Need advice!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sushifish, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Its been a rough few days at our house.
    3 weeks ago I added 2 pullets (a Houdan and a OEG mutt) to our flock, and was introducing them (slowly) to our flock of 3 LF and a Serama. There was some pecking, naturally, but they all seemed to be getting along pretty well, I'd been letting them free range together. Then a few days ago (after one night in the coop together) our Houdan (Mabel) got a fairly large wound on the back of her head, I presume from our RIR. Thankfully my husband is a veterinarian and the wound is healing nicely. It was really upsetting to see that one of our chickens had wounded another of our chickens. I hate to think they aren't all happy to hang out together!
    Worst yet, however, is that today our OEG bantam (Penny) is missing. Gone. No trace of her anywhere. No feathers anywhere. I'm so sad! It breaks my heart, she was such a sweet little thing and although we'd only had her a short time, I was really attached. I made flyers with her picture on it just in case someone carried her away but didn't kill her. Unlikely, I know, but I feel better having gotten the word out.
    Now I'm unsure what to do with Mabel. If she was hurt by one of the others while Penny was in the coop with her I'm terrified what might happen if she's in there with the flock without her buddy.
    Since she'd been hurt I've been cooping Penny and her up in the garage with heat support in a big dog crate. I figured I'd keep them in there until her neck was completely healed and then start integrating them at night. Her neck looks good, it'll probably be all healed in a few days.
    I need advice --
    Should I keep her separated at night so as to keep her safe for a while longer or put her in with the other girls so she's not lonely?
    Since she's new to the flock, should I get another or two pullets to keep them all separated for a few weeks and reintroduce them all together?
    When they are free ranging during the day I don't see any violence in the pecking order, can I assume with now it's been established (with the big wound)?
    Thanks for any and all advice.
     
  2. If it were me, I would keep her in the crate at night, you're not sure exactly what happened and who did it (reference to the wound) so you can't tell if it'll happen again. Were there any other chickens that Mabel got along with/ You could let her out with that chicken for an hour or two (closely monitored) so that she doesn't get too lonely.The peking order might have been established, you may want to check it out a bit longer to make sure... Hope it works out for you and Mabel! And I hope Penny turns up.

    Michelle
     
  3. Thank you! I'm so sad to lose a chicken, it's the first time it's happened to us (we're new to chicken happiness!) ... I had a thought tonight to get another chicken from the woman that we got the Houdan - maybe she'd like having a chicken from her old home? Do you think they'd remember? Am I humanizing my chickens? :) I worry so much about Mabel being lonely and maybe a chicken from her old home would be her buddy?
    PS - Phillipines! I've visited there a few times as a child - I was born and lived in Hong Kong until I was 9 (a long time ago!)
     
  4. newfoundland

    newfoundland Chillin' With My Peeps

    976
    72
    151
    Jul 1, 2010
    I would keep your chicken separate for now. You could get another and keep them both separate at night but allow them to roam with the others during the day. You sometimes have to do the odd bit of separating when you keep chickens so don't worry about it. It may be that your missing chicken was taken by predators. I have lost ducks and chickens to foxes without any trace of a scuffle or feathers. I'm afraid it goes with the territory. That doesn't make it any easier and I am sorry for your loss.
     
  5. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

    2,978
    252
    276
    Jun 16, 2012
    Tending to my chickens
    I am sorry to hear of Penny becoming missing. With Mabel, I would consider getting another hen to put in with Mabel and then introduce the two, that way the older hens don't see Mabel as alone and decide to pick on her. For the mean time, keep Mabel isolated until she heals.
     
  6. Thank you thank you thank you for all the advice.
     
  7. Sorry for your loss too!
     
  8. An update!
    Mabel's neck is healed. It looks great and I hope the feathers will grow back at some point :)
    I ended up keeping her in the kennel alone for 2 nights and then brought our Serama (Phyllis) in to the kennel to hang out at night so Mabel didn't get too lonely.
    Phyllis is kind of a loner compared to our 3 LF and I've never seen her peck at or act threatening to any of the others. I know I'm not out there 24/7 but it seems from her mannerisms that she was on the bottom of the order before I introduced Penny and Mabel. (I'm still so sad about losing Penny! ARG!) so I thought she'd be best to house with Mabel while she was healing.
    And now I have seen Phyllis and Mabel *sort of* free ranging together and they seem to be happily spending the nights in the kennel together.
    However....
    Now I'm not sure how to best go about reintroducing Mabel to the coop.
    Each night she waits (nervously) by the back door (the kennel is in our screened-in mud room) while the others go coop themselves up. I've been going out to the coop each evening (as I normally do to say goodnight and close up the main door for the night) and getting Phyllis and bringing her back to the mud room kennel for the night.
    Mabel obviously thinks she doesn't go in the coop.
    How best to reintroduce her that that is her nighttime home?
    I'm really hoping they are done with the violent establishment of the pecking order.
    Any advice is welcome, and thank you in advance!
     
  9. Another update (in case anyone out there is wondering)
    During the day I spent some quality time with Mabel in the coop a few times a day for a few days in a row. Positive reinforcement. At night she kept going in to the kennel so I carried Mabel out to the coop after the others had gone in and got settled for 2 nights in a rown and tonight she was in there with everyone like no big deal :) YAY! I hope she will keep it up. I think the drama might be settled down. Hope so!
     
  10. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    glad to hear things are going good
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by