Pecking order making it hard to give abandoned chicken new life...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickneggs, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. chickneggs

    chickneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm having problems with the pecking order... Or maybe just not understanding all that should be going on. I had five chickens and just recently introduced a new one to the flock. (She was actually from a neglect case, abandoned. Her other two flocks mates froze to death and animal control was able to rescue her.) I volunteer for them and being they work with cats and dogs, I said I would be happy to keep the chicken. I introduced her to the flock last night. (Like I've read should be done.) But this morning when I went out, they are brutalizing her. Even Rufus who's at the bottom of the pecking order! (Okay, understandable. Bet she would like to be higher up.) But what should I be watching out for? What signs should tell me enough is enough? And how long should this go on for until the coop is settled? It looks like Queenie, the top chicken pecked her comb a bit and a little blood is showing. I can put the new one back in the crate in my garage, but how long should I keep her in there? This chicken (named her Grace) :) deserves a new, loving life and I'm not giving up until I give it to her. <3
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can take your nicest, most docile chicken and put her in the cage with the new one *after the wound is healed* but make sure they have enough room. See how that goes. They should become friends and it may take a few weeks (I would give them at least 2 weeks together). Then when you reintroduce them there will be not just one "new" chicken.

    Quarantine is a month in general and even then there are diseases that can pass quarantine so be sure to be on the lookout for esp. respiratory disease in the chicken you place with her, if you decide to do that.

    Do dust for mites/lice and consider treating for worms as well (and repeating all those treatments to break the life cycle) in your new chicken. Experience speaking here!

    I spray Blue Kote on wounds and also I use Rooster Booster pick no more lotion near the wound (not on it) to deter picking when they have to go back into the fray.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  3. chickneggs

    chickneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. I had someone look at her Monday before bringing her home. She said her health looked good besides her being extremely underweight and a little frostbite on her combs and feet. Nothing too bad to handle. But I'll probably separate her alone today/tonight and tomorrow I'll see if the animal control has a larger crate that I can switch out with this smaller one. Then after I will place one of my docile ones with her. (Grace is an Orpington and it seems like both my Orpingtons get along with her fine. It's the Ameraucanas and the Australorp that are the problems...) Thank you so very much for the reply!!!
     
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A 30-day quarantine is recommended away from the rest of the flock, but it sounds like you're past that point. I'd also heard about night-time integration, but later found out it doesn't work well for small flocks where it's tough to be inconspicuous!

    While it's difficult to integrate new members into an established flock, it even harder when it's only one bird. It would be much better if you had 2 to introduce, as you could introduce them as a pair and they would bond while in quarantine.

    I'd recommend putting her in a cage within the coop (or subdividing off a section of the coop) so the other flock members can see her, but not peck at her. Do this for at least a week or two before introducing her face-to-face with the other flock members. Hopefully this will give her wounds time to heal and give her some time to put on weight with minimal stress.

    Give her as much escape and hiding room as possible for the introduction and for the first couple of days (like a large, fenced run or fenced chicken yard). Keep a close eye on her for signs of wounds and/or bullying.

    Good luck. I hope it goes well. BTW - love the name Grace! It's a good reminder of God's mercy to us!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
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  5. chickneggs

    chickneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your thoughts on this too. I'm going to try to get a bigger crate and bring one of my other Orpingtons to keep her company in it. Both of them didn't seem as mean to her in the coop. And if them being together works out, I'll see where that takes me. I really don't want to put her in the coop again [while she's in the crate] because I'd hate to stress her out. But if all else fails, I can try that too last resort. Fingers crossed! Hoping either of these work! Oh and her name... :) My friend named her after I had shared her story! I had been thinking on the same terms: Hope, Mercy, and Grace was the winner! <3
     
  6. chickneggs

    chickneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, even my sweet Orpington wasn't treating her good. Went out to find Grace hiding in the corner of the crate. So I placed her back in the smaller crate tonight and placed it in the coop with the others. Hoping this will work. I'm not giving up on this chicken. :) Oh and she feels like she's added a little weight. Hoping soon she can be of normal weight and healthy.
     
  7. nab58

    nab58 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I added a single chicken to my flock and it took about six months before the others finally accepted her. After quarantine, I put her in the run separated by fencing. I would let her out when the others were free ranging but they would chase her into hiding whenever they noticed she was around. Once fall became winter I had to put her in with the others in the coop at night. I would place her on the roost after dark but she still got picked on. They pulled all her tail feathers out and pecked her comb. It's been 6 months and she finally travels around with the flock without getting chased away. They don't peck her comb but she still has no tail feathers. She started laying eggs and I'm hopeful her feathers grow back this spring.
    Good luck. I'd recommend keeping her seperate but within viewing distance for a while.
     
  8. chickneggs

    chickneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow. How big is your flock???
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Show two pictures; first of new bird and second of area all are kept.
     
  10. chickneggs

    chickneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't been able to get photos of her, but I turned to the last idea given and it's been working out good. :) Thank you for the ideas everyone. One last question though about egg laying... Grace isn't laying eggs. I wouldn't expect eggs from her either, given her weight and health are both on the lower end. But do you think she will lay eggs once she's back to health? I guess no one can probably answer that one, but it's worth asking. Whether she gives eggs or not though, she is safe with me. Time that she experiences a loving home. <3

    Oh here's a picture of the coop: [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015

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