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Canadian New to Chickens

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone! 

We are new to the world of chickens here on our small acreage in Prince Edward Island. We are also new to living in the country. Basically, we are on a giant learning curve as we try to transition into a more self sufficient life and escape the rat race. We have 2 cats, a cockatiel, a goldfish and now....a chicken, who just arrived 4 days ago. She is an adult Rhode Island Red who has already graced us with 4 fresh eggs. What a gal! There is a story to tell before I get to my question.

 

We started to build the coop this summer. It's not entirely complete but complete enough to accommodate our little gal. If the winter leaves us for good we can finish the darn thing and build a run to go with it. And that was when we were SUPPOSED to get our 5 chickens from a flock of 10. The flock has been together a couple of years but this winter some of the hens started bullying this sweet little lady pecking all the feathers off her neck and not making it easy for her to get to the food. She started spending a lot of time on the perch to keep out of their way and was losing weight. So we were asked if we would take her ahead of schedule to help her out. And here she is. The first couple of days were traumatic to the say the least. For both of us! But she is settling in now. Feathers are growing in and she is eating like a little piggy which is good, because she is a little lean. The other 4 will come over when everything is complete.

 

And here comes the question. We have been wondering about the introduction of 4 of her previous flock down the road (probably in a couple of months). We have seen all sorts of threads and stories regarding a sick or injured bird being reintroduced to the flock and the flock picking on them again. A friend of a friend even had birds killed by the flock. However, this situation is a bit reversed where the flock is being reintroduced to the previously injured bird in a new home, where the injured bird has already been living. Does anyone have any ideas what we can expect? How best should we make this introduction when the time comes? By then she should have gained her weight back but she will have been used to having the coop all to herself and enjoyed the luxury of being a little spoiled. Her coop mates will no doubt remember her but I suppose the pecking order will be different? and they will be busy getting used to new surroundings so assume they won't bother her but maybe she'll be the bully then? So if anyone has any pearls of wisdom they can share with us, it would be much appreciated :)

post #2 of 6

Hi and welcome to BYC -glad that you have joined us.

 

Your integration issues is likely to be a little different to the "norm" as you resident hen will be overwhelmed by the other flock members (rather than vice versa, as would normally be the case). She may move up the pecking order which would be great, but if she faces repeated aggression, then I'd suggest removing the aggressors from your flock. 

 

Please read as much as you can on the subject and be prepared to intervene.

 

In the meantime, the Learning Centre is a great resource, even for experienced chicken keepers - loads of info on anything chicken. http://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

 
Joining your country thread will put you in touch with other BYC members in your area, which can be helpful (just type the name of your country in the search box).
 
All the best
CT
Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #3 of 6

I agree with CTKen.      You can also post on the  "Canadians, check-in-here thread."

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                                         Please visit  "Current Movies - Thumbs UP or Thumbs DOWN"pop.gif

                                                           Movie  reviews    & comments -   welcome                                                 

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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I'm definitely reading up on things and hoping that all will go well when the time comes. Love all the resources available here!

post #5 of 6

Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)

I set fire to the rain! Watch it pour as I, touched your face. Well it burn while I cried, because I heard it screaming out your name. And I threw us into flames. I knew that was the last time, the last time...I set fire to the rain! -Adele

 

Look at my flock page! http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bantamfan4lifes-flock

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I set fire to the rain! Watch it pour as I, touched your face. Well it burn while I cried, because I heard it screaming out your name. And I threw us into flames. I knew that was the last time, the last time...I set fire to the rain! -Adele

 

Look at my flock page! http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bantamfan4lifes-flock

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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Monday evening was integration day. Our girl Jessie was in the coop all cozy. We opened the door and sent the 4 hens in. There was a little commotion, some loud exchanges and Jessie pecked one hen on the head. There was some jostling and bravado with some, some checked out the food and water, but mostly it seemed somewhat civil. We have a window on the coop that has a shutter on it. It was dusk and I gave them about 20 min. to sort out where everything is in the coop. Then I closed the shutter and the coop was dark. At that point all went silent. The next day everyone was let out and spent the day in the sunshine pecking and scratching around in the temporary run which is just some 4 ft high fencing held up with posts. We are building a permanent one connected to the coop soon. 

 

I watched behavior most of the day and there were some minor squabbles but nothing violent or worrying, so it would seem that we got over the first hurdle. One hen was spotted twice trying to 'mate' with other hens. My understanding is that this is a show of dominance when there is no rooster. Or she's gay :) 

 

Everyone is eating and drinking and running in and out of the coop. One is acting a little strange...every now and then she pulls one foot up and then slowly sinks down and lies on her side with the wing that's on top spread out to cover her bent leg, and then it looks like she is trying to lay an egg or something. Then another hen will come along and disturb her and up she gets and runs around acting normal. I'm hoping this is just a case of stress and discombobulation disrupting her laying routine. Maybe she's having trouble getting it out? Aside from this periodic activity, she seems fine. She eats, drinks, scratches, pecks, runs and is very talkative. 

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