Bully Hens in PA-Reintroducing Runaway Hen!

JoaniBee

In the Brooder
Jun 9, 2018
6
26
41
Hello Everyone! This is my first post on BYC...
Our girl LaVerne was on the run for 2 weeks. She went out to range and never came home. She was located and we brought her back about a week ago. I am having a heck of a time reintroducing her to the neighborhood... We have 4 hens in total, including LaVerne.
Here is what we have done:
  • Kept her in a dog kennel at night.
  • Kept her physically separated where the others can see but not get to her.
  • Let her in the run with us around to watch. Two of the three others are nasty to her. They pecked her bare and bleeding at the tail. (Using antiseptic spray 3x a day to heal her. She was pretty banged up when we brought her home, lost feathers and weight...)

2 nights ago, we were put watching and she went in to roost and there were no problems. Same thing last night. I cannot leave her out with our two girls June and Conkey...but she is just fine with Sue (who she was brought from the farm as a chick with).
WHAT can I do to alleviate the other 2 from hurting her? All advice welcome!
 

ChickenCanoe

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Instead of separating the victim, you have to separate the bullies for up to a week and when you return them, they'll be the new kids on the block.
Return one at a time.
 

JoaniBee

In the Brooder
Jun 9, 2018
6
26
41
THANK YOU! This is actually what we were planning on trying, but I was hesitating as we were told by others to separate the one being pecked on. I think we will kennel the meanies and bring them back, like you said, in another week...
 

ChickenCanoe

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:thumbsup
If you separate the one being picked on, it will be picked on every time you return it.
The others see it as the flock invader and every time it goes back, it will be the flock invader and they'll want to drive it off or kill it.
Eventually, no matter what you do, when they see it, they will hate it.
 
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aart

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How big is your coop and run?
Dimensions and pics would help here.
I'd split the run with wire and separate the bullies.
Keep Laverne with Sue ...put the aggressors on the other side of wire for a few days.
 

JoaniBee

In the Brooder
Jun 9, 2018
6
26
41
How big is your coop and run?
Dimensions and pics would help here.
I'd split the run with wire and separate the bullies.
Keep Laverne with Sue ...put the aggressors on the other side of wire for a few days.
12x14 with a small coop in the corner. Would it be ok they don’t have access to the coop then? I could put the dog kennel on the side without coop entrance for a place to take a break from the wind...?
 

chickengeorgeto

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Dec 25, 2012
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Your run away hen will continue to be picked on to such time as the other hens get the news that she is ready and willing to submit to the top hens in the flock. All that isolating your top hens will produce is lower ranking chickens as the isolation of a top hen will demote her into a lower ranking hen. Sometimes removing the second ranked hen will result in the uber-hen rethinking her behavior.
 

Shadrach

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Jul 31, 2018
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WHAT can I do to alleviate the other 2 from hurting her? All advice welcome!
Are they hurting her?
It sounds like you are free ranging?
As long as she has room to eascape the bully and apparently she has a friend, I wouldn't seperate. It is likely to stress her and when she returns to the flock the problem will still be there.
I've not seen any evidence that locking bullies up teaches them not to bully.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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I've not seen any evidence that locking bullies up teaches them not to bully.
No, but it can allow the bullied bird some peace and time to regain her confidence.
Removing bully for long enough out of sight makes them the newbie upon re-intro.
It can break up the aggression habit.
No guarantees, but it can shift things for the better.
 

JoaniBee

In the Brooder
Jun 9, 2018
6
26
41
So what we have decided to do, is place a cloth between them where all have access to the coop but not each other. They can see each other and are sharing a food/water source and today went well. LaVerne is still a nervous bird. She has been through quite a bit. All went in together to roost in coop with no fights tonight. Hoping this is the way of the future for them and in a week or two, the cloth can come down!
 

MANNA-PRO

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