Chickens recognize one who has been out of the flock for a while??

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
407
343
128
Bergen County New Jersey
Hello All! My Nellie has been out of the flock for two weeks because she injured her leg so I put her in garage hospital for a week and I medically boarded her for a week because we had to go away. I know to introduce them gradually with partitions etc. but what I am curious about is “will they recognize/remember her”? She is a very meek and sweet Ken, and the other chickens never seem to be threatened by her. She’s kind of like a little sister in the flock. But I’m just wondering what to expect when she goes back in
 

Marie Helen

In the Brooder
Feb 17, 2021
11
16
39
My Heidi has been out for around 8 days. She's had to have an implant as she was laying shell less eggs. I tried to put her back yesterday with her 3 sisters but they all attacked her and made her comb bleed. She's now back indoors with me. I thought they would be ok with her as they have been looking for her. She has recovered really well from the implant but I don't want her stressed. I'll try with a larger dog crate in a few days as the one she is in was small enough for the others to get their heads and claws through.
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
407
343
128
Bergen County New Jersey
We went through almost exactly the same thing with my Nelly. I kept trying to integrate her by means of a separate area in the same pen etc and they never would accept her, so finally I put pin-less peepers on the two worst offenders and over time I was able to take those off and they were still mean to her but not like before. I put multiple feeders and water sources in lots of spread out places in the run and put lots of hiding places for her. We had a pallet leaning up against the side of the run that she could duck behind and a chair she could go under that was a little low for the big fluffy bullys. THEN a friend suggested we get some new chickens and maybe she would bond with them or at the very least there would be some newbies to take their attention off of her. It worked really well. I bought three chicks that they raised til 8 weeks for me. Then I took them in and set up a little coop/run in my garage with garage to my basement open for warmth. Once they were 14 weeks I put that mini coop inside our run and they could see eachother but not touch. I alternated places where i could put the big ladies out and the little ones could have the run for a little while each day. Finally i introduced them and it was really cool - the bullies DID try to bully the new ones but not as bad as they had Nelly, so eventually one of the sweet new ones befriended her and now they are buds. (Thanks Marie for that idea) It took time but so worth it. To answer your OG question - yes they do still recognize them!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
6 Years
Jul 3, 2016
20,585
43,160
1,142
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I'll try with a larger dog crate in a few days as the one she is in was small enough for the others to get their heads and claws through.
You can also try "fencing off" the crate with chicken wire or bird netting (stretched fairly taut to avoid entangling) over the existing crate walls to prevent others from reaching in to peck at her. But a bigger crate would help her feel safer as she would have more space to move away.
 

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