Re-integration suggestions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pernicioussnit, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. pernicioussnit

    pernicioussnit New Egg

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    Apr 10, 2013
    VA
    I have 13 right now, and about 2 months ago I had a strange attack one morning in my backyard that left me short 1 red sex link and injured a BO. She had most of her tail feathers pulled out and a large gash across her back. I had just gotten a new large coop and transitioned my latest batch of newbies a few days prior. I think the chicken door had been mistakenly left open or not fully latched, and they were out unsupervised early in the morning.

    Anyway, after the carnage, I tended to the BO and put her in the recently vacated dog crate in my shed. The new bunch started running her down whenever they were all free, and I would have to stand near her to keep the brats from attacking her. After a couple weeks when she was good and scabbed over and new feathers appearing, she decided to roost in the new house one evening. The next morning seemed to be OK, so the next night I left her in again. The next day I hadn't let them out right away, and my son went out to the coop and found her all bloody again. They had picked her scabbed area clean and it was raw and open again, along with more missing feathers. She is still attacked, not pecked, *attacked* by the new crew (3 white rocks and 3 red sexlinks) when they are in close quarters. They are no longers racing the length of the yard to get her, but they are still removing beak-fuls of feathers and bloodying her comb.

    Now that the season is wrapping up and I want to take the crate down for the lawnmower to reside in the shed, she is mostly healed and needs to get back with the rest. The remaining crew, 2 of my original RSL, LH, BA, 2 BO, are all fine with her, and will chase off the new brats from her if they are enjoying a treat together. I have my old coop, a 3x5 lean-to, that is still up with the run attached (that's where they go during the day, "shed chicken" roams free in the yard), and the large house with no pen. I'm considering leaving the troublemakers in the lean-to, and putting everyone else in the big house for a couple weeks, hoping that will balance the order out, or will she always be considered the weak link? They don't get loads of daytime freerange, because some of them know exactly where to get out, and the foxes have gotten wise to this and I have lost some chickens within minutes of them leaving the yard, in the middle of the day. So, yes, the relationship has been improving in open space, but once she is in the pen or the house with them, it's royal rumble time.

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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would let her heal completely this time, then, in your situation, probably put her back while free ranging, perhaps giving a treat at the same time to distract them. Another method is to put her on the roost just after dark and hope they are accustomed to her preence by morning.
     
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2013
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    I think what you're saying is you have 6 hens in the big house that like her, and 6 hens in the little house that don't like her.
    Put her in the big house, then 1 at a time at 1 week intervals start installing the new hens from the little house, starting with the least agressive one first. By saving the most agressive hen for last, hopefully it will be lowest on the new pecking order when finally installed in the big house.
     

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