Flock dynamics, bullying and introductions


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 15, 2013
Need a little advice about flock dynamics, bullying and introductions. We have a white leghorn that was the sole survivor of a fox attack a few months ago that got badly beaten up 2 weeks ago by our new flock overnight in the coop. They had been together for a couple months and are all sweet birds, though when out of the coop it would be fair to say she was a loner. They had been spending a lot of time indoors while we were working on our outdoor run which is now finished and I'm wondering if that, combined with the arrival of spring made everyone go crazy. Our roo is also very amorous with her and she is terrified of him.

I have had her recouperating from her wounds in the house since, and yesterday finished putting together her "summer house" so that she can be separated overnight at least. We have two new birds coming this weekend that I am hoping to put with her in the new coop so she has some company, one of whom is also white at the suggestion of a knowledgable friend to hopefully stop her from being singled out. Should I wait to put her into the new coop at the same time as the newcomers on Sunday, or should I let her have a couple days to get used to her new digs alone? She has been in the other coop for close to a year so I don't want her to be confused about which one to go in. And I'm wondering if I should even pick who rooms with her or let them figure it out themselves? Should I peel one of the others off to put in with the leghorn and have the new two in with the others instead?

The goal is to have everyone share the outdoor space and just break up at night. Sorry this is so long, and thanks in advance for any and all advice, we really want to have some harmony in our flock!!

Background info: Our flock consists of an Americauna roo, a black maran, easter egger and orpington x that came from the same farm. The maran stays with the roo and is top of the pecking order of the girls, the easter egger is bottom of the pecking order and the orpington x is pretty flighty. Our new birds are a cochin and sussex, and were both close to the bottom of the pecking order at their current home. The outdoor space they have is close to 2000 sq ft.
Injury behind her comb indicates rooster is investing too much effort mating with her. Some roosters do that. Re-integration back into flock should be a priority. Can you confine within area occupied by flock where they can hear and see her but not get to her? Once they and rooster get used to her then interactions should be less intense.

You related earlier that hen was attacked at night. Did this even occur under cover of darkness?
Makes sense. Poor thing.

Yes it happened some time between when I locked them up at dusk and 8am the next morning. Though that day day she was gone (at the time we were free ranging) all day and didn't return to the coop until very late. Usually she would be in the front of our house in the flower beds, I have never known her to be out of sight, let alone gone all day. I actually thought she had been taken by a predator and was very relieved when she showed up that evening. There may have been a smaller injury then that I just didn't notice when she jumped in there, but the worst of it certainly happened before I let them out in the morning.

Hopefully having two new birds will take some of his attention off her. I am going to section off an area of the outdoor run tomorrow for her and the newcomers.
Try to show a current image that includes injury site. Wound as you describe could be serious or nothing beyond unsightly. My birds occasionally ding each other up and with nearly white birds the damage can look a lot worse than it would on a darker bird.
Just to give an update for those interested. After three weeks, the deep wound on her head has healed. I treated it with Vetricyn three times daily and kept her in the house with us. She has a little scar and a weird bump where the tissue healed but is otherwise good as new.

I purchased a second small coop for her, and sectioned it off within the larger run for her. I also acquired two new chickens, one of which is also white. They spend a week alone with her at first, she actually pecked at them and seems to be queen bee of that threesome! After a week I let everyone in together, and they are doing great. Inevitably there has been some pecking but she seems to have re-established herself in the middle of the pecking order. The three of them are always together, they are a flock within the flock, but everyone gets along just fine. I also put an extra feeder and waterer outside so that there are three, to prevent any issues with fighting over food. The rooster definitely likes the other white chicken too, so that was great advice. We now have a happy harmonious flock!

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