introducing a rescued hen that was bullied at her previous home

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nickyblase, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. nickyblase

    nickyblase New Egg

    Apr 7, 2013
    Hi all,

    We rescued a ~3 year old Buff a few weeks ago from a neighbor because she was being consistently bullied (I have a feeling that it went on for quite a while without being dealt with). She had a huge scab on one of her wings that we have tended to that has finally gone away, and the feathers are starting to regrow. We have kept her in her own coop/run while she heals, and have her periodically in the front yard where the other 3 girls can free range semi nearby (supervised, and for short periods of time so they don't pick up on the fact that she's hurt).

    The new girl is very skittish, and I'm concerned about the best way to introduce her & move into the permanent coop with the other 3 girls after she is 100% healed. The 3 existing girls are red sexlinks, and are about the same age as her.

    My biggest concern is thinking that her skittish demeanor (if she stays that way) will elicit more bullying behavior toward her.

    Any ideas of the best way to handle would be great. The coop that she will be moving into with the other 3 girls isn't big enough for the wire dog crate we have, so I'm hoping to deal with the behavior challenges as much as possible out in the yard before moving her.

    Thanks! :)
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    What are the exact dimensions of the coop they will be sharing? Best to do the intro while they are all free ranging, and toss down some treats, well spread out for them. Perhaps throw a few handfuls of scratch in the grass.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
  4. nickyblase

    nickyblase New Egg

    Apr 7, 2013
    Thank you for the replies (and sorry for the delay, I didn't get a notification that anyone replied to my thread, better change my settings!) :)

    I did manage to put a partition in the coop, so she is sleeping in the coop with them at night, but they are mostly apart from each other during the day (she wanders around my large fenced in garden and they free range the entire property).

    She is pretty unsteady on her feet when she tries to do anything other than walk at a normal pace, so I am treating her with some vitamins to see if that will help (if it's a vitamin deficiency). What this means though, is that she just flops down on the ground if they come toward her (during supervised free range), so she has zero ability to fend for herself while they pick and establish their pecking order. With this in mind, I have been only allowing them to all be around each other for very short periods, and with close supervision by me to make sure she doesn't get hurt.

    I think she is also a bit hyper-sensitive, like she was mentally "scarred" by getting beaten up so much by her previous flock. She is very nervous around the other girls, and I worry that they will feed into that and feel inclined to bully her (moreso than if she were acting normal).

    She actually stands behind my legs when I'm out there, like she is trying to hide behind me...

    I'm actually half tempted to get another bird that is very demure, and put that one in with her, so they can integrate with the other girls together. Let them hang out in the garden together for a week or two, stay in the partitioned side of the coop together, and then open it up & let them all sleep & free range together. Might take a little pressure & attention off her.


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