New hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by iheartMT, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 4, 2013
    Montana
    I am acquiring a new hen today. She is the only hen of her old flock that survived a dog attack, so we've agreed to adopt her. We currently have 6 happy, healthy hens that are approximately 8 months old. I plan on introducing her slowly. We have a section of the run fenced off for her to have her own space, but be next to the other chickens.

    We are in the beginning of a real cold snap, highs in the single digits and lows below zero with some wind. I plan on keeping a crate or box covered with a blanket and filled with straw in her small run during the day. I will check on her to make sure she has access to fresh water. At night we plan on keeping her in the garage with a heat lamp if necessary.

    Apparently new chicken is recovering from a puncture wound. The wound is healing, not weeping or open any longer, but she has liquid stools. I’m told she is eating and drinking normally and has even laid an egg or two since the attack.

    My concerns are about keeping her warm enough since she’s been housed indoors for the last week or so since the attack. I’m also concerned about her health and introducing her to my flock. I plan on keeping her quarantined, but am not sure how long is necessary.

    Any thoughts or ideas from more seasoned chicken keepers?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Housing her in a section of the run is not quarantine; she would have to be a good distance away from your others, perhaps in the garage, for at least 4 weeks. Better is 6 weeks, then try one of yours in with her for a couple more weeks, before mixing them. The garage without a heat lamp should be warm enough. You don't want her to get acclimated to heat.
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    I'd keep her in the garage for four weeks and reevaluate the situation. Since you are living in Montana your winter weather is deadly. Once the hen is recovered (fully feathered) and ready to join your flock, can you fix a secure place in the coop to allow her to have 'protective contact' with your current flock?

    This worked well for me when I introduced a new rooster to my gals:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    This is a GoGo pen I purchased from Amazon and it has come in handy introducing new members to the flock. I added chicken wire (sides and top) to keep the hens from reaching through the bars and grabbing wattles and comb. Once the introductions are over, I fold and store the pen elsewhere.




    Some folks keep a well insulated dog carrier handy for flock members to use:
    [​IMG]
    This particular trio had never touched the ground before arriving at my place and were terrified of 'open space'. Having the carrier handy seemed to give them a safe place to be until they gained confidence to explore.

    You can also use a carrier to introduce your new girl by allowing her to visit while protected by the carrier.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  4. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 4, 2013
    Montana
    I think I'll try keeping her inside the garage until she is recovered (assuming I can talk the man of the garage into it).

    I don't have a large enough coop to section off, but will be able to section off the run. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

    Hopefully she isn't already acclimated to the heat; she's been housed inside since the attack a week an a half ago.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  5. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 4, 2013
    Montana
    I just wanted to provide an update on how the new hen integration is going. I’m pleased to report that our flock is back to (almost) normal. The new hen still gets chased around a bit from the two RIR, but she has made friends with a few other gals. She now roosts immediately in the evening with the flock, instead of milling around outside till dark when she could sneak in to roost. She is, and may always be, lowest in the pecking order and last to get special treats.

    I’m happy to say that she never got too bullied, but regret saying that we had some feather picking over Christmas resulting in a naked neck on one of my Easter-eggers. I determined it was a combination of stress from the new girl, boredom with the winter and a possible protein deficiency. I made a few adjustments, including a higher protein feed, a flock-block and a few new features in the run, and things seem to be improving.

    The only downfall is egg production is down since we’ve cut the supplemental light. We had a light set to come on early in the morning, but I didn’t want the new gal trapped in the coop for several hours before I was able to open the pop door. I think it might be good though to give the girls a break from laying regularly. I’m sure we’ll be back in full production in the spring.

    I have to say that introducing a single hen was stressful (and I likely won't try it again), but ended up working for us because she is a big bird and seems she was fairly dominant in her old flock. If the timing had worked out I think it would have worked better to give her a friend and integrate her as a pair. She is a white Brahma and our only other white bird (an Easter-egger) seems especially fond of her. However, with the cold snap we had in early December and being gone for almost a week at Christmas, it just didn’t work that way. But the flock seems harmonious once again!

    Thanks for all your help!
     

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