Reintegrating An Injured Hen Back Into The Flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pkzman, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. pkzman

    pkzman Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2012
    Monroe, Washington
    We have a hen that was attacked by a bobcat (luckily I was close and the bobcat dropped her when I ran and yelled at it), and is recovering nicely, but she's been away from her other 5 flock mates (all raised from chicks together) for almost 2 weeks while in the "infirmary" - read house : ). I've read a lot of posts about integrating new hens, but not any on reintegration. Is it pretty much going to be the same, even though I'm not worried about disease, etc...? On the one nice day we had this week I took her down to a grassy area with her sisters and one did try to grab her - I was right there on the ready- and another was giving her the hairy eyeball. Don't know if I should just let them work out in an adult supervised free range session next week or try the night roost introduction method some have mentioned. Any thoughts? I want to wait until her wounds are totally healed so I don't have to worry as much about reopening a wound.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You're right about waiting til her wounds are healed, as they would likely peck at them. Yes, unfortunately, it will be much like introducing a bird from another flock. She'll be at the low end of the pecking order. The rule of thumb I've read here many times is, let them work it out as long as they don't draw blood.

    Some report success with placing the "new" bird on the roost just after dark. Another method many use is, offer treats at the same time, to distract the others. I imagine this works best if they have a large area such as your back yard, with places to hide, or get a good distance from the others. Another method is to put them all in a "neutral" place, somewhere that none of them are accustomed to, so their attention is on the new surroundings. You could also put the "new" bird in the run before letting the others out in the morning. Of course, there is also the method of having them live next to each other for a couple of weeks, where they can see and hear each other but there is a barrier such as chicken wire.

    Good luck!
  3. pkzman

    pkzman Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2012
    Monroe, Washington
    Thanks Judy!

    Based on the little bit of interaction they had today, I think this reintegration might be as stressful as her injury.[​IMG]
    Her wounds are healing nicely, but she lost a lot of feathers around her neck and I hope the others don't want to peck at her bare skin. We'll see how it goes next week. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Ashland Oregon

    Ashland Oregon Just Hatched

    Dec 25, 2016
    Ashland, Oregon
    I was late in closing down my pen and coop a week ago only to be jolted to hens swaking. I ran out and found a raccoon in the pen. One bird dead, one injured and one missing (that soon revealed herself wondering the backyard). I grabbed the closest weapon I could find (a croquet mallet of all things) and went after the raccoon. He seemed surprised. With flashlight in my mouth I waled on him; the mallet broke and I picked up a tree limb and continued my pursuit. He gradually worked his way to a hole in the roof (now fixed) and perched in the Doug Fir towering over the pen. Missed opportunity. The next night he got two of my neighbor's hens and then was trapped and given a ride out of town.
    Awwww but the carnage and feathers in the pen... it was all made worse by thinking back that I would just give them a few more minutes of twilight which morphed into hours followed by disaster. I think it was guilt that made me pick up the wounded hen to take to my bedside and nurse though the next few days.
    I force fed her and water boarded her and searched for answers among these readers. She lost an eye and much of the left side of her face and neck.
    I gave her antibiotics, both in her system and directly in her wounded eye. I isolated her and tried not to feel bad when she went to the farthest reaches of her ICU unit each time I approached. And better she got.
    Today she spent her first day in the yard--alone. She was attacked by the other hens (who all came as chicks on the same day to this paradise) when the evening treat of sunflower seeds were scattered.
    I put her back in her ICU unit feeling so bad for her then after dark, placed her along side the girls in the hen house.
    Fingers crossed that tomorrow will bring reintegration

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