Introducing an older hen to younger chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by S0rcy, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. S0rcy

    S0rcy Songster

    I have an adopted 3 year old hen that is doing well after having had her comb pecked off last fall. It is completely healed. I would like to let her out to roam the yard with the other 10 week olds, but I'm not sure if I should with the disparity in ages. She gave me some very lonely clucks this morning though and seems to really want to get out. The 10 week olds are not the least bit interested in her anymore and just wander the yard.
    Would it be disaster if I put them together, either she picking on them or them ganging up on her?
  2. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    I just try it and see how it goes. Just supervise so you can step in and intervene if needed.
  3. S0rcy

    S0rcy Songster

    Raindrop, thank you for the encouraging note [​IMG]

    I went out there again and she just looked so wistful that I did open the door to the isolation cage. She was hesitant so I picked her up and carried her around the yard. She half clucked nervously when I set her down and went to get some oilseeds. When I came back out I shook the seed tin and the other four came running double time. I put a handful out to Henrietta to get her interested and she finally joined the group at the tin. After the oilseeds were gone, Peep realized she was there and stood face to face with her as if trying to stare her down. After a bit of nibbling, suddenly Henrietta moved like lightning jumping on top of Peep and scaring the daylights out of the youngster. I nearly peed I laughed so hard. I never thought I would see anything make Peep submit, but all I heard out of her for the next ten minutes was the same submissive cluck/cheep that I hear from T-Rex most of the time. The whole group dynamic is shifting now. Henrietta isn't taking charge, but the group definitely isn't taking advantage of her. Right now it seems to be a live and let live situation.

    I was surprised that Henrietta let me pick her up so easily. The only time she resisted was when I introduced Buddy the beagle to her. I made buddy lie on his side just like the introductions with the chicks and brought Henrietta close. Then I let him sniff her. Once he got the scent he dropped interest and laid down with his head facing the other way bored. I released him to go play and gave Henrietta her treat of more seeds just for her so just like the other chickens she connects me and being handled with bribes. It was good. I'll check on them all every ten or twenty minutes or so to make sure no one is getting too excited and I'll put Henrietta in her own cage at night until the youngsters are old enough to eat pellets. That way they'll still each have their own food though it wouldn't hurt her to have a little starter if she wants to follow them into the coop.
  4. tndrees

    tndrees In the Brooder

    Jun 5, 2008
    Sidney, Ohio
    Hi, this might be a stupid question, but what are oil seeds? I'm looking for some food I can give as treats. I use dry oatmeal now. Thanks.
  5. S0rcy

    S0rcy Songster

    oil seeds are also known as Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS) they should be readily available at any feed store, mine had it available in 20 and 50 pound bags. Henrietta is pretty thin so the oil seeds should help put some weight on her.

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