Hen won't return to the others in the coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LestersFlat, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    I have one hen who was pecked almost naked by the others, I think because they were bored after being free range, and then locked up in the coop when it got cold.

    Now all are free ranging again, and the hen has most of her feathers grown back. She has been in the chicken hospital in the garage for about 3 weeks, about 500 feet away from the coop. We let her out of her crate every day, and 4 of the other hens and roo have been coming back to hang out with her. The problem is, when they go back to the coop, or even just in that direction, she goes back in the garage. Her other "safe spot" is up on our front porch pecking at the window, which gets my dogs and cats all excited, but doesn't scare her at all.

    My husband has carried her out to the coop, but she has no desire to stay there, even when all the others are out there. She simply follows him back when he walks back here. We've tried this 5 or 6 times, and she always comes immediately back.

    What can we do to encourage her to rejoin the others? Or should we just let her stay where she is comfortable and let her go back when she is ready? I am afraid to lock her up in the coop at night with the rest, because that is where and when she was pecked...I saw one of the others pecking at her on the top rung of the ladder where she was trying to settle down for the night.

    For now, when it is nice enough outside, we are locking her out of the garage during the day. Just this morning, the rooster went into the garage and chased her out to be with the others. It even took him 2 or 3 times to convince her to come out (pretty funny to watch).

    Anything we should do differently? Or just be patient?
     
  2. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2011
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    When all the other chickens go up for the night, put her out there in the coop with them. When it gets light again in the morning, they ought to get along okay. This seems to work best for me- add in the dark. I don't know if it has to do with them waking up and not noticing the "new" bird so much or something else, but it works. If you notice them really hounding her later in the day and she's still growing in her feathers, you might want to wait 'til she's fully healed before the reintroduction.
     
  3. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    I was afraid to sneak her in there at night, because it was at night, with a flashlight, that I saw her being pecked by one of the others on the roost.

    BUT! just yesterday she chose to go back to the coop with the others, and stayed out there all day with them! YAY! I think it may have had something to do with the fact that it started snowing in the morning when she went out there, and then the snow came down so fast that she couldn't make her way back to the garage, but this was a good thing, because she was in the coop with them all day, and everything went well...no pecking by the others. I closed her up in there last night, and my husband said she was fine when he let them out this morning.

    Of course, now they all come back to hang out in the garage during the day, and 2 of the other hens are jumping up into the hospital crate to lay eggs in her cozy little spot up there, but still, this is progress. Now I finally feel like I can trust the others not to hurt her, although she is definitely at the bottom of the pecking order, again.
     
  4. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    My red girl seems to have worked her way back into the flock (and the coop) but she still comes back every morning to lay an egg in the chicken hospital.

    Yesterday we had a snowstorm where about 6" of snow came down fast. I went out in the morning to the coop to check on everyone, and they were all there EXCEPT for my red girl! I thought that she had probably tried to go through the snow to lay her egg 500' away in the garage, and maybe got stuck in the snow somehow. I feared the worst—that I wouldn't be able to find her until the snow melted. Then, as I am coming out of the coop to start the search, I see her flapping her way through this heavy wet snow, happily on her way back to the coop. What a trooper! There are plenty of nest boxes in the coop, but she had to go back to her favorite one. Snow? What snow?

    Now today, when the driveway is cleared and they can wander more freely, I find 3 eggs in her private box. I guess the others have discovered her secret hiding place...
     
  5. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2011
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    I'm glad she was able to rejoin the group!
     
  6. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Me too! She seems to be getting along with everyone just fine.

    Has anyone else noticed that their hens stay in separate little groups? And that the groups sometimes change? Roo and the 4 SLWs were the only ones coming back to see the red girl while she was in chicken hospital. Now the other red one is coming back as well, every day. They do their little circuit around the garage, and then go back by the bird feeder behind the house, and then travel back to Coop World. They do this more than once a day when weather permits, but the blue copper marans, the last 3 that we added to our flock, NEVER come back to the house. They go in the coop with the rest at night, but they never travel back here.

    I find that very odd.
     
  7. rockstar

    rockstar Out Of The Brooder

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    I got four new hens and a rooster that I introduced into the flock by putting a small pen inside the large pen where the new chickens stayed for a little over a week. When I let the new ones out all but one of the older existing hens were fairly accepting. The meanie hen that we now call Minnie was alwful to all the new ones, even the rooster. She was put in time out (the small pen in the larger pen) for few days. I let her out and she was just as bad as ever. Back into time out for two weeks. Let her out and she is behaving a little better. Funny thing though, when the rest of the chickens go in the coup for the night, she goes back to her little pen and jumps up on that roosting pole and sits there all by herself. Is she just antisocial or what?
     

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