At what point to intervene? They now hate each other! :(

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by arwmommy, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    California
    (I swear I searched and read all I could from previous posts, but I can't seem to find what I'm looking for......sorry!)

    Well, we had a chicken (June) that had surgery last Friday. See this thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=38708

    I
    kept her inside the first couple of days, but put her in an enclosed pen out in the coop on Sunday (she was feeling much better and DYING to get out of the dog kennel in the Living Room!). I brought her inside at night. Monday, same thing, in the enclosed pen in the coop and in the LR at night. Today I thought, "I'll just put her in with the other 2 and see if they pick on her because they can tell she is recovering, or if they don't even care".

    Well, holy cow! I put her down and she and another hen go right at it, ripping each others combs like crazy (the other hen, Faye, started it). I separate them, there is blood on both combs, and put June in the pen again.

    Then I start thinking..... (watch out!)...... June is the smallest hen, but has always been Alpha. The sweetest of the 3 was Faye (now, the Attack Chicken). When June got sick, suddenly, my sweet, docile Faye started pecking me when I entered the coop.... we even got into a brawl where I was holding her down trying to assert my Alpha-ness. [​IMG]

    Clearly, she is trying to move into the top position.... and here I bring June(previous Alpha) back into the flock. So the aggression makes more sense to me but I have some concerns about it:

    1- June seems like she is doing great, her antibiotics are done with, but I don't want her to have to battle it out for Alpha if she is not 100%, especially since she is naturally smaller, and even moreso now, that she has lost so much weight from her crop impaction. How long should I wait till she is 100%--- or is she now? (Surgery was last Friday-- She seemed MUCH better by Saturday, and *seems* all better now.)

    2- I am OK letting them "work it out" but at what point do I intervene? Blood???

    3- My plan is for June to stay in the pen in the coop 24 hours a day with me letting them all out to free range together and watch them. If that goes well, I will progress to letting them be in the coop together with me watching. If that goes well, I am thinking of putting June in the House at nighttime to roost with the others, and then they will wake up *like best friends in the morning* [​IMG] Is this a good plan, or will I come out in the morning to a dead chicken?

    4- ARRGH! Why is this so hard! (OK, so that is not a question, but I am frustrated! They were only apart for 48 hours, and they have lived spent every dang day of their year old lives together........and we have blood and destruction??!!??!!! ARRGH!)



    The end.


    Thoughts???
     
  2. raindrop

    raindrop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    Could you take Faye out for a couple days, let June get settled, and then put Faye back in? It would be like Faye would be coming back from being away instead of June and that would better reinforce the previous hierarchy. I've never had to deal with this, but maybe it would ease the transition and make blood less likely.
     
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would wait until the hen is completely healed before putting her back. Chickens can sense weakness in each other, even the slightest bit of weakness, and they will explort that to the point of death.

    Edit: Forgot the link to the other thread! [​IMG]
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=39447

    Second
    , read this thread, I posted on how to re-introduce chickens. That should help with your problem. If you want me to answer any other questions or further explain my method, just ask, I love to help! [​IMG]

    -Kim
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2008
  4. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kim thanks for the link... I haven't heard of that.


    Also, how do I know she is "completely healed"? She seems totally fine, has her usual attitude, and it has been 5 days. Her wound is hidden, so there is nothing to peck at. This was what I was getting at with question #1. How much longer should I wait, if at all?
     
  5. raindrop

    raindrop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    She will probably be "healed" 7-10 days after surgery. Does she need to get sutures taken out? After that point I would consider her healed.
    The idea of separating them all is a good one. That will give June a few more days to heal at the same time.
     
  6. S n M Poultry

    S n M Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2007
    Riverside,CA
    What vet did you take her to to have surgery?
     
  7. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    S n M, see the link in the first post...........or were you asking for the vets name specifically?
     
  8. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:If your going to split them up for a week before reintroducing them all, that should be plenty of time. Go ahead and start working on the confusion technique and by the time comes to put them all back together, she should be good to reclaim her previous title.

    I usually only split my birds up if serious blood it drawn(steady drip) or if there are two or more ganging up on one. If you see one cowering in the corner while another is relentlessly beating it, go ahead and pull the aggressor out(and the beaten one if it is considerably wounded). Usually injuries in a flock of hens come from a clique(pack) of hens ganging up on an individual, this is the most dangerous. This is the behavior that the Confusion method works best against.

    -Kim
     
  9. S n M Poultry

    S n M Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2007
    Riverside,CA
    Quote:well i was just wondering because dont you live in riverside? If you do and i need to take one of my birds to the vet i want to know what vet takes chickens
     
  10. arwmommy

    arwmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope! I live in Santa Barbara/Ventura/San Luis Obispo County area! Sorry......
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2008

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