How do I integrate an adult hen into my closed flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Trailcookie, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. Trailcookie

    Trailcookie New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2010
    I had one of my Red Star hens die out of the blue this week and picked up a Rhode Island Red off through my local Craigs List so that my level of egg production could continue. My flock was born in May and has been closed. The RIR is more of a rescue as she has already been kicked out of two previous flocks and her chest feathers are broken and she has a red patch of skin area exposed there. The last owner described her as very dominant. He wasn't completely truthful with me, but I got the sense that she was too dominant for his other flock members, perhpas had not integrated well and that he was getting rid of her because of that.

    I tried to put her into my flocks coop in the middle of the night last night while everyone was sleeping, but they all woke up and that did not seem to work. She is definitely the "out" bird when I went out there early this morning to let them out to range, she left the coop last and never joined the other hens as they grazed and then entered their day time tractor. I observed a couple of dominance displays between my hens and her. She always fought back and seemed to get the upper hand but she did not seem to be able to successfully co-exist. I have removed her from the flock and put her back in the night time coop and the hens are out in their day time tractor. Any suggestions and tips on how to successfully integrate her?

    Any help would be much appreciated! I would really like to try and make this work.

    Tammy
     
  2. Robert1959

    Robert1959 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2010
    Cataula / Columbus GA
    I put mine in a dog cage so everyone can fluff at each other for a few days , and if they come outside some let them run around in the open some . no one can get cornered that way . I usually shoot for 3 days of separation/accumilation
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:With high value birds I use the acclimation trick as decribed by Robert 1959. For me works best with birds that will integrate at or near bottom of hierarchy. Birds with more stones may fight excessively through wire causing unacceptable damage. Birds I suspect likely candidates for top rank cause greatest aggrivation, especially when group to be integrated with is large and has tough birds as well. When I say large, that means ten or more. Chickens seem able to recognize each other as individuals in groups up to 30 individuals, beyond that they seem only to notice if you are part of their flock, or not. When you have new aggressive hen, sometimes it is the rooster that facilitates introductions of new hen. When hens starting fighting he attacks one or both greatly reducing duration of skirmishes and reducing time required for hen to fit in. It is not clear if you have a rooster.

    For me, the night trick has not worked any better than introducing new hen during daylight. It just results in fighting occuring before I get out to observe flock. Regardless, simply letting them fight it out is way to go. They settle rank issues eventually. Unless new animal is visually or socially impaired. Birds blind in one eye can have difficult time reponding to visual signals. Others can simply be too gamey for easy fit into social. RIR in my opinion should not have latter problem.
     
  4. Robert1959

    Robert1959 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2010
    Cataula / Columbus GA
    q
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Robert1959,

    The image on your website with hen brooding puppy; that is how you develop a livestock guarding dog suitable for chickens, cross-fostering. Could you advise me on getting hen to do that? Had occur in past but not repeatedly. Part of magic with hen but other parts I do not understand.
     
  6. Trailcookie

    Trailcookie New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2010
    Thanks for the tips! Yesterday p.m. I put her (RIR) in our outside tractor where she can see our hens and they can see her, but they can't physically attack each other. My hens have spent alot of time checking her out yesterday and today. She seems quite aggravated she can't get out but she does settle down after they go away. I will keep her in there one more day and then try letting them free range together for hopefully a smoother integration. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again!
     

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