How to Best re-Introduce a hen to her flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lrnabtbirds, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Lrnabtbirds

    Lrnabtbirds In the Brooder

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    Last August our dog badly injured one of my hens. I had to keep her in our basement to care for her all fall and winter. She has enough feathers to be outside again.
    What is the best way to re-introduce her to her flock?
    She does has a companion hen who was injured early last fall and I have kept them together.
    I have a large dog crate I can put them out in the barn in, just wondering how long I should keep them crated before allowing them out with the Rooster, hens and Peafowl?
    To make things a bit more complicated one of my Peahens is nesting on 6 eggs- re-introducing these two hens- will that be a bad situation for her? The Peafowl are definitely the dominant birds in the barn
    Any suggestions are truly appreciated!
     
  2. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

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    Well from what I've read the two hens won't be rocognised by the flock as their old friends but will be two new girls, and you may know already they will be lowest in the pecking order.
    As for the rooster and pea hen I'm not sure, others with more experience will post and advise.
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Keep them in the crate so everyone sees them for a couple of days and let them out. All you can do is try.
     
  4. goldfishes

    goldfishes Chirping

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    Glad your birds recovered! I've had to reintroduce formally sick hens a few times. First is to make sure your chicken is strong enough to defend herself. Any weakness can make the other members of the flock attack them out of survival instinct. I learned this by trying to reintroduce a sick hen earlier than I should. As far as what to expect, it really depends on how mean the other birds are to begin with. I've had more issues reintroducing with red sex links, but I've rarely had issues beyond a shuffling of the pecking order for a few weeks.

    I usually put them in a crate within the run and monitor the behavior. If it looks well, I will let them out supervised late evening and look for unprovoked attacks. If all goes well, I put them in the coop at night and am out first thing before dawn and monitoring again, ready to put them back in a crate. Pecking and squabbling will occur and the flock needs to to re-establish the pecking order, but you are looking for actual fights. For instance, if one of the chickens won't back down after the other becomes submissive or retreats, you need to keep them in the crate a little longer for their protection. But if you are seeing the chickens behaving appropriately, sometimes you can pop the hens straight into the flock, especially if there is enough room to get out of the way.
     
    Eggcessive likes this.
  5. Lrnabtbirds

    Lrnabtbirds In the Brooder

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    Thank you for your help. I just brought them out Wednesday evening I notice one of my Cochins raising her neck feathers trying to chest bump and peck one of my hens. Should I keep them in the create until I no longer see that behavior?
     
  6. goldfishes

    goldfishes Chirping

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    After the chest bump and peck, did the Cochin continue this behavior for a long while? If not, this is normal pecking order reestablishment. Eventually, when you do let them out, you're going to see some of this bumping and pecking no matter how long they are in the crate. Set up some areas she can hide behind or jump on to get out of the way. It's best to only intervene if they are drawing blood or non stop.

    What I did was open the crate door in the late afternoon (after everyone lays eggs) while in the run and let the chicken decide if she wanted to go out. Then I watched the behaviors for the next ten minutes. If anyone was violent and she couldn't get away, back in she went. If all went well, I left her out and checked on her every few minutes for the next couple hours. After that, every 30 minutes and eventually, I just left them to it and went back at dusk to put her on the roost. She was already nestled in with them. Some you have to put on in the beginning.

    I actually had a sick hen (ask plastic) go back into the coop last week and others started jostling within the flock but left her alone! So don't be surprised if you don't see squabbles for a week or two. If there is one or two particularly mean girls, you can actually pull them out for a few days and let the others settle in first. We did that a few years ago.
     
    Eggcessive likes this.
  7. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

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    I think I read somewhere that if you do get a bully, then take it out for a few days then re-introduce it, then that will have lost its pecking order and that will get pecked by the other hens.
    This can happen with fish too, if you get a bully fish then take it out of the tank then after a week or two put it back, it will be regarded as a new fish by the others and it stops the bullying.
     
  8. Lrnabtbirds

    Lrnabtbirds In the Brooder

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    Thank you so much! That may have answered my next question.
    I have Peafowl as well and my Peacock has always need interested in my White hens. He circles their crate every morning but by late afternoon he is on his way perched in our indoor riding arena.
    I was worried about him too, he has two Peahens that are white one is on a nest of eggs.
    Does anyone have experience with a Peacock who seems overly interested in some hens?
     

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