Putting one of my hens back in the flock; any precautions to take?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Blackberry18, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my hens was being badly picked on by the others, and I separated her when she started to bleed pretty bad. She's been away for two days and three nights. Will the others remember her? Should I should I separate her when she's back in the coop? I'm thinking about putting her in at night. Any thoughts/experiences?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I think your idea of slipping her back into the flock at night is a very good one.

    In just a few days, the others won't have forgotten her, but there may be one or two who will see the need to remind her of her rank in the pecking order. Usually it will be a chicken who ranked below the one you're returning to the flock, and it's normal for those hens to challenge her.

    The worst that usually happens is a brief scuffle that last a few seconds, then it's back to business as usual. Try not to intervene unless she's getting totally thrashed.
     
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  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I would put some Blu Kote on her wounds before putting her back in. Personally, I'd put her back in when I could keep an eye on things, and if she's viciously attacked again, try separating the bully (or bullies) for a while. I've read that it can help to reset the pecking order. (I've not had to try it myself). If your bullies continue to be bullies, you may want to think about removing them from the flock. The thing about putting them in at night is, they aren't so stupid that they won't notice her in the morning.
     
  4. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Her wound is nearly healed up, but her neck feathers are pink from blood. I've been trying to clean them up, but it's not coming out well. Will that be a problem? I only have six hens including her (the rest were wiped out by tapeworm this fall) and I'm not sure which one(s) are picking on her, so it'd be hard to separate her. So, should I just put her back in with no cage or anything, and let them sort it out while watching to make sure nothing happens?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The blood stained feathers will clean up after a few dirt baths, no problem. A mild staining won't attract the others.

    Yes, stand by when you place her back with the flock. As I said, you can expect the chickens from the bottom of the pecking order to challenge her, since the order has shuffled since her absence.

    One or more of those low ranking hens will probably walk up to her, they will stand motionless for a few seconds, and if it's silently agreed that the returning hen is agreeable to the new pecking order, nothing further will happen.

    If, on the other hand, the returning hen doesn't agree to a lesser rank, then the two will flare neck feathers, spread wings, and hop about for another few seconds until one backs down, possible with a slightly bloody comb. This is normal.

    If the altercation continues longer than about 30 seconds, you may need to separate the two, but keep everyone within sight of the flock. The combatants may continue to disagree through the barrier fence between them. Leave them alone for a while. Then a few hours later, release the captive and start over.
     
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  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    This ^
     
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  7. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @bobbi-j and @azygous thanks so much for your help! I put her back in the flock today, and they barely even realized she was there. They all just started pecking around like normal, and she joined them, no scuffle at all. I trust things will be all right, but will keep an eye on her for the next couple of days. Thanks again!
     
  8. NewChick521

    NewChick521 New Egg

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    I came here to ask a similar question... I would like to restore order.

    So I started with 6 hens. We had a visiting dog who scared 3 to death. With 3 left, we added 5 more hens. One of the original hens was hurt in trying to get away. I had to separate her from everyone else because they were going after her... Made her comb bleed. It's been a couple weeks because she was hurt really bad(toes were curled under and she's still limping) and for the past 2 days, I have been putting her in the run with the others. Today I removed the biggest bully (a leghorn). The hurt hen stayed in a corner all day and the others didn't even seem to notice her. They all go in the coop at night... Even she hopped over, but wouldn't go all the way in... She went to the door and stopped. I tried to put her all the way and my Orpington went at her. It wasn't anything crazy, but this hen is so beaten down and submissive to everyone that I didn't want to push the issue and now I'm so at a loss of what to do.

    Thanks!
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]

    I would leave her with them as long as they aren't beating her up badly and no blood is being drawn. Sounds like she's not entirely healed up, though, so you will want to keep an eye on things to make sure they don't corner her, or pin her down and attack viciously. The more you take her out of the flock, the longer integration will take.
     
  10. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with @bobbi-j . Just so you know, after I put my hen back with the others, they barely even realized she was there and everything was totally normal. I'm guessing they beat up on her because they were stuck inside for a week and half because of the weather. It's warmer now, so they can go outside.
     

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