas.  I’ve also cleared out a cupboard and put a cat box in there , with a blanket thrown over the top when she’s sleepy.  She still tries to get on the sofa to sleep. I do have wooden flooring so I’m mopping morning, noon and night.  I put her out in the eglu run this morning and she hated it, pacing up and down. I’m having second thoughts about getting more chickens. It’s really hard work . 
 

thanks for all your advice cat tails x 

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I used to have a tiny hen that would try and sneak out into the house at night to roost on my lap. And couldn’t bare not letting her in. I know how you feel. 

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I know from having a poorly hen indoors how messy they can be, so I do feel for you.

Do you have a dog crate she could stay in instead ? We use a puppy training pad to soak up poops on the bottom of it and some coop cups for food and water.

That way she could stay in your company, the mess would be a bit more confined, and you could give her cuddles as often as you want to.

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On 10/26/2020 at 8:03 PM, Cat tails said:

I used to have a tiny hen that would try and sneak out into the house at night to roost on my lap. And couldn’t bare not letting her in. I know how you feel. 

That’s so sweet! These little chickens have such big personalities 

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On 10/26/2020 at 9:19 PM, Luvachicken said:

I know from having a poorly hen indoors how messy they can be, so I do feel for you.

Do you have a dog crate she could stay in instead ? We use a puppy training pad to soak up poops on the bottom of it and some coop cups for food and water.

That way she could stay in your company, the mess would be a bit more confined, and you could give her cuddles as often as you want to.

It’s been a bit easier the past couple of days, we’ve been working in the garden so I’ve forced her outside with us. Initially she just stood at the back door asking to go back indoors but after a while she wandered off and was scratching around.  With the early nights she’s in bed by 4pm. Still trying to sleep on the sofa!!! But I’ve drawn a line there and put her in the cat basket on bottom shelf of a cupboard.  The door is open so she can get out but as soon as I put a blanket over it she stays there until I get up the next morning 

thank you for your advice and support it’s much appreciated 

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Blankets come in very useful. Mine have always been very chatty once the blanket is taken off.

I'm glad things have been a bit easier the last couple of days and it sounds like she has been enjoying herself in the garden.

Hopefully she might start to see that outside is the place she needs to be.

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