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Bow to assist in moving up the pecking order?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by AlisonBrooklyn, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. AlisonBrooklyn

    AlisonBrooklyn Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2014
    Thanks to the members of this group who helped me identify my pullet as a Red Sex Link. She is now six months old and has been laying for four days.

    We had some trouble when first introducing her to our existing flock of three hens. It went okay for several days and then they plucked all the feathers out of her head. We removed her and now she sleeps on our basement, and goes into a separate large cage next door to their run. They can see but not touch each other. Her head is healed but the feathers have not grown back yet.

    A friend told me that when she had a low-pecking-order hen who was being picked on seriously, she put a hair bow on the bird, giving her status with the others. Has anyone heard of or tried such a thing themselves?

    Thanks for your advice!

  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    You need to introduce birds slowly to a new flock. You can't just throw a new bird into an existing flock. Keep the new bird in a cage or behind a fenced area within the flock so everybody sees but does not touch. The new bird needs to stay separated behind wire like this for several weeks. This allows much of the pecking order to be established with the old flock and the new bird/birds. After several weeks, on mixing day, they all should blend fairly well. There may be some staring and a few light pecks, but the worst of it has already been established. Of course always intervene if it turns bloody. However if you have a hen that is just plain out mean and will not allow this new bird into the flock, you can either separate out the meanie for a few weeks, or use pinless peepers on her. After a flock has been established, always remove the bully, never the one being bullied.

    Putting a bow on the head of this bird will only make them bother her more, at least this is how my flock would act.

    So get this bird healed up, use blu-kote on her head on any wounds and bare skin to protect from infection, get her into a cage within the flock and in a few weeks, hopefully she is mixed into the flock.

    Good luck!
  3. AlisonBrooklyn

    AlisonBrooklyn Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2014
    Thank you. I guess I did not explain sufficiently.

    We kept the new hen in a smaller cage next to the run for two weeks. Then we put her in with the flock of three at night so they woke up together. During the day she would scoot off to her old cage to stay out of their way or just forage around if we could open the area up more (it has been very snowy here for months so they have been more confined than is good). For three nights it was fine, but on the fourth morning they pecked her quite brutally. I was not there to see it, but I conjecture that since she usually freezes when confronted with them, they may have gotten annoyed while she was blocking their way out of the hen house, or to one of the brooder boxes. That was three weeks ago. Since then we have kept her in our house at night and put her in a very large cage next to the run during the day.

    I have Blu-coat but was not aware she would need it if the skin had healed. I can certainly put it on her before trying to allow contact again. There is no more red; her skin is all one color, but no feathers yet. I'm not even sure if they will grow back?

    This weekend I am having a fence put up so they can roam in a larger area so was planning to bring her back into physical contact with them next week. I really like this hen but am enjoying so much the mess in my basement bathroom!

    I did think about putting the alpha hen in the large cage while the other two and the new girl work things out during the days. It might be more manageable when its not three against one.


    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Welcome to BYC. [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! TwoCrows gave you good advice, it can sometimes take a long time to integrate a new chicken into a flock. A larger area should make the process easier, good luck with your girl.
  6. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC - chicken society is frequently cruel, and introductions can be difficult. Try introducing original flock members to the new hen one at a time starting with the lowest ranking. Give them time to adjust and then add another hen. Introduce the dominant hen last. If all else fails, try using Pinless Peepers.
  8. AlisonBrooklyn

    AlisonBrooklyn Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2014
    Thanks. That is very helpful.
    My fence goes up this weekend, so I will start the process as soon as its done.
  9. AlisonBrooklyn

    AlisonBrooklyn Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2014
    Thanks for the welcome!
  10. AlisonBrooklyn

    AlisonBrooklyn Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2014
    Thank you. I will keep trying.

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