Help~ chicken integration gone wrong


In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 16, 2011
I got 8 chickens from a lady, one was a bit younger so we kept it separate for the past 3 weeks and now she said we could put it w/the other ones. Which worked out perfect because we just got the chicken tractor done so we figured that would be an ideal time to put all of them together in "neutral territory" (ie-the chicken tractor) well, we put them all together Monday night at Dusk. They weren't picking on the little one much at all. I watched a little Tuesday morning and the new one mostly stayed inside while the others stayed outside. but I saw its feathers were ruffled a bit so they must have picked on it some. So I put some water and a little food inside for it since it wasn't coming out at all from what I saw. Well, last night my son called me at work and said the back of its neck was all bloody. So I looked last night and yes, all the feathers are gone from the top of its head to the back of its neck and its skin is just bloody and raw where the feathers are all gone. So they must be beating it up when they go inside. So now what do I do with it???

I'm assuming if I take it out, ill never be able to introduce it again cuz the same thing will just happen again. So I want to leave it in there but not to the point where they seriously injure or kill it. Other than the blood and feathers being gone, it looks OK. But im worried about the open wound on its neck. Should I catch it and spray it with Blu-Kote??? I read that chickens like the Red color of blood so they might continue to pick on it if its red colored. Is that true?? (sorry, new to chickens!)

Should I just keep it in there and hope they stop picking on it?? What should I do?? If needed, I can take a picture of it and see if I can upload it to here. the bare spot looks bad but I don't know how "bad is bad" if ya know what I mean. I don't want to permanently hurt it but I don't want to take it out prematurely either. Then i'll have to get rid of it cuz I have no where to put 1 chicken. And its a really nice Cream Legbar too!! HELP!!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 10, 2010
Integrating is always a challenge, it's always harder on just one. I usually like to integrate 3 or more. Have a pen near the older flock, so that they can see each other, but the younger ones can be safe. I like to keep them separate, but together for about 2 weeks and then let them out and figure it out. I find that usually works, free ranging together a lot and they seem to work out the pecking order.


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
This could turn into a long post but I’ll try to be brief. What you need to do is to find a place to keep that chicken separate until it heals enough that the wound is not red. A dog crate or small cage is fine. As long as it has room to eat and drink, it will be fine. If at all possible, this should be where the other chickens can see it but can’t get to it. Where have you been keeping it? With the Bluekote a couple of days should be enough. Chickens will pick at a raw wound and kill another chicken.

More mature chickens outrank less mature chickens in the pecking order and have the right to enforce those rights if a lower ranked chicken invades its personal space. One way chickens have learned to live together is that the weaker runs away from the stronger if there is a conflict, or just avoids them to start with. That avoidance is what you are seeing when it stays separate. It sounds like you have a fair amount of space during the day but that maybe space is tight at night? If so, the chick can’t avoid or get away at night or when they are locked together.

Once that wound is no longer raw, let the chick roam with the others during the day. It will still avoid them, but they will get more used to it. At night, put it somewhere the others can’t get at it, separate sleeping arrangements. Don’t leave it locked in a small space with them where it can’t get away. That dog crate or cage should work.

Eventually that chick will mature enough that it can merge with the rest of the flock. Taking it out does not mean you can never integrate it. I can’t tell you when. The more space you have the easier that is. It depends on the personalities of the chickens involved. I’ve seen a broody hen wean her chicks at 3 weeks and those chicks made their way with the flock on their own from then on, doing a lot of avoiding along the way. As you have seen, even when they are a lot older you can have problems. They are living animals. They don’t come with guarantees.

We do this kind of integration all the time. Often it goes really smoothly with extremely little fuss and bother. I think having more space really helps with that. But occasionally there are serious problems. I wish you luck with this one.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 16, 2011
our chicken tractor has 120 sq ft for the run and then the "house" part of it which has the nesting boxes on the back and the roost inside is I think 10'x6' - It has been hiding in the house. I sprayed it w/blukote and put it in the barn instead now. It was starting to look worse so I took it out. I do have a dogcrate I was thinking of putting the chicken IN the dog crate and then putting the dog crate IN the outside run of the tractor so that they could see her and smell her and what not but can't pick on her. Would that be a good idea??? She was in the large dog crate before I put her in the tractor w/ the rest of them on Monday. She's been in there by herself for 3 weeks. :(

They wont be free-ranging because we have WAY too many predators around here to do that. The hawks would get them the first day I think!! so I would think that the tractor has enough room for her to get away but when I took her out this morning she was in a nest box and the other chicken had her cornered in there pecking at her neck and she didn't even try and get out!
Thanks for the advice!!!

Michael Apple

11 Years
Mar 6, 2008
Northern California
The best way to avoid these problems is to not mix birds of different ages and breeds. Yes, there are success stories from people with mixed flocks. Often, they were all raised together from brooder to coop. Chickens don't "celebrate diversity". They establish a pecking order.
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