Did I Introduce New Birds Too Quickly?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 2, 2008
We had a catastrophic first run with our first group of chicks from the hatchery (Never again I might add). We have lost them all to Avian Encephalitis (we think according to a vet I consulted) except one of my Americaunas. She is now 5 months old.

After a brief stint to the mountains of TN with my parents, their neighbor sent us home with 3 free hens. YIPPEE!!!! I chose them out of a flock of 12 or so. Two that are just now laying age and one that is a second season layer. We have gotten two eggs in the last week but I figure once they adjust to the feed change and environment change, she will pick up again. This, however, is not my problem.

My poor little 5 month old baby is scared to death of these full grown hens. They pick on her constantly. The large buff pecked her everytime she walked by. Now the poor little thing just stands in the corner with her head down acting like she hopes that they don't see her. Today I witnessed the Maran running to her while her head was down and pulling out her tail feathers and then running away. She let out a loud cluck and then went back to her head down in the corner. Whenever my husband and I approach their temporary pen (until we get the coop outside built this week), she flies up toward us almost as if she is begging us to pick her up and take her out of there.

Should I have introduced them more slowly? Should I separate her out until she is bigger? I am worried about her! She seems to be saying to me, "MOM!!! You went to the mountains for 4 days and instead of a T-shirt, you brought me room mates that pull out my feathers and peck my back? HELLLP ME!!!"
Poor bird! Yes she needs time to integrate with the flock. Build or cordon off an area of the run for her with her own little shelter (a dog crate?). The chickens should be able to see and hear her for at least a week in order to feel that she is "one of the flock". This will also give her time to eat well and grow so that she can stand her own (I would give her a month, that's what I did with my chickens). She will not be too lonely if she can see them.
When you decide to integrate......which will be awhile........I would do it at night so they're in the dark and on the perches. That way they get used to her smell and presence without hurting her.

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