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My chicken needs to be rehabilitated. How?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ldespain1, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. ldespain1

    ldespain1 New Egg

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    My chicken has spent the last two weeks away from the flock due to a severe injury. She is now healed, but every time I put her in the coop, she gets picked on and hurt by my 6 others. Is there a better way to reintroduce her without any further injury?
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    Re-integration can be a tricky time -- there are several different ways to go about it (many threads and articles on it that can be searched here on BYC), the right way for you and your birds will depend on the sort of coop/run you have as some methods require more space than others.
    How many birds are in your flock? Do you have room to section off some part of the coop and/or run where the "new"(to them) bird can be housed so that the flock can see but not get at her - is there room to place a wire crate, etc? Do you have a fairly friendly bird in the flock that you can bring in and house with the healed bird for a week or so to allow them to become bonded so that you are introducing not just one bird? When only one bird is introduced the entire flock has just one focus for their "you're an intruder, GET OUT" efforts, and this can lead to the newly introduced bird being reduced to a bloody mess in short order. Do you maintain your birds confined 24/7 or do you have the ability to free-range them? If confined, how much space do they have? If confinement is necessary it can help to re-arrange things so that the "new" bird has ways to get away from/hide from the flock and so that the flock is just as interested in their "new" surroundings as they are in the new bird.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I adopted a rescued hen last year at this time, and am currently integrating another rescued hen. I wrote an article about how I integrate them for BYC. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock

    It takes approximately three weeks to fully integrate a new hen using my method. I start off keeping her in a safe pen adjacent to the flock in the run during the day. At night she roosts with the flock, usually on a perch with chickens who are accepting of her early on. Usually there's not much fuss at night since chickens are intent on settling in for a night's sleep and aren't much interested in bullying.

    After the first few days, I then let the new hen out so she can "run the gauntlet". It's stressful, and the first time will be very brief, then I place her back in her safe pen. Each day, she will last longer out in the general population. You'll know when she's had enough. By the second week, she will be able to tolerate several hours at a time with the flock.

    This method builds self confidence while keeping stress at a minimum. My current new hen is doing very well and is much more relaxed around the flock than when she first arrived. It actually takes longer for the new hen, or the re-integrating hen in your case, to grow self confidence than it does for the flock to accept her.

    Your girl will be remembered by the flock and it won't take her nearly as long to re-integrate. There is always the reshuffling of the pecking order when a hen comes back after an absence. Ease her back gradually as I described, and you'll have a happy and relaxed flock again in no time.
     
  4. eleaserek

    eleaserek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently reintegrated one of my girls. Similarly to both who've already posted, I started by putting her outside, but on the outside of the run. My yard is fenced, so she was still contained, but the other hens couldn't get to her. I did that for several days, bringing her in at night to the crate she'd been staying while not well. Then, I brought out the lowest hen in the pecking order, who was also a buddy before I had to separate. I watched them closely, but my bottom girl is not a fighter, and they were good to go very quickly. So, several more days of just the two of them outside the run. Finally I let everyone out together while I supervised. There was a little chasing and pecking, but nothing severe. They were pretty used to seeing her again at this point, and she had rebonded with the bottom of the pecking order girl, so they were happy to chill together. It's been a couple weeks back in with the flock and other than her losing a couple ranks in the pecking order, everything's gone smoothly. All total, it took probably 2 weeks or so before I let everyone out together.
    Good luck!
     

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