Hen recovering well from attack. When/how to reintroduce her to flock?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by UrbanEnthusiast, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2012
    Port Orford, Oregon
    I've only had chickens for a year, so I need all the advice I can get, thanks. This is our first time dealing with an injured bird.

    Our Welsummer hen, Salma, was attacked by a raccoon six days ago. She is recovering nicely, but I'm not sure when or how to introduce her back to the flock. Stubborn little thing has her own opinion about it and clearly she is ready to be out of the dog carrier and back in the yard with her friends right this very instant, LOL. And while she seems to have her full energy back, she still has scabs healing on her face and wattles, as well as an eye that was infected and oozing after the attack but is now healing slowly but surely. She is still on antibiotics for a few more days. I think she may have permanent scars on her wattles. We have five hens and Salma was always at the top of the pecking order until a month or two ago when one of our other hens, Gertrude, who was always the most aggressive, was extra cranky from a molt and ousted her from the top spot. Ever since then I have seen Gertrude actually mount Salma quite roughly just like a rooster would, several times a day. I have tried letting Salma out with the flock a couple times since the attack - fully supervised, of course - and Gertrude can tell she's weak and is clearly chomping at the bit to affirm her dominance over Salma once and for all. I don't want Gertrude pecking at Salma's wounds or re-injuring her in any way. I also worry that Gertrude will eternally peck at Salma's scars if she winds up with any. I must admit I liked things better when Salma was the leader because she was much nicer about it (which is, I suppose, why she lost her spot). Anyway, is there a way to ease the tensions between these two hens? (And no, I can't get a rooster). I've been putting Salma in the yard in her carrier during the warmest part of the afternoon most days just so they can all hang out a little and won't forget about each other. Maybe in a day or two I will feel confident enough about Salma's strength to put her in the coop in the carrier at night. But I'm terrified to let her out unsupervised. Locking Gertrude in the coop and letting Salma roam about with the other three worked just fine except I think maybe it just ticks Gertrude off even more. Perhaps I'm projecting too much intelligent thought onto these birds, LOL. And I don't want to get rid of Gertrude because she's beautiful, she's our best layer, and she's just a very interesting and dynamic bird to observe. With her huge comb and cocky attitude we always joke that she's basically a rooster who lays eggs, haha.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Let her heal completely.If you free range & have a run put her in the run while the others range. This way the others can see her. Once, she's healed. Put her on the roost at night. Then in the morning you can let them all out. This will give her space to run from the flock if they try to pick on her. You can always change the pecking order by isolating a couple for a time. Thats what I do.
     
  3. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2012
    Port Orford, Oregon
    We don't have a run. They free-range from dawn till dusk every day. How do I change the pecking order by "isolating a couple for a time"? Which couple? How long? I'm very interested in this!!!
     

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