Adopted After a Weasel Wiped Out the Rest of Her Flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cbear42, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. cbear42

    cbear42 Just Hatched

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    Aug 25, 2016
    So, for Christmas - I received "Merry". She is a beautiful buff orpington who had to watch the rest of her flock be decapitated by a weasel over the course of several days. How she survived was either resourcefulness - or pure luck. Her previous owner asked if I could bring her into my flock because she didn't want her to be alone - and she couldn't guarantee her safety.

    Apparently, the poor thing had stopped eating because she was literally light as a "feather" when she was picked up. Because they are "fluffy" in the winter, my friend didn't realize how much weight she had lost. So - she is very weak and unsteady on her feet. But, clearly traumatized. The guinea hens let out one of their collective warning shrieks and she literally collapsed to the ground and I had to help her regain her feet.

    Problem: the other chickens are wandering by her and pecking her sometimes pretty hard. I have kept her separated in a kennel at night and in the day confined her in the coop. I was hoping slow acclimatization would help. Also, she needs to regain some strength.

    I have brought her into the house where I can make sure she keeps eating. Again, she is very tentative when she walks and falls over easily. She doesn't seem ill other than just weak. I have been giving her extra protein, lots of food and keeping her water fresh. I will let the house cool more at night since she is in here. (I heat with wood so, adjusting that "thermostat" can be as much art as science.:) )

    How should I introduce her when I think she is strong enough? Right now, when she is pecked she just either falls over or "ducks". My instinct is that she needs more strength before being introduced to the new flock. I don't want her further traumatized or injured - and am scared to death my other (jerk) chickens could seriously injure or even kill her.

    Ideas for diet/recuperation and introduction to the flock would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. I like to use a pen or a dog crate inside the coop with the rest to help them get acquainted, and so they can eat their own food and water without bullying. Here is one I use for new chicks to grow up. It has bird netting on top normally to keep out visitors, and poultry netting on the sides until they are bigger. I would add a small amount of plain yogurt to her feed for probiotics, and put some poultry vitamins in her water to boost her. Usually, it is best to keep new birds quarantined away from your flock for a least 30 days to make sure they are not sick, but it is probably too late for that. Best of luck to you and Merry.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. cbear42

    cbear42 Just Hatched

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    Thanks, I appreciate your response and the picture very much. Is there a possibility that she will never "fit in" with the rest of the chickens? She is a different color and has a different body shape - so, I'm wondering how much of an effect that might have? Is one peck serious - or is that how they test each each other? I know that if one draws blood - the game could be over. How do you know when they're going to not be bullied to death - literally? Thanks, again!
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Chickens have to peck each other to establish a pecking order. It can get out of hand though. There will always be one who is the lowest in pecking order, and they have to learn to move fast. As long as they get familiar with each other, have a large enough coop and run, and some places to hide most will work things out. But I would supervise their visits for awhile. Here are some links to read:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/reintegrating-a-recovered-hen-to-a-small-flock
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1015820/reintegration-by-supervised-visits#post_15742910
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1107240/pecking-order-versus-bullying
     
  5. cbear42

    cbear42 Just Hatched

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    Aug 25, 2016
    Thanks - they sleep in their coop at night - 10 x 10 - but it's a bit more crowded since the snow hit and 11 guinea hens decided to "bunk in" with the rest of the girls. From dawn on they all have the run of 4 acres - or as far as they can get...so, I don't think they're going to be too crowded. (I also make sure to get them out first thing in the morning before they get "bored" and decide to torture one of their own. I find it remarkable - although the guineas can be pretty horrible to each other - they leave the chickens alone and vice versa.

    Well, I'm going to get her stronger and then we'll do the kennel in the coop routine and see how long it takes. It's just that she's been so traumatized recently and is so weak, that I want to give her a fighting chance... :)

    Thanks for the links - I'll check them out now.

    Cheers. . .
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Wow, that is pretty crowded. Most sources quote an area of at least 4 square feet per chicken, so it's good that they get outside at first light. I have downsized my flock in the last couple of years to get thm down to a manageable size. Maybe a garage or outbuilding can be made into an extra coop.
     
  7. cbear42

    cbear42 Just Hatched

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    I agree it seems small. But, they do have a choice of two coops. I built a much larger one specifically for the guinea hens - and while they like to go in there and "hang out" - when it gets really cold (we've had sub-zero temps already) - they prefer to crash the party in the other coop when it comes time to sleep. So - it's not like they don't have a choice. They are under the same roof in essentially the same space - they just choose to do sleep-overs in the chicken coop...Thanks for your response! It puzzles me as well since initially, during the summer, the chickens weren't having any of it (the guineas in their coop). Now, it's like "it's cold out there and you're warm. Come on it!"
     
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