Of six fertile eggs I recently purchased and put in my incubator, only one hatched. It is now in a brooder, but I was wondering if it will be OK to bring this one up on its own? I know chickens like company and feel it’s a bit cruel it being on its own. Or would it be best to purchase a chick of similar age? The egg that hatched is a male cuckoo Marans. I do have five chickens already, so it is only until this one is older enough to be outside.

Jeremy Hobson says: I guess you will have contacted any chicken keeping friends to see whether they have chicks of similar age either under a broody or in a brooder to which you could add your single chick. If this is not possible, your bird will be OK on its own and I don’t think you will have any problems with it thinking it is a human when it is older – unlike goslings who, when brought up with only human or (as was the case with one of mine) a dog, can forget their true species!

I presume that you think it is a cockerel because, generally, the male Cuckoo Marans chicks are lighter in colouring than the females. If it is – do you really need it (for future breeding purposes, for example) or if not, will you be able to re-home it later?

It is strange that only one egg hatched from six supposedly fertile ones. Did you open up the other five to see whether they were ‘clear’ (infertile) or whether the chicks had started to form and then died during incubation? If the latter, the reason may be humidity/ventilation issues with the incubator settings; if the former, I would certainly mention it to the supplier of your eggs.

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