Hen being bullied

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rhodies Mom, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Rhodies Mom

    Rhodies Mom New Egg

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    My name is Teresa. I live in Washington State. This is my first time raising chickens. I have 4 hens that are a year old. About 3 months ago one of my girl was missing feathers. I was worried she was sick so I separated her until I could figure it out. Turns out she was molting. Since it was winter I left her where she could stay warm because she was half naked. I have since tried to reintroduce her and now 2 of the hens will not let her into the run. She is being kept prisoner in the coop. She doesn't look injured but I don't want her to be bullied anymore. Any advice will be helpful. Thanks
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Since your hen has been gone for three months, she lost her place in the pecking order. The others remember her but they still look at her as an outsider.

    I would treat the situation as if you were introducing a new hen. I wrote an article for BYC about introducing a new hen to my flock. It's linked below in my signature line. You might find some useful tips in it.

    Basically, you need to be patient while your hen is trying to fit back in. She has lost her self confidence and is trying to get it back by hiding out in the coop. There is a real danger that she might not get enough to eat during this reintegration period, so be sure to feed her where the others can't keep her from eating.
     
  3. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Hello Teresa,

    I had the same problem and my Penny had only been absent from her flock one week.

    It is more difficult to get a flock to accept only one hen back, I think absence for 3 months will take longer than my ordeal, but it can be accomplished.


    The link in my signature below is an article I wrote about a successful reintegration of one hen to her flock - hope it helps.

    I had a lot of advice that really did work - can you post pics of your "arrangement" the run, coop, and how you are separating the BR?

    The Bully blaster water spray works immediately to bust up aggression, I used a spray bottle with a long shot of water, others use a garden hose, either can work. Some use a can of rocks to shake to break things up - I did try a can of marbles, it only worked once.

    The flock's aggression will appear whether you are present or not, so if you are diligent in the process, you will begin to see the aggression lessen and at that point things get easier. If you flock free ranges it would be easier - mine live only in confinement which compounded the difficulty of the process. I added an additional make-shift interesting out of the run area so I could lock out the more aggressive hens at first and allow the lesser aggressors to accept her. It took months of daily close observation, having the recovered hen live in a dog cage in the run so she was safe, had her own water and feed. And a jail for the worst bully to spray her and isolate her so Penny could get some time with the friendlier hens. It's stressful to us and more so to the one who needs to reenter the flock. Do not try to just put her in the coop at night - that was a real disaster. Be patient - it takes time to accomplish.

    I think the longer the hen is removed from the flock, the longer time you have to practice the see but don't touch method - Penny was only away 1 week - with yours removed 3 months, it could take longer?

    We are here to help, let us know how your daily integration process is going.
     
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Also, here's link to my original thread asking for member input into helping with Penny post #1

    I would suggest you read thru that thread to see if any of the advice can help you.
     
  5. Rhodies Mom

    Rhodies Mom New Egg

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    Thank you very much for the article. My run is definitely big for a dog pen and I happen to have one that is not being used. She has been in the coop for 5 days now, they just wont let her in to the run. She doesn't seem to have a problem roosting at night with them, as I have gone out and checked on her and she is on the perch with the others. I am getting 2 Americana chicks today and when they are big enough I will add them to the dog pen. How old do you think the chicks need to be to be added? Again thanks for the awesome advice.
     
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Interesting that they let her roost with them - even after my hens accepted Penny back - they gave her a very difficult time at roosting time for quite awhile.

    Good question on the new chicks - I am hoping to add some soon, and have read opposing views:

    some say not until the chicks are basically grown.

    others say better when they get some size but still sound like chicks.
     
  7. Rhodies Mom

    Rhodies Mom New Egg

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    I also found it strange that they let her in with out a fight. It is like they just don't want her in the run. They are fine with her as long as she stays in the coop.
     
  8. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about taking the aggressive hen out for a day or two and see if she is accepted back then put the bully back out? Anybody try that?
     
  9. Rhodies Mom

    Rhodies Mom New Egg

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    I am afraid if I do that then the second in command would just take over the bulling.
     

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