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Having problems integrating a single chicken-- at the end of my rope!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Noobchick, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Noobchick

    Noobchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got three chickens months ago, but had to return two because they turned out to be roosters. The one that is left is having a very hard time integrating; to make matters worse she is a Naked Neck. I had to seperate her just prior to returning one of the roosters because he had ripped a 1x3" piece of skin from her neck. By the time she fully healed, the other 5 chickens in the flock had forgotten about her.

    I tried having her in a cage within the coop (which is 88 sq feet) and slowly inrtoducing her to them, putting all but one in the tractor and letting her and the lone chicken have the run and coop to themselves for a few hours a day. I gradually increased the numbers till they were all in there with her.

    They've had full access to each other now for about a week and a half and I've watched her neck get more and more swollen and bruised. Today, they broke skin; a small cut but one that is bleeding freely.

    Additionally I've tried putting who i thought was the mainaggressor in the cage on her own. Didn't seem to make much of a difference and she threw herself against the cage so hard when trying to get out that I ended up letting her out after a day and a half.

    I also suspect there is another aggressor but she's a BIG girl so I definitely wont have room to put both her and the main aggressor in the cage.

    I'm at the end of my rope. I have noidea what to do at this point to ease the transition any more. And I'm worried that this situation is really bad for the lone Naked Neck. (I'm going to post pictures of her injuries on the Diseases/Injury board too; not sure if I should be concerned at this point for her health.)

    Does anyone have any advice at all?? Or even some reassurance that this is a passin thing and will resolve on its own would be nice.
     
  2. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Um. Wow. You (and the chickens) have been through it lately. Sorry.

    I almost don't want to get involved because this is a bit of a scary situation as you already know.

    It sounds like you have a tractor and a coop/run. If that's true, can you put the two main agressors in the tractor for a few weeks? I know feeding and watering them in there can be a time consuming thing to have to do every day, but it may give the girl with the neck problem time to get integrated into the main coop/run.

    I think that's what I would try. If you don't have a tractor, then I'd buy a bigger cage and keep the two main aggressors in the cage in the coop/run for a few weeks with the girl with the neck problem full run of the coop/run. I know a few weeks is a long time, but the girl with the neck problem needs that time to be fully integrated. At least that's what it looks like from here, and we must remember I can't see a thing from this far away, which means, my comments are to be taken as more of sympathy for your situation that a real solution.

    It sounds like you're doing all the standard suggestions, so I imagine you've got it all set up with two feeders and waterers and a hiding place for the chicken being picked on so she can get away and out of sight (you know like behind a bale of hay or something). I know hiding isn't ideal, but slowly they will let her out as they see they can allow her into the flock.

    Integrations have always worked out here, but I rarely ever try a single chicken integration.

    Oh. You could also try putting everybody but the girl with a neck problem in the tractor for a week or two. Let her be in the coop/run for one day by herself and then bring one hen back in to be with her for a few days. Then after a few days, bring back one more hen. You see, if she's in the coop/run alone, then she will feel like top dog and any new hen will more than likely have to be below her on the pecking order as each new hen is brought back to the coop/run.

    Fingers crossed that something works out.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Colorado Rockies
    Or you could try doing some intensive aversion therapy.

    Often a flock has a head hen or rooster who will enforce order by pecking the disruptor. You are as close to being a head hen as humans can be. You will need to place yourself in their midst for an extended period at first, then follow up with occasional refresher lessons.

    When you observe the trouble makers pecking or attacking, you will intervene by giving them a sharp "peck" with your finger on their neck. Keep doing this until the attacker gives up. Repeat every time there's an attack.

    I've done this and most often it doesn't take very long for the culprits to get the message.

    This is time consuming for you, but it may end up being a short cut to resolving the situation compared to segregation and re-introduction, which is very disruptive.
     
  4. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bay Area, CA
    Gosh, I feel for you. I have 3 2-month old BO's that I'm just starting to integrate with my adult BO and Jersey Giant and I know my JG is going to be a problem. She's a total pill.

    I did put a pinless peeper on her back in November when I thought she would kill my poor BO. And I have to say, they really do work. They seem kind of cruel. But put them on your known bullies, it would give the naked neck a chance to get integrated.
     

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