NEED ADVICE! 2 rescue hens...*UPDATE PICS!*

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kittyf, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Kittyf

    Kittyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    A friend of a neighbor is moving and has 2 hens she cannot take with her.

    We have 4 hens, a lovely big coop, and a small, protected free-range chicken playground. Our hens are a French Copper Marans, a Barred Plymouth Rock, a Rhode Island Red - all three new layers - and a White Leghorn pullet nearly at point of lay. We dote on them and they are a handsome and friendly bunch (okay, the leghorn is skittish!) They are family pets who happen to lay eggs for us.

    We have agreed to take the rescue hens, but have discovered they have been poorly cared for. They do not get fed regularly, but have subsisted on scraps and bugs and have been pretty much ignored by their family. We don't know how old they are - estimates are at 2 years - but they are small and wild and lay only sporadically in the weeds. We don't know too much else about them.

    We plan to isolate them in our portable coop (a large dog crate with floor) and make sure they are healthy (no lice or worms) before trying to integrate them into the flock. When we determine they are healthy, we plan to put the portable coop into the playground during the day and keep it in the protected coop area at night. Then, after everyone gets acquainted for a week or so, we will let everyone play together in the day, but still sleep seperately. If all goes well, the new girls will then sleep in the large coop and be part of the flock.

    I have no experience at rescuing chickens, but these two look like they really need it., and we have room. Please help with any advice you can give. If we don't take them, they will be abandoned.

    Thank you,
    Kate
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  2. RaeRae2

    RaeRae2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What makes them a rescue? Simply having chickens given to you by your neighbor, who is moving isn't rescuing them. It's giving them a home. Are these chickens starved, diseased, abused, neglected, from a battery factory farm, used as bait for fighting dogs, etc.? I guess I'm a little confused as to what the question is.
     
  3. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would place them in a small but adequate enclosure near, preferably adjacent to, but separated from your present birds. If you place them right in with yours, they are likely to be disruptive with their different behaviors, especially wildness, and your birds are likely to start reacting along with them in ways you don't want, get wild and flightly too. In an adjacent pen, if they do get upset, their flapping around won't be among yours, getting them going too. Yours will soon leasrn to ignore them. The new birds should, the, given some time, learn from yours, a calmer behavior.Once they seem to have settled into reacting more calmly, learning from yours to not get upset, but to look forward to your coming around, let them join the flock.
     
  4. Kittyf

    Kittyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for your replies.

    RaeRae2 - they are rescues because they appear to have been starved and neglected and will be "turned loose" (abandoned in a suburban area) if we don't take them. The owner is a friend of our neighbor and lives across town from us - we don't know her. Our neighbor has seen the hens, but we have not, and our neighbor is very concerned for them. They may be diseased. They are not battery hens, however. We are looking for the best ways to care for them and integrate them into our small flock.

    JenellYB - thank you - that's good advice. There's room adjacent to the run where the newbies can stay in their cage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  5. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely keep them in their own little area until they've got a clean bill of health, at the least. I agree with JenellYB that you'd want them to be near enough to your current flock that they can get used to each other. That way, you're not completely putting them together, separating, putting together, separating, etc. and making them reestablish their pecking order each time they're together.

    Other than that, just keep an eye on their health and be patient. Make sure they have enough food and fresh water and are out of the weather - you know the drill. Two of my flock members came from neglectful homes, and when I got them they were skittish, losing feathers, underfed, and the one that was old enough to lay wasn't laying. After having had plenty of food, space, and care for a few months, they're both fat and happy and are laying eggs on a frequent basis. The one hen who was very jumpy around people is still shy, but I can actually stand within a few feet of her now and not have her fleeing. So these two newbies you'll be getting may calm down after a while. They'll probably be pretty flighty at first, but that's normal if they aren't used to human contact. I'm not saying you'll be able to pick them up and cuddle them, but they'll be okay around you.
     
  6. RaeRae2

    RaeRae2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I see!! Wow, that does sound terrible. It is wonderful you are willing and able to take them! Sorry, I misunderstood the situation. I agree with the quarantine. I would do a good dusting with a general louse/mite powder because birds in poor health typically have more parasites.
    Good luck with your new girls :)
     
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Good luck with your new girls! Its really wonderful of you to give them a good home and some TLC. As for your neighbors friend, she should be ashamed of herself....
     
  8. Kittyf

    Kittyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    We got them today - they have been starved.

    I will post pics when I can - I hope they survive the night after their eating binge. They are safe in their new coop and isolated from the flock. They are very pretty colors, but thin, terrified and famished. They do not know how to drink from a waterer or eat from a feeder. I put down a rich mix of laying mash, boss and dried mealworkms on their floor and they went crazy for it. They ignored the greens, though.

    We named them Flora and Dora and they are about a third of the size of our hens, but roughly the same age. One of them lays an egg every two weeks, so the previous owner says. I just want to fatten the poor things up. They are beautifully colored, with little pea combs. Their beaks are all toughened from digging, but their feet and legs look good.

    I am so glad we took them in. They are sleeping on their perch now.

    Kate
     
  9. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They'll probably be okay. Glad you got them safe and sound. I wouldn't be surprised if they start laying more once they gain some weight back, if they've been starving. Poor things.
     
  10. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Make sure they have oyster shell and/or other minerals, calcium and phosphorus especially, they need it to rebuild debilitated body tissues, now that they have food for thier bodies to utilize, don't want their bodies to be robbing it from their bones. Good luck with them!
     

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