Miss Stubborn Annie

The Angry Hen

Crossing the Road
Dec 17, 2016
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Hey everyone! Been a while. I haven't made a thread for a long time!

So... it's nothing new, but I'm in a predicament. Here at the Knickerbocker coop, winter is almost at full swing. We have 4 different coops with 4 different flocks. Albeit a tiny bit excessive for certainty of having that many structures... we have multiple roosters at different ages and strengths, so, we've learned that they need separation.
Annie is the loner. Annie gets along with absolutely nobody. The older hens? Naw. Younger? Naw. Her age? Naw. Guinea fowl? Naw. She was originally a house-bird due to not having a Mother and being hatched in the winter. Now it's tricky as all heck to have her with a flock of her own! She's in an enclosure I'm eager to get the lonely hen out of.
We've tried everything- and she just won't get along with anybody. Even if they started out lonely. I've been keeping chickens for a long time now. Not new to this. But new to this scenario. We've always made things work.

Before it gets to the coldest peak here in Maine, I aim to move her in with a flock. Any tips?
*Note: she also fights with the roos of the coops. And, culling ain't an option.

Thank you in advance, and, kindly, for reading my nonsense in the first place!
 

The Angry Hen

Crossing the Road
Dec 17, 2016
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What happens when you try to introduce her? What does she do? She might need some time to learn the pecking order and how to behave.

I've slowly brought her inside of the coop and held her on my lap. She'd look around, getting slightly accustomed to each coop. Then I'd bring her to the ground while still holding her body. Other hens would prance over in attack mode. I've tried it multiple times, and, I've released her in the coops also at times. She'll eat, drink, then she'll dodge toward somebody else when I think she's alright.
I understand that she'd have to develop her own pecking order as they all so. I just worry that some of my hens don't stand up to themselves- and, that, Annie could do more damage than anticipated. I've never had a hen fight a rooster quite like her.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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It's going to take time, effort, and creativity.
Small spaces are not going to help, as the more space the better during integration.
Since you've had birds for a long time, you may know all this stuff already..but...

This might help:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/

As might this.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
 

The Angry Hen

Crossing the Road
Dec 17, 2016
3,736
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892
Maine
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It's going to take time, effort, and creativity.
Small spaces are not going to help, as the more space the better during integration.
Since you've had birds for a long time, you may know all this stuff already..but...

This might help:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/

As might this.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

Thank you very much, Aart, for the helfpul info and link. So far, each coop I've tried her in had plenty high (and) low perches along with brooding boxes for the winter built inside of them. I figured that'd be enough safety for a hen looking to stay safe. There is shelving in a majority of the coop for roosting/scratching, and, I've seen those options as being helfpul to new hens. Now... I'm afraid that Annie isn't the perching type due to her heavier build and hyper disposition. I've tired little enclosures and structures on the ground that she can use, in which, she, fortunately, won't be cornered so that's not neccessarily a problem. Each coop has anywhere from 1-3 waters. The feed is normally placed in three different areas in the coops, occasionally, on top of the brooding boxes for extra heat/and timid hens to easily eat.

With the dominance situation- I've tried adding more feeding stations to reduce that stress. Normally I'd assume the original flock of the coop to attack the newcomer, but this time, Annie will take dominance in a coop never maintained as her own.
If anything, I worry about the hens already in the coop. Annie's a good hen but she's rough as anything. I haven't seen any blood drawn, luckily, but the rooster she fights is a big guy.

I may just try the pallet idea. I think I can scavege one and consider setting up a perching/hideout creation from it.

Not too long ago I moved around a majority of the birds. Things settled... high ranks had their room, lower ranks had theirs. The pecking order was safely established. Now, a month later, Annie's the only hen not giving into having her flock. I've even tried putting her with a Guinea hen that used to have been a loner, and a hen that lives with the guinea hen. Annie doesn't even work with the odds of the flocks.
I'll certainly give another shot and use your advice- also, I'm planning to read up on that article you shared. Thanks again for commenting.
 

rosemarythyme

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It's also entirely possible that she just doesn't want bird companions. Even with flock or herd animals you do see the occasional odd man out that doesn't seem to want friends. Sometimes it's enough for them to just see others, but not interact with them past that.

If she really can't get along with any other birds, are you able to give her her own mini setup?
 

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