Outcast hen in flocks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jhmoore, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. jhmoore

    jhmoore Songster

    Sep 6, 2008
    Holly, Michigan
    I have 8 hens total. Long story short- I had a WCB polish hen that was picked on by all the others and had to be separated. While she healed, we built a separate coop fo her. Once she was well, she and the SL polish hen became roomies. For over a month they lived just the two of them, very harmoniously.

    My SL polish wandered and was hit by a car, and miraculously survived, with just a broken beak. She was healing in the infirmary in my basement, along with a BR hen who my rooster injured. Well, while the SL polish was getting stronger, the BR hen decided on one of her daily outings that she was going to live in the polish coop- she and the WCB polish hen have been living happily together for over a week now.

    The problem is- my SL polish is now feeling fine and ready to re-join civilization. But, the WCB polish will not have it- she attacks her! And badly! I've tried placing the SL in a dog crate next to the coop all during the day for 4 days straight, and tried to turn them together today- same aggressive result! I don't know what to do. I'm fairly certain that the 6 large hens will beat her up too. But, I cannot have a 3rd coop! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.
  2. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    it might sounds not very cool, but the simple solution is to sell her.
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Can you free-range them together during the day, and put her in a crate in the coop at night? Sounds like the WCB has just forgotten about the SLP and considers her an intruder (silly chickens!) I bet with time she will accept her back.
  4. ChickenPalace

    ChickenPalace In the Brooder

    Thinking that she is an intruder could be it. Not sure when you add her back in, but make sure you do it at night - because the others are blind. Also, I used a trick I read about - spray all the chickens with a light solution of vinegar and water.

    Since all the chickens will smell the same they may not notice the newbee. I tried this when introducing 9 new hens to my established 6 - it was hard, but eventually worked. I also had both coops right next to each other so they got use to each other that way first.

  5. jhmoore

    jhmoore Songster

    Sep 6, 2008
    Holly, Michigan
    Thanks for the advice. I did try to free range them together, but the WCB goes right for the SL. So, I have the SL in a large dog crate next to the coop for the majority of the day. I lock the WCB up in the coop/run for a few hours while the SL can free range. I guess I'll just try to be patient.

    Selling either is not an option- I have been through so much with these two hens in particular. They've been seriously hurt and made it back when even the vet didn't think they would. So, i will not give them up that easily.

    I'll think about adding the SL in when it's dark, maybe sprayed with vinegar and water. But, what happens if they notice her in the morning and try to hurt her before I can let them out? I know, I worry, but I just want them all to get along and stay healthy.

    Patience...I'll try my best [​IMG]
  6. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Quote:Keep her crated inside the coop -- they'll have time to get used to each others smell (which shouldn't take long if you spritz them all with the vinegar & water solution) and the WCB will get used the SL being inside the coop. You may need to keep the SL crated for a couple of weeks, but even then there will be a period of reorganizing the pecking order. The presence of the BR probably has changed the entire dynamic within that second coop. Who was dominant before the newcomer? Who's dominant now? If the WCB was on top before but is now 2nd, she'll be very intent to reestablish her dominance over the SL before things can settle down again.
  7. jhmoore

    jhmoore Songster

    Sep 6, 2008
    Holly, Michigan
    It may be difficult for me to keep a crate inside the actual coop- it's an ark coop. But, I'll continue to keep her next to the coop/run.

    Before all this began, my BR hen was the top of the pecking order. Now that she is "healed" and made herself at home with the polish hen, she could care less about being in charge. She is just happy to hang out. The WCB polish, before being moved to the little coop, was definitely the low man, pushed around by even the SL polish. When it was just the two polish, they seemed to co-exist with no issues. But, since the WCB polish has getten used to her new digs, she is like the Queen of the barnyard- she chases the goats, cats, everything. So, I think it may take some time.
  8. abluechipstock

    abluechipstock Songster

    Jan 13, 2009
    fort ashby, wv
    what i would do is trim the feathers on thelr heads so they can see the others coming and get away, i would place them together at night so they are together in the morning when the sun comes up and see what happens, there's always going to be some nastiness among chickens, unfortunately that's how they are, you just have to grin and bare it while they work it out, but if the blood starts to fly separate, maybe this will work
  9. Scientists speculate it takes approx. 2 weeks for a chicken to forget another chicken, which is why this problem usually occurs in broody hens sperated from their flock.

    I'm happy to hear that your Polish has made a recovey. Sadly, this can happen amongst any breed of chicken. It may sound cruel, but you could consider taking the WCB away and keeping her inside for a few days and let the SL bunk in with the other chicken, get to re-discover her surroundings, heal, etc...Let the WCB struggle to find HER palce when she returns. You may notice that positions will switch, but then again, your SL is probably a bit timid from her proir accident.

    My Polish has a problem with any rooster coming her way and they have been in the same flock for almost two years. She'll viciously attack no matter how the opponent squeals. The breed reminds me somewhat of an angry miniature poodle.

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