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Help! "Rescued" hen being bullied by my flock!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I say "rescued" because she wasn't actually in a bad home but I took her from my parents because she was the roosters favorite hen. I felt bad for her! She had no feathers on her back when I brought her and another flock friend to my house since I only have hens. My flock is 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Rocks that all get along well. The two hens were transitioned into my flock exactly the way they recommend. The one hen was totally fine and stuck up for herself and my flock left her alone. The other just ran away from them and hid. She did not come out of the nesting box to eat or drink so she got dehydrated. I brought her into the house and took care of her. Now that she is better I put her in the chicken tractor that is inside of the run but she is scared to death! How do I help this girl transition into my flock? Help please!!!
post #2 of 8
She is the bottom bird in the pecking order, she probably was at your mother's as well as some bottom hens will stick with the rooster for protection from the other hens, she obviously doesn't know any other way to feel safe without the rooster so she is hiding, there's nothing you can do except keep an eye on her so she doesn't get bullied, you said you keep them in a tractor, those can be quite small so watch that they don't go after her for feeling crowded. Otherwise there's not much else you can do but feed her on the sly some extra stuff and give her places to hide.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 8

It can take some time and some juggling to integrate a single bird.....

......especially a low order bird in a small space.

 

How much space in your coop run and tractor?

Feet by feet dimensions and pics are most helpful to form a plan.

 

 

 

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......

......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.

See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

 

Integration of new chickens into flock.

 

Consider medical quarantine:

BYC Medical Quarantine Article

Poultry Biosecurity

BYC 'medical quarantine' search

 

It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.

Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

 

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

 

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

 

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

 

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

 

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

 

Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

 

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

 

 

Read up on integration.....  BYC advanced search>titles only>integration

This is good place to start reading:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldhenlikesdogs View Post

She is the bottom bird in the pecking order, she probably was at your mother's as well as some bottom hens will stick with the rooster for protection from the other hens, she obviously doesn't know any other way to feel safe without the rooster so she is hiding, there's nothing you can do except keep an eye on her so she doesn't get bullied, you said you keep them in a tractor, those can be quite small so watch that they don't go after her for feeling crowded. Otherwise there's not much else you can do but feed her on the sly some extra stuff and give her places to hide.

I only keep her in the tractor with the others loose in the run. I'm hoping that by giving her more time with the others around will help?? I just feel so bad for her. Thanks for your help!
post #5 of 8
Your welcome, sounds like you know what to do, it can take a while for them to accept outsiders. Patience and time, good luck.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post

It can take some time and some juggling to integrate a single bird.....
......especially a low order bird in a small space.

How much space in your coop run and tractor?
Feet by feet dimensions and pics are most helpful to form a plan.



Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:
 
Integration of new chickens into flock.

Consider medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
Poultry Biosecurity
BYC 'medical quarantine' search

It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.
 
The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


Read up on integration.....  BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
Thank you so much! I appreciate the help. I have done many of the things they suggest but I will try to give her more time in the tractor where she is safe but still able to socialize. The run is about 12x14 and the coop is about 6x10. I also let them free range. So I don't think space is a problem. It should be plenty of room for 6 chickens. I am new to this but I have done a lot of research! The only pictures I have are from when we were still in the process of building so just ignore the mess!

post #7 of 8
Now I understand the tractor, very smart.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #8 of 8

Looks like plenty of room for 6 birds.

Tractor in run is a good start.

 

Might be even better to partition off the end of the run maybe 3-4 wide, with some 2x4 fencing. with food, water, perch, places to hide.

Do same in coop. Feed treats along fence line so they can get used to eating together, even sticking their heads thru the fence barrier to eat.

 

Keep her in those spots for a couple weeks, then place one of the nicer birds in with her so they can bond.

Try that for few days if it goes well. Repeat for a week or so. Maybe adding a different bird or two, then maybe another.

Mix things up. This breaks up the territoriality and gives the scardey bird a chance to gain some confidence with just one or 2 other birds to deal with.

Gotta play it by ear and eye so to speak, it could take a couple months to complete the process where you can take down all the barriers in cop and run. 

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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