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If you’re considering purchasing and raising a baby chicken for animal rearing purposes, you may want to consider buying at least two or three. Groups of baby chickens tend to be healthier, happier, and more relaxed than chickens who are raised in isolation.
Chickens are considered social animals, and companionship is essential for their mental and physical growth. If baby chickens lack companionship and mental stimulation, they may suffer both physically and mentally.Chickens should live in groups of at least three with adequate living space.
If you’re curious about why you should have more than one baby chicken, stick around, this article is for you. Keep reading for more on why baby chickens need company.
Is It Cruel to Keep Just One Chicken?
It is considered cruel to keep just one baby chicken because they require social stimulation to help progress their mental growth and overall well-being. Without socialization between other chickens, a baby chicken will become lonely and develop behavioral issues.
According to Hobby Farms, a group of baby chickens will fulfill their emotional and physical needs in many different ways:
- By cuddling and leaning on one another, and later developing close relationships to specific members of the flock- like best friends.
- The complexity of chicken social circles depends on how many you have, and owning three chickens establishes nine relationships- one with themselves, and one between each chicken in the group.
- Chickens and humans relate in that we both could technically survive alone, but we don’t want to and prefer to socialize.
- Chickens develop roles within the group, such as the head of the flock or the protector, and this relieves the chicken’s anxiety and establishes a family basis in the flock.
If the social needs of the baby chicken are not met, then this could lead to feather picking. Feather picking occurs when chickens are exposed to environments that foster high-stress levels.
To understand why your chickens are so noisy in the morning and the meaning behind all the sounds they make, see my post here.
Chickens will pick at and discard their feathers, and they may begin to bully and pick the feathers of other chickens in their flock. The constant picking leads to bald patches and infections, and this tends to impact the well-being and health of the flock negatively.
It is equally essential to establish and maintain a large living area for baby chickens to roam and socialize, adequate ventilation, proper nutrition, and water accessibility. Chickens tend to annoy each other when packed into a confined area, and their boredom creates a risk for feather plucking.
If you have questions about how much land you need to own chickens, check out my article, How Much Property Do You Need To Raise Chickens?
It’s a good idea to have a couple of chicken toys readily available for your flock, as they actively prevent bullying, feather picking, and egg eating in the group. Mirrors tend to be a favorite amongst chickens, and they serve as an easy and cost-efficient solution. Check my post here for 20 different Chicken toys to help keep your chickens happy & entertained!
Do you chickens sometimes get scared? To know how to train your chickens and how to calm down a frightened or irritated chicken see my post here.
If you decide to purchase and care for just one baby chicken, you won’t have PETA banging down your door. However, there is a lot of evidence that suggests that baby chickens are much happier and relaxed when living in socialized groups, and you should consider buying multiples to maximize the efficiency and health of the flock.
Do Baby Chickens Get Lonely?
Baby chickens are subject to boredom and can quickly get lonely when isolated from social interactions. A chicken’s priority is to socialize with other chickens, rather than with their owners because their emotional needs are fulfilled through interactions with other chickens.
Do you know a baby chicken needs special grit to be healthy? Learn everything about baby chickens and grit here.
A distressed, lonely chicken may begin to repeatedly peck and scratch at the ground, and these behavioral problems can lead to broader issues, including feather picking.
In addition to this, a chicken’s lifespan may shorten if it becomes too lonely, and this shows that the socialization of chickens is bad for their health.
If a chicken begins to feel lonely, it may have an impact on its ability to lay eggs. Hobby Farms suggests that chickens who are raised in a flock tend to reliably produce more eggs than chickens who are raised in isolation.
So, if you’re considering purchasing a baby chicken to have readily available eggs in your backyard, you may want to consider adopting a group. Afterall would you want to eat eggs from a sad chicken?
The only instance where chickens tend to want to be alone is when they lay and sit on eggs. Other than that, chickens tend to do everything in groups. They eat, sleep, and shuffle around their living spaces together, and they form unique friendships with one another.
Do you wash your baby chickens? You need to be careful as this could potentially kill them! To know more please check out my post.
How To Socialise Your Baby Chickens
When you consider buying multiple baby chickens, it’s essential to know how to introduce them to each other.
Introducing baby chickens is easy because they don’t develop a pecking mechanism until they are six weeks old. This makes it easier for them to get along. There are two different methods of introducing baby chickens.
Also, check out the YouTubers Sonya Schaffer on how she keeps her chickens name and friendly in the video above.
Using a Brooder and Chicken Wire Barrier
The first method is preferred and involves separating each baby chicken in the brooder with chicken wire. Now the baby chickens can interact with each other while having personal space to alleviate anxiety.
Using Individual Brooders
The second method involves having two brooders. This way, the baby chickens can acclimate to their homes, and then be introduced to each other. This is an excellent method to use if you have baby chickens with different ages, so the more prominent, older chicks don’t accidentally harm the younger ones.
Whether you have a group of baby chickens that are the same ages or not, it’s essential to understand that baby chickens benefit from having a bit of separation rather than immediately being plopped into a collective brooder.
Not taking the time to properly socialize baby chickens will inevitably lead to adult chickens that don’t know how to interact appropriately. And, just one rogue chicken can upset the rest, becoming more of a hindrance than a help.
Is It Difficult to Raise Multiple Chickens At Once?
When you decide to raise an animal, it’s essential to know that it requires time and money. Owning and caring for a flock of baby chickens is relatively inexpensive and easy to manage compared to owing other animals, but it is not a walk in the park.
One important thing is getting a nice coop for your chicks, to know what materials you need to insulate and if it needs to be insulated please check my post here.
The overall requirements and costs of raising a group of chickens vary by how many you want to purchase, what gender they are, and if you buy them as adults or chicks.
You can expect to spend on average $3 to $5 for each baby chicken, $500 for building a protective chicken coup, $15/month on food, and $10/month on extras such as woodchips and water bottles.
When chickens are raised in a group, they benefit from each other. Their stress levels go down; they are provided with entertainment, and they feel protected.
This allows you to tend to business elsewhere, possibly leave town for a couple of nights, and your flock of chickens will be fine in your absence.
However, you need to return within three to four days if you leave your chickens unattended, and it’s a good idea to have extra safety measures such as an outdoor cat or dog for the protection of your chickens.
While you would technically save money by owning and caring for one chicken, the overall difference in costs is not substantial. Owning multiple chickens creates a sense of social stability within the flock, and this can lead to more excellent egg production and longer lifespans.
This will be more beneficial in the long-run, and so it’s always a good idea to own a flock of chickens.