Reintegrating quarantined hen to flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Clark Griswold, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. Clark Griswold

    Clark Griswold Hatching

    Jan 20, 2017
    Clark Griswold
    I'm new here :)

    We have had our hens for about 9 months- 4 Isa Browns (we have a small city yard). We got them in April and 3 have been laying since September.

    The fourth came to us with a bad case of pasty butt as a chick, and although we tended to the problem as soon as possible, she has never laid as far as we know. We're ok with that.

    Early morning Jan. 1st, I woke up to find the nesting box bloody. I went to the run to find Miss Pasty Butt with a bad prolapse, and the others pecking at her protruding vent. We quarantined her for about two weeks and treated her with baths, calcium and hemorrhoid cream. Once she was better, we moved her back to the run, but kept her segregated in a dog kennel in the corner with her own food. Her vent is back to normal. Still no eggs from her.

    This week, I've tried to reintroduce her to the flock, with moderate success. She's definitely at the bottom of the pecking order, but I don't think that's anything new. They seem to be letting her eat. There has been some pecking, but not any feather pulling or anything especially vicious, at least not that I've witnessed from observing them in bursts throughout the day. But she seems rejected and fearful, and keeps running to me for protection from the rest of them, or climbing up the roost and looking for a way out. Today I took pity on her and let her back into the doggy pen. She seemed relieved. Tonight after dark, I went out to shut the coop and found her alone just outside the entrance, on the roost, back to the door. It looks as if she went in and got kicked back out. She is alone again tonight as I research and decide what to do next.

    Will they accept her? Am I babying her too much? She is our tamest hen now due to all the handling; maybe she's become a little dependent. This is our first flock, so I don't know what's normal or how much aggression I should subject her to. Some will toughen her up, but my instinct is to defend her when they corner her. I also don't know if her non-laying is grounds for shame or shunning. I've become rather attached to her (what with all the butt play we've shared :p) and am totally fine with having one non-laying chicken. But I have no other place to keep her, and would hate to have to get rid of her due to social rejection.

    Also, if she doesn't lay, why would the blood be in the box? Could she be occupying the nest, trying and straining herself, unaware of her disability? Or sitting on the others' eggs? She isn't bound- that was a concern when she had the prolapse and I thought she was starting her laying career late- but it never happened. I truly believe she is congenitally damaged and never will.

    How long should I wait and how much bullying should I let her submit to before it's a lost cause?

  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC. Well, I think you have pretty much summed up her problem. She has gotten used to your handling and has become the lowest in the pecking order. As long as she isn't hurt, I would leave her in the coop with the others to work it out. Perhaps, put her in the coop on a roost after dusk, so that she wakes up with the gang. I have had some low pecking order chickens who also act like scared chickens. It makes you feel bad, but they need to work it out and try to get along. I like to give some chopped egg to mine while holding them, just to make sure they are getting plenty to eat. Dog crates inside the coop are a good way to separate them without taking them out of the coop. You could also place her back in the crate for a few days if you think she needs it, but it could prolong the process of reintegration.
  3. didirt

    didirt Hatching

    Feb 26, 2017
    I'm dealing with the same issue and I've read a ton of articles with a lot of advice. Gertie been inside for 2 weeks (on antibiotics) and decided it was time. Just yesterday I put her in a large dog crate inside the coop. Today I let her out and put who I thought would be the bully inside the crate to see how the other 10 would react. Half of them didn't seem to care, but 2 RIR were the aggressors. Nothing happened (I stood guard) and let the 'bully' out of the pen - funny enough she didn't seem to mind her. I too hate the pecking and am probably babying her, but I am going to take it slow. 2-3 x a day gradually let her out. I'm hoping patience with the process wins, but I have a feeling I will have to have the boyfriend handle it and probably let some of the natural pecking order happen (I just don't want to witness it). So, I feel your pain. I notice your post was from a few weeks ago... I am wondering on how it progressed.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by