How to re-integrate a hen to the flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lisameeks, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. lisameeks

    lisameeks Out Of The Brooder

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    We have 11 hens--five hens are almost 4 years old, one hen is 2 1/2 and the rest are 1 1/2 years old. We were able to integrate the younger generations without incident. One of the younger generation Comets started looking puny so I put her in the chicken hospital in the garage. She perked up within the week so I put her back with the flock and wow, the 2 1/2 year old Comet came at her like a deranged rooster. The one I'm trying to re-integrate just tucked her head and took it--didn't fight and didn't run. When she showed up with some peck marks on her head, I dosed her with an anti-peck product, but the abuse continued. So I pulled her out again and tried to smuggle her in at night when it was dark. Lights come on--the crazy comet attacks again. We've put her in a separate pen in the yard so the flock could see her but not get to her but when given a chance, that comet attacks. I admit, we only tried this a couple of days because it was an ordeal. I'm not one to kill a bird (hence the three generations of hens). Does anyone have any ideas on how to re-integrate my comet? Thanks. PS, the crazy comet is laying, the victim is not.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    What I would do is take that agressive hen out, isolating her for about a week, and put that little hen that just recovered back in. Then she will have a chance to eat and get back into the groove of things. Then put the agressive one back, and SHE will be the newby. Maybe that will knock her down a peg......
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    It's never easy to re-introduce a bird after an illness/injury. She is going in as a new bird and will need to earn her place back into the flock. She is going to be in for a tough time until she is accepted regardless of what you do. Monitor the flock and make sure she isn't being injured. Separate the crazy comet for a while until you get the other bird integrated if she keeps making a nuisance of herself, but be aware that once the crazy comet is separated another lunatic may step in to take her place.

    Can you block off part of the coop with some fencing to make an area where the "new" bird can see and be seen, but not get assaulted?
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the idea of taking out the aggressor and isolating her for a while. If you find that another hen or two steps up and starts bullying the hen you're trying to integrate, here's another idea. This is what I did when I had to reintegrate Hermione, a low ranking hen after a broody period. Fortunately, I have a spare run in which to do this.

    Hermione was in a pen separate from the rest of the flock. On the first day, I put Ginger in with Hermione. Ginger and Hermione were clutch mates, and generally always get along well together. The next day, I added another of the low ranking hens to this twosome. On each of the days after that, I'd add another hen from the flock, on up the pecking order. This way, Hermione didn't have to go through being dominated by all of the hens all in one day.
     
  5. 1dermom

    1dermom New Egg

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    Oct 31, 2011
    I had a similar problem with a new young hen. The established hens picked her practically bald before I caught on. (We call her Darth Vader now) Anyway, I put her inside one of those XL wired dog cages INSIDE the run so they could get used to her being around. After a few days, I let her out and put the main bully inside the cage for a few days. It might not have been the quickest or easiest solution, but it worked.
     

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