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Re-integrating chick with hen and siblings

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Victoria-nola, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
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    I've had a sick chick, she will be recovered any day now. I need to re-integrate her with the hens and chicks. Need advice on how to do it. Should I take the chick out at night and slip her under the hen when they are nesting? Or take her out during the day so I can watch and intervene if needed? I was assuming the first, but my husb thinks the latter. I would appreciate thoughts, and if there is another way I haven't thought of please let me know.

    I know the chick is eager to return to her family. She's been indoors 5 days, and is now 4 weeks, 2 days old.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Be very careful, since she could be injured by the chicks or broody hen. I would get a dog crate just in case, with food and water. Then try her outdoors with the others, and stay nearby to observe them. Hopefully they will accept her, but she may be pecked a bit. Just don't let them hurt her. This can get a bit complicated, she could be hurt by her broody or even one of the other grown chickens, so make sure her broody accepts her before leaving her alone with them.
     
  3. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so you're arguing for doing it during daylight hours and stay there to observe. When you say get a dog crate, how do you envision using that? Bringing it out and putting the little one in it and letting her venture out when she's ready?

    The broody and her chicks are still sleeping together in the separate crate set up within the coop where all the adults roost (the broody drills them every day on getting up on the roosts, it is amazing). The door to that crate now just stands open, but they still use the private space.

    The other chickens have been totally welcoming to the little chicks, so it didn't occur to me that they would now be inhospitable to the re-integrating one. I will definitely keep that in mind. And not leave the little one alone with the broody until I'm sure she's been accepted.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Yes, I would do it in the morning. The best scenario is that she will fit in with siblings and mom with little pecking. The dog crate would be for if it doesn't work out at first. There will be pecking, but I would try it in the morning, perhaps when they are going outside. Just be there until you are sure they are accepting her. If the broody doesn't protect her, she will be a target for the other chickens.
     
  5. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh I see, ok, use the crate if she needs more protection, which means I would be moving into a mode of introducing a solitary chicken. Ok, got that. I was advised on my original thread about the illness that she might be rejected and be a solitary introduction.

    I understand your suggestions and very much appreciate them. I'll update here, may still be a few days before I try.

    THANK YOU!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just to let folks know, I took the recovered chick out to the coop today. The timing was right because the hen had gathered the chicks and taken them back inside the coop (we free range). So I went back and brought out the chick, and sat down in the coop to watch (I use the deep litter system and the pine-shaving litter is dry and "clean" seeming). The chick drank water and started scratching around, a couple other chicks came over to investigate. The hen saw her, I think was a little confused at first but never gave the slightest inkling of hostility. No pecking from anyone at all!!

    I explained to the hen that this chick had been sick and I took her inside to heal up and she was ready to rejoin the group. When I finished my second telling of how this chick came to appear again, the hen started cackling like she'd just laid an egg, that lasted a couple of minutes. Then she got into the hay-filled manger and fluffed up. My little recovered chick was the last to join them, but when I left she was snuggled under her mom, along with the others, with a couple of the now-bigger, more fully feathered chicks lounging to the side. I'm so happy, and based on people's warnings, it would seem my broody hen is extra special for her immediate acceptance back into the fold.

    Thanks again for your kind assistance and support, it is much appreciated.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    That sounds like the perfect scenario. I'm glad she is back with them. Hopefully she will cling to the gang, and not wander off. That is the only risk, when they get away from the broody, and another hen attacks. Sometimes the broodies can turn on them, but I think that your chick may be just fine. Good luck, and I' m glad she is better.
     
  8. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just went out and checked on them again. It's a colder day than we've been having for a while, but for whatever reason, the broody is keeping the littles inside the coop all afternoon. I just peeked in through the pop door and could see my chick in there scratching and pecking, with my hen standing guard at the pop door all proud. So I definitely don't think she's going to turn on her, and we haven't had ANY incidents with older chickens pecking on the littles. I've seen where they'll peck in their "general direction" if a little gets too much in their face when I throw down scratch grains late in the day, but nothing that would even make the little ones squawk, and the littles are busy staying out of everyone's way. They've been ranging in the coop since 5 days old, and the broody brought them outdoors at 2 weeks, so I've had lots of time to observe them as a group. And if the broody even thinks someone *might* be a threat, she chases them severely. The guineas are very respectful.

    Did I mention the broody drills them on getting up on the roosts every day before leading them back into their crate for the night? Has since week 2. Cutest thing. When I incubated eggs last year, the chicks (of which this broody was one) huddled on the floor long after they were mature enough to roost, for lack of anyone showing them how. Now I know what to do if I ever have to incubate again.

    Thanks again. I'm SO SO glad she is better. Her energy totally perked up on getting out to the coop. Glad I didn't wait any longer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I love watching broodies and their chicks .I had one who abandoned her babies after 2 weeks, and they did very well on their own, since they had been part of the flock and already knew how to forage for food and water, although they slept in a low nest box until they wouldn't all fit anymore. One of my hens liked being a broody so well, she almost had grown chickens at 8 weeks under her wings on the roost at night. Good luck to you.
     
  10. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first time ever having a hen go broody. And she's very devoted, I can well imagine her with giant babies she's still sheltering. It's such a lovely thing to see, and I'm very glad we have room for more layers.

    Bit of a glitch-- I went out late in the afternoon to give scratch grain, per usual, and observed for a long time. The hen had had all 8 babies off at the edge of the woods for hours, and the recovering chick was the last to straggle in for grain, pecked a little, then went inside the coop and loudly cheep-cheeped for a long time by herself, while the others all went off to peck around some more before bedtime. Started to leave her but was just worried, went back. She came to my feet and and wanted to be picked up. She was dehydrated and exhausted. She pooped on me and there was a bit of mucus in it, tho solid. Anyway I worried and brought her inside for the night, it's going down to mid-30sF tonight and I felt like it was clear she still needed doses of the tincture. So, I'll take her out tomorrow and see how she does by end of day-- we'll take this convalescence a little slower. I'm positive the hen will welcome her back on a "day student" basis instead of "full boarder" for a while.
     

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