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Can You Keep One Chicken?

Can You Keep One Chicken?

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Can You Keep One Chicken? LOHMANN BROWN-CLASSICChickens are in the category of highly social animals. They thrive best in flocks of up to 30 birds. One of the greatest traits of these lovely domestic birds is their versatility. As a chicken owner, you will notice this trait in a few breeds if you pay close attention to each one of them. What you will find out regarding their sociability will most likely leave you astonished, to say the least. Now here is the question, “can you keep one chicken?” The answer to this question depends on individual needs and chicken breeds. While others are social, some are independent and prefer being left alone. Such types of chickens are usually happy when they are left to do what they love doing the most. 

From your observation point of view, you may find out that these chickens like repeating what they did in the past. In other words, we can say that they are programmed to perform certain activities that make them comfortable. For instance, you will find them eating alone, scratching the ground, taking dust baths, and laying eggs. 

On the other hand, some enjoy doing their things in the company of other chickens. This is so similar to other pets at home and it should not take you by surprise in any way. But if you want to keep one chicken to give you some company or to provide you with fresh eggs a week then you must provide it with a nice coop

However, if you can accommodate several hens at once, then you may start with two and see how things unfold. A single chicken is not a bad idea but just know it will not enjoy leading a solitary lifestyle at home. Like other social animals, chickens love to eat and forage, dust bath and roost when they are in groups. 

Unlike other species of birds, they will use common nests to lay their eggs. Under certain circumstances, they will bring up their chicks communally. If you find it difficult to raise more than one chicken, it’s advisable to consider another pet. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your pet won’t feel lonely in your home. 

Let’s dive deeper into this subject matter and learn more about different types of chickens you can keep as single or in a flock.

Single Chickens

Chicken in bird cageA single chicken will feel lonely and bored at the same time. This state of affairs makes them feel out of place even if you try your best to cheer them up. These highly social animals are smart and will enjoy spending their time alone with nothing to keep them busy. So, you may think of keeping at least two of them together for companionship.

Just like human beings, chickens also deserve companions with whom they can talk to (literally). If you want to raise only one chicken in your home, then you go for a hen. In most cases, hens are considered docile, affectionate and quieter than roosters. In addition to that, hens can adapt to their new environment better. 

When it comes to her security, and social life, make sure that you keep your single hen in the house to let her interact with you or other human beings. This will help her feel more comfortable as she would when interacting with other birds outside.

Apart from that, you must provide her with a few interesting things to keep her occupied throughout the day. For example, you may build a nice tractor (a rolling but secure pen) for her to spend her time outdoors, foraging for vegetation and scratching for bugs and worms. You can hang one or several apples to enable her to peck at them, provide a small ball for her to play with it or give some fun bird toys in a bid to keep her entertained throughout the day. 

Natural Chickens 

mother hen with chicksWhen left on their own, chickens display their unique behavior in a manner that identifies with them. If they are not roosting in trees, they are probably foraging for insects or plants and if they are not drinking from streams, they are laying eggs or raising their young ones. This happens mostly when they are in company with other similar breeds of chickens. 

Naturally, chickens are intelligent birds known for their complex pecking orders. These orders determine their social standing when they are in a particular group. All these traits displayed by chickens remind us that one chicken regardless of how you maintain it at home is not natural. 

The same is true with flocks of chickens under confinement or in cages. To make them look more natural, you need to provide proper facilities that will help them carry out their activities freely. Also, keeping enough chickens together can help them do all these activities naturally.

Chickens for Eggs

Chickens can be a reliable source of fresh eggs for you and your entire family. This means one chicken will not meet all the needs of your family members. In this case, you will have to look for at least three layers that will give you a dozen fresh eggs per week. As you may have discovered, each hen can lay one egg within the 25-hour period. 

On average, a hen will produce five to six eggs in one week especially at her peak. But during molting, low-light conditions, heat or stress, egg production will drop drastically. At some point, your hens may temporarily stop producing eggs unless the conditions get back to normal. Luckily, you don’t need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs. This is actually part of your hen’s life provided that she is healthy and at the right age to so. 

Even if the eggs will not be fertile, they will be fit for consumption altogether. In simple terms, hens start laying eggs upon reaching their maturity. The only time you may require one or two roosters is when you want to have fertilized eggs for hatching. Otherwise, your hens will lay eggs with or without roosters.

Two Chickens are Better than One

New baby chickensChickens love to share their company with their own kind. This reminds you that they are highly social animals that spend most of their time conversing among themselves. Also, when they are two they can communicate effectively and alert each other in case of danger or risky situations around them.

Sometimes, they may affect each other’s feelings and physiological behavior. Speaking of their physiological behavior, if one chicken starts laying eggs, she may as well stimulate the other one to do the same. Likewise, if one hen starts brooding, this behavior will affect the other one in the same way. With that in mind, you should take your time and understand the complex social hierarchy associated with chickens. 

Care for Chickens                                                                  

Just like humans, chickens need good care. They need quality food and clean, fresh water daily to keep them healthy and productive. When serving them with these essential items, use dispensers that are designed to prevent your chickens from perching on them. Also, ensure that the dispensers prevent your chickens from making their food or water dirty. 

Provide them with enough commercial chicken pellets and scratch feed. Supplement their diet with fresh vegetables and fruits and let them forage for wild plants or insects. The main idea behind all these is to provide your flock of birds with enough space to walk around freely. With enough space, your chickens will be able to wander around and stretch their wings without causing any commotion. 

Lack of enough space can result in conflicts among your birds. The ideal place for their space should be outside where they can dust bathe, scratch and race around naturally. 

Your chickens require at least a comfortable and quiet nesting box that can accommodate a maximum of three hens. The roosts should be raised to allow them to enjoy their sweet sleep. Most importantly, their coop should be well-ventilated and secure to keep marauding predators away during the night.

Related Questions

How many chickens do you need to keep on your farm? The number of birds you can keep at once will depend on your lifestyle and other factors as well. These factors include the amount of space you can provide for them, reasons for keeping them, and how frequent you can let them free-range. Don’t forget to include your budget because it will determine everything starting from setting up the coop to clearing the yard for your hens to purchasing other equipment used in poultry farming. 

Why would you wish to keep only one chicken? To begin with, different people raise chickens for different reasons. Key among these reasons is for the supply of fresh eggs and meat. But some people prefer keeping one chicken as their pet. That is the reason they only raise one chicken in their homes to keep them company when they need it. For them, keeping more than one chicken is a waste of time and resources considering that they only need a pet and not an entire flock in their houses.

In Conclusion

It is possible to keep only one chicken if you just need it for companionship. Otherwise, you may keep two or more birds if you are looking forward to having a constant supply of fresh eggs for your family. After all, chickens are highly social animals and will thrive best if they have a company of their own kind.

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do single chickens get lonely and how to keep them happy

Backyard Chickens FAQ

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