introducing Harriet's human and what to do about Sunny

harriets_human

Hatching
8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
3
0
7
Hello, I am Harriet's human from Hayward, California. My family and I are fairly new to the world of back yard chickens, going on eight months now, and are absolutely wild about our girls: Reenie, Penny, Sue, Pepper, Sticky, Charlie and my namesake here, Harriet. The breeds we have are Rhoad Island reds, New Hampshire reds, Gold Laced Wyandottes, Plymouth Barred, and White Silky....Then there is our newest addition and possibly the sweetest chicken in the county, our Americauna, Sunny. And she is the reason I am joining here to see if anyone has some advice for us.
We acquired our original flock of 8 as day-old chicks. While they were all still in the brooder, our cleaver neighbor husky dog got into our garage opened the brooder and killed our two two-month old Americaunas before I caught him. The remaining 6 grew into beautiful hens and have gifted us with nearly six eggs a day even through the winter. Back in the early part of November while getting supplies at the feed store, we saw that they had some Americauna chicks, got two, and set up the brooder again. One of them ended up with a birth defect, a crossing beak, and did not make it. The other, Sunny, was now alone and so needed lots of human contact. She is almost full grown and will jump into your arms when you come to see her, nuzzle in and wait for some good neck scratching.
About three weeks ago, when it seemed that she was big enough to hold her own amongst the flock we tried the sneak-in-to-the-roost-in-the-middle-of-the-night method. At day break we heard lots of squawking. She was under attack. We tried letting them free range together to get acquainted -- to no avail. We set her up with a partition in the coop so that they could live side by side, but she is safe from attack. After about two weeks of living under one roof we tried the clandestine intro again. When the sun was up for about an hour we went to check on her. She had not left the roost to eat or drink like the others. We found her shaking in the roost with blood on her neck.
Now after about a dozen supervised introductions we are beginning to lose hope of her ever being accepted. Maybe we are just weak hearted and have to sit back and let nature take its course and LET the girls establish their new pecking order with a seventh bird. But they are just brutal and relentless and I cannot bear to see her abused. We have read that they can kill, so we cannot leave them alone together to just hash things out. Does anyone have any advice?
 

dianaross77

Songster
9 Years
Oct 10, 2010
1,795
5
141
Grand Blanc, MI
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and
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from Michigan.
 

Wild Trapper

Songster
9 Years
Jan 1, 2011
1,901
5
161
Ohio
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from Ohio
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If you have observed them much, can you single out the hens doing the most pecking? If so, you might try isolating those. I can almost predict that. the RIR is one of the ring leaders and the reason I will not have them in my flock, as good of layers as they are. Any of the (RED) feathered hens seem to be prone to relentless pecking, but RIRs seem to me to be one of the worst.
 

tinychicky

Songster
9 Years
Mar 24, 2010
2,623
54
181
Hollis, New Hampshire
welcome to byc, harriet's human! i've had plenty of problems with hens that are raised alone, too. try letting them all out to free-range and give them some sort of treat they can't resist like bread or cream cheese (my chickens love it
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) if they start to fight, let them fight it out. unless they start seriously hurting each other, just let them be. if it still doesn't work, inroduce them to sunny one at a time. like before, let them fight it out unless they start seriously hurting each other. if you don't get her in now, you never will
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good luck!
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babymakes6

Gifted
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
5,832
34
278
far west Ohio
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Sorry to hear about your troubles.
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Another thing you could try-keep Sunny in her partition and put one of the other hens with her for a few days-I would try the Silkie first. Let them get comfortable with her and then try adding a third bird. I would try adding a new bird every few days and save the most aggressive one till last-give that one several days alone and maybe it will be happy for some companionship. Good luck!
 

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