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Can a pecked on chicken still be friendly?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Soot the silkie, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Soot the silkie

    Soot the silkie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Someone has a chicken that has been pecked on by other chickens and would like to give it to me. Can the hen still be friendly to me? Does the friendliness depend on the breed? Will she peck on my chickens who are young? I'd like to know as soon as possible. Thanks!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes to all of your questions.

    If she's older than the other chickens, and she's been picked on, chances are you will need to watch her for bullying. More often than not, just as with people, some who are victimized become bullies.

    However, since she will be a newcomer, and your other chickens will have formed a unit, there will be strength in numbers, and they should be able to stand up to any bullying, and I would expect it not to be any real problem.

    Make certain you quarantine the newcomer for a decent period to make sure she isn't carrying any disease or parasites. Then introduce her gradually to the younger ones. There are great threads on this forum discussing the best approaches.
     
  3. Soot the silkie

    Soot the silkie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The young leader of my flock is very assertive but a good leader. She is almost full grown. The other two chickens of my small flock are "chicken" when it comes to fighting. Could the leader keep leadership? And how long is a "decent" quarantine?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I would quarantine for at least a week. You want to look for signs of illness, if any, such as abnormal poop (runny, white and/or green) signs of parasites, abnormal behavior indicating pain or illness, is she laying eggs regularly, stuff like that.

    I might combine the quarantine period with integration by keeping the new hen in a dog crate in the middle of the run or coop, allowing the others to become accustomed to her without actually coming into contact. However, some illnesses are airborn, so this would be somewhat risky.

    I don't mean to scare you or discourage you from adopting this hen, but my flock is all infected with a form of avian leukemia they probably got from the original three hens I adopted. There is no way to know some diseases are present in birds until they die from it.

    One thing I would do if I were in your shoes is question the person where this new hen is coming from and get a history of her flock. Ask about birds who have been sick and died. What did they die from? If not known, what were the symptoms? Look it up and see if you can figure it out and decide if there may be something that could be "carried" into your flock.

    I know. [​IMG] Sorry, to throw a wet blanket on this adoption, but chickens are more complicated than you would think. I never would have thought I was bringing a deadly disease into my future flock by adopting a few orphaned hens after my friend died in an auto accident seven years ago.
     
  5. Soot the silkie

    Soot the silkie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the helpful info... I know what you mean by chickens are more complicated than you would think. Don't worry, all the stuff about diseases doesn't make me hesitant about adopting the chicken... But now I know I have to be super careful.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Integrating a single bird into an established flock is the hardest integration to do.
    It might be best for the keeper of the bullied hen to solve the bullying problem in that flock, there are many possible causes and solutions.

    True biological/medical quarantine should consist of absolutely no physical contact, even thru a fence, and segregation of all equipment and clothing.
    Anything less and you might as well not even bother.


    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:


    Integration of new chickens to flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  7. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    RE: will the hen be friendly towards you.

    I think she will likely be friendly to you if you make early efforts with TLC. While quarantined give her special treats - hand fed. Talk to her. Continue with attention once she is with the flock.
     
  8. Soot the silkie

    Soot the silkie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow... that's a lot of helpful info. On the issue of the quarantine thing, I have a butterfly cage (don't laugh yet) that's almost like a mini chicken coop run, about six feet by two feet with a wooden frame and chicken wire wrapped around it. There's definitely enough room for one chicken inside. Would this work?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It sounds like it would work to contain the chicken....not sure I'd call it 'quarantine', that has more to do with than just what the chicken is contained in.
     
  10. Soot the silkie

    Soot the silkie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know... What I mean is would it work for the containing part of the quarantine. I also have a place away from other chickens, different hay and feeders and waterers , as well different equipment.
     

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