New hen questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by melissas, Nov 6, 2011.

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  1. melissas

    melissas Hatching

    Dec 17, 2009
    I have 6 buff orphington hens that are all fat and healthy free rangers on our 7 acre farm (except at night they go into coop and closed up) When I first got them two years ago at 9 weeks (from a friend who raised the chicks) there were 10. My neighbor Terry took 4 and I kept the rest. Terry kept hers in her coop all the time.

    Last month 3 of Terry's hens died suddenly and she has no idea why. Over the course of a couple of days, they just died off, leaving one hen.

    She brought the hen to me yesterday so she wouldn't be lonesome. She has survived 2 weeks at Terry's past the demise of the others and she looks and seems perfectly healthy, friendly, sweet. Well...sorta sweet. She's sweet to me.

    I have her in a small fenced back yard area in the midst of the 7 acres, near the daily paths of her long lost sisters. I have taken her (holding her) out to visit the other girls twice since yesterday and as you can imagine there was some hoopla, just a little. This morning however, she (Bok Bok) and one of my girls got into it through the backyard fence. A couple of little bloody spots around the faces of the two, but no big deal. I separated them quickly and everybody went about their business.

    Last night, her first night with us, I put her in our large dog crate with a perching stick, hay, food and water, and a piece of tin across the top. I placed it right next to the coop. This morning I let my girls out first, and they pretty much ignored Bok Bok who was flapping around inside the crate wanting out. I let her out and she ate grass and hung out with one of the other hens, then decided she'd go over and kick some ass. I intervened within a couple of seconds and put her inside the fence, with apologies to Myrtle, who was all, "What the hec did I do to that crazy beeyatch to deserve that treatment?"

    Ok. There's the history. My question is, how long should I keep her separate from the other girls? Should I just keep doing what I'm doing for a month or so and then eventually let them figure it out? What about the disease issue? How will I know if she has some kind of cooties that killed the other three? Have I already exposed the others just with the little bit of interaction I described? God I hope not 'cause Mama LOVE her babies!

    Please advise!

  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    Hi Melissa,

    Unfortuately, by allowing them to interact as you are doing, you are breaking quarantine...In your position, I would absolutely NOT allow the new girl anywhere near my flock for 30 days. You have no idea what her flock mates died of, and since whatever it is is fatal, no intros should be made for the entirety of the quarantine period. You can work on flock introductions AFTER the quarantine period is up.

    It sounds like she is a dominant hen, which may be a good thing in introducing her to the new flock, but you will have to watch her carefully. Don't let them interact with eachother through the fence...I know it is tempting, but it may be for the safety of your flock's lives if the new girl has (or is carrying) something...I would also find out what the symptoms of the other girls were. chickens may get over a disease, but become life time carriers for it..and exposing her to healthy birds may cause the healthy ones to come down with whatever it was.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

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