Reintegrating injured dominant hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by popcornfeathers, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. popcornfeathers

    popcornfeathers Hatching

    Oct 8, 2013
    Hi there, first of all, this is my first post [​IMG]. I have 14 hens and one rooster. 5 of the hens are New Hampshires, 4 are Buff Rocks, 1 Delaware, and the other 4 are Barred Rocks. Our rooster is a Silver Laced Polish. We raised them as organic, free range chickens so there is always space outside or inside the barn stall where we keep them.

    About two months ago, my family and I went on vacation while one of our neighbors watched the chickens. They were about three months at the time. While we were away, one of the neighbors dogs-a wiener dog- got into our yard and started chasing our hens. (the rooster, being the scardy cat he is, hid in a bush). The dog went specifically for one of the Buff rocks, chasing her around the barn. The other chickens ran in all different directions, which is when our house sitter first noticed the chickens not where they are supposed to be. She then proceeded to call up the "chicken care taker" and rounded up 14 of the 15 chickens. By then the "chicken care taker" had arrived to help round up the shocked chickens. They then heard from the other yard the neighbors yelling to "Put the chicken down."
    The next part i am still confused on because of all the different accounts, but it seems as though the neighbors with the wiener dog also had a hound dog, and the one Delaware we had, Astrid, had ran into their yard to get away from the wiener dog. the hound dog must have seen her because i was told he grabbed her in his mouth. Afterward the neighbors thought Astrid might be dead or hurting and they wanted to kill her, thankfully the caretakers said no and thought she was fine. She was in major shock so they separated her from the flock, it seemed as though the dog only teared her feathers off. I was told over the phone that that part was bleeding so i told the house sitter to spray it with some blue spray.
    When I got home two nights later, i was gently holding her when i noticed her left wing was very limp and..lets say wet. The dog had bitten completely through the main bone on her left wing. She still was able to adjust it, but we could tell it needed to be amputated. After the surgery, the still-sprayed-blue-on-the-left-side-of-her-back chicken was but in a container in our garage. We were told that she could be reintroduced to the flock after her scab had fallen off. The blue spray unfortunately is extremely hard to remove and has become just a pain as there was no blood where i was told over the phone.

    Whew! long intro, now to the confusing part.. the scab as not fallen off as of two months,although it is out of sight, and there still is some blue on her back. We moved her to a small fenced in area right outside the barn stall where we keep the other chickens. They can see each other when we let the chickens out and can hear each other at night. We have tried reintroducing her to the flock one chicken at a time but none of them get along. Astrid seems afraid of the Barred Rocks, but when they are together, the Barred Rocks end up being attacked by Astrid. Our Buff Rocks are our most aggressive hens so i have not tried to associate them with her yet. The New Hampshires will attack Astrid if they are with her. I am introducing them to Astrid by putting them in her "pen" along with me standing inside just in case any attacks happen. The only chicken that Astrid seemed to get along with was the rooster, until he decided to try and mount her which hurts her and the scab she still has.
    She was a very dominant hen before the attack so we thought maybe it is because she can't get used to the fact of being lower on the pecking order.
    Also, if this makes any difference, our chickens have just started laying eggs, Astrid has not, i do not expect her too seeing as the trauma she went through will prolong egg production.

    I'm very confused, Help!
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Sounds like Astrid is one lucky girl to have survived and recovered so far. I would not try to integrate her back with the flock until she is totally healed, especially with the rooster. You might want to take a close look at that "scab" and see what is going on, that is a hard wound to recover from and it may still be scabbed over, but I would also be afraid that there is some exposed bone that has not been covered completely by skin. The Blu-Cote color is actually good to have on wounds or bare spots since it helps keep other chickens from pecking on them by covering the red.
    Here is a good Learning Center article on adding chickens to your flock. Which is really what you are doing at this point since Astrid has been away from the flock for so long.
    I personally like to keep them in a separate pen or area inside the same coop/run the others are in. I would try and put Astrid in something like a dog cage and keep her in the stall where the other chickens are. When you put them together I would do one at a time like you are, and try to do it in the run or a large area that is not home to either of them. It is going to take awhile to reintegrate her and they will need to reestablish their pecking order. Since they are also starting to lay now, they are probably going to be a little more unpredictable anyhow.
  3. popcornfeathers

    popcornfeathers Hatching

    Oct 8, 2013
    Thank You so much! I definatly will try that :)

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