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jazzyjonesy

Flock addition advise please - timid hen

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Hi everyone, this is my first post but this forum has been a wonderful resource so far so thank you to everyone for all the indirect help and advice we've enjoyed!

Just a bit of background first: My partner and I have had hens for about 6 months now, we started with 2 silkies and 2 polish and added 2 speckledys a week or so later. We absolutely love them, have been getting loads of delicious eggs and they all got on great for a time, however:

(Long story short) the boss hen (Hedwig the Speckledy) nearly killed one of the silkies when she went broody and the other Speckledy is consistently pecking the rump of a Polish. The hens have lots of space (24m2 run plus regular free range in our 30m long garden) and I really don't think they're bored or ill. We have tried many suggestions from this forum with limited success but have fortunately found a lovely home with some larger hens for the two troublemaker speckledys. We will be sad to see them go  and will miss the eggs (they haven't missed a day of laying since they started months ago).

We would very much like to add two hens to our flock to replace them. Although one of the silkies is very strong and keeps herself high in the pecking order, the other one is now very timid around the other hens. We would therefore like some very docile hens, preferably that may lay some eggs over the winter. I have been considering Brahmas as they seem docile, friendly and may lay during the winter. Is this a good plan despite the huge size difference? Are there any alternatives you'd recommend?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. the girls live in a Cube MK1 with a covered 4m run, which is always open to a 24m2 pen (omlet fencing) and they are let out in the garden almost everyday for a few hours.

 

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Brahmas are a bit large to add to silkies I think, but others have had them together with normal sized fowl. Both Silkies and Polands are more likely to be bullied because of their limited sight and the silkies because of their feathering. Maybe consider some bantams to go with them instead of normal sized hens. It’s very much down to the individual hen, but I had a Barnevelder bantam that was very sweet and are good layers. Wyandottes can be fiesty, same as pekins although like I said, it’s down to the individual hen. If you can get them relatively young, around 15 weeks, they’ll be less likely to bully the others because of the age difference.

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Thanks so much for the advice. We'll start looking for some friendly bantams. Bantam Orpingtons also seem like a good choice but I'm not sure how readily available they are in the UK. 

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With some bantams you won’t get a steady supply of eggs, so if that is really a must, then make sure you have a look at that too.

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Both wonderful options. Faverolles look adorable. Am I right in thinking that we will need to wait until next year now? Or do some breeders continue later in the season?

They are first and foremost pets so a steady supply of eggs is not essential, plus one of our silkies lays five eggs a week without fail so far so we have enough for a regular delicious breakfast. 

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Some breeders stock year round. But it’s worth having a look around and contact a few and see what the possibilities are. There are pros and cons to both getting now and waiting till Spring. Some say Spring hens are stronger and healthier. Also keep in mind that you’ll need separate housing/run depending on what type of introduction you do, but have it ready in case the intro doesn’t go as smooth.

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Thanks Cat Tails. I had a ring around and it seems like most places are fully sold out, particularly due to the lockdown rush. I've since done many, many hours of research on Bantam types and I'll probably wait until next year to get some Bantam Brahmas or booted bantams. In the meantime I came across a young welbar Bantam for sale which seem like a very interesting, friendly and rare breed. I understand the difficulties with introducing hens particularly individuals and we do have spare facilities to facilitate a slow and careful introduction. Or incase we have any other issues. 

 

Thanks again, this forum is wonderful.

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