Recovering hen being SERIOUSLY rejected by her flock of 4

pigcoon

Songster
12 Years
Apr 22, 2009
256
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236
Vermont
I have had sick hen for a couple of weeks now. The thread about it is here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=610560&p=1

Basic rundown: my 2 1/2 hr old golden comets stopped laying about a month ago. This one hen has had diarrhea for a while, but then became very very ill. Trip to vet diagnosed upper respiratory illness caused by stress of some kind. Antibiotics and TLC indoors in a dog crate has produced enough improvement that I thought I could reintegrate her today.

I brought her out to the coop with one of her 'sisters.' She immediately cowered and went up on the shelf. Whenever she came down they attacked her, pulling her feathers behind her comb and behaving in a very threatening manner. She is pretty strong but not asserting herself back. She is smaller than them mostly because she lost a lot of weight with the illness.

Now I am wondering if the 'stress' that caused her illness was rejection by them earlier for some unknown reason (the diarrhea?) She was skinny even when she first became ill which suggests she wasn't getting enough to eat.

What on earth do I do to encourage them to accept her back, if this is even possible? If they won't accept her back, what do I do with her? (after investing $140 in her recovery)
 

pigcoon

Songster
12 Years
Apr 22, 2009
256
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Vermont
That was kind of my thinking when I brought the dominant hen in and let them hang out for a couple of hours and then brought them both out together. The dominant hen is moulting and looks like crap so I thought bringing them out to the coop together would work. It did not.

Just read through some of the stickies on quarantine and introduction. What do folks think of me putting the recovering chicken and her crate inside the coop/run so they can get used to her without touching? Has this worked for anyone? She needs food/water security as she recovers or I'm sure her URI will get the better of her again.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
682
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Quote:
A couple of hours isn't long enough for the removed hen to be lowered in the pecking order. You need IMO at least one week.

But you will do what is needed I am sure. It is tough to give ideas on internet, lol, sometimes when we can't see the situation from here.
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pigcoon

Songster
12 Years
Apr 22, 2009
256
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Vermont
I hear you about the internet! It's amazing how much help we do all get/give with the drawbacks of not 'seeing!'

I may have to rig up my old smaller coop and perhaps have it adjoin the current one somehow. Darn, I wish they weren't so particular about this pecking order stuff! I did sing to them for quite a while, which had them all mesmerized and getting along for about 5 minutes, but I can't stay out there and sing!!
 

hickchick55

Songster
8 Years
Feb 27, 2011
210
1
101
beautiful benzie co. michigan
I had the same problem when one of my hens broke a leg. She wasn't really 100% better when I tried to get them to all free range together and i couldn't believe how mean the other hens were to her considering they were all raised together. I let her recover a few more days and she was able to free range with the others, but they still wouldn't let her in the coop. We went like that a few days, and one evening she was determined to get back in and I was very ready to get her out of my basement. We waited until everyone was roosting except a low ranking hen. I put the injured hen on the roost at the very end, and put the other hen next to her and it worked! Now you would never even know she broke the leg and all is happy in the coop again. What a relief. I would try the cage in the coop idea. Good luck.
 

pigcoon

Songster
12 Years
Apr 22, 2009
256
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Vermont
Thank you hickchick. It gets rather stinky having them in the basement doesn't it?? We also have an indoor/outdoor bunny down there and the litter boxes, so it's tough keeping up! I will try these ideas tomorrow!
 

chkinut

Songster
9 Years
Feb 25, 2010
1,432
15
161
Leesburg, Ohio
chickens are persnickety little creatures arnt they? i have a speckled sussex named Saxon (after hubby's great aunt). i just love her, she lets me pick her up but won't cuddle on my lap. she's a big girl too! as big as my jersey giant! but both of them are only just under a year old...so i know my giant has more growing to do. anyway, she's a mean girl to my youngest hens (who are just over 6 months old). she wont run after them to peck them.... but if they get too close...it's KABAM!! right on the head..poor lil girls. but i still love her
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her name SHOULD be Persnickity that's for sure. good luck with your hen. i like the idea of you using your old little coop and run. are you gonna put another girl in there with her? i would try it.....at least after a couple days of her being in there on her own, then add another hen. just play it by ear. poor lil hen though.
 
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pigcoon

Songster
12 Years
Apr 22, 2009
256
52
236
Vermont
I might try putting her with another one so they can chat a bit. I seem to be figuring this out hour by hour. Luckily I have off tomorrow and give it some more attention before everyone starts back to work and school.
 

nakstk

Songster
8 Years
Sep 19, 2011
801
33
128
Kalama, Washington
I am going through something very similar. I too have 5 girls, I have a pullet thats been having sour crop issues and has been in the garage for the last 11 days. I had to clean out the dog crate she has been in so I let her roam around outside the run. It was so odd how the other 4 reacted. They all went to her and they talked back n forth for a few seconds. Then she was reaching in the run with her beak to get the mud off the others beaks. At that time the new alpha girl fluffed up her hackle and grabbed another girl by the feathers behind the comb and pulled her head down and held it until my sour crop girl wander off. Not sure what that was about. But I can tell after I get the crop issue fixed its going to be a very interesting re introduction.
 

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