Reintegration by supervised visits ?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sunflour, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    Wondering if anyone has had success with supervised visits to reintroduce a flock member rather than a physical barrier method?

    Have searched the question, but couldn't find many who have tried this. Wonder if one tried this and all seems ok, would the flock behave until the human is absent?
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally, kind of sorta, if they are getting along when you are watching them, they are when you are not. But that is not 100%. Hence, people come back and there is a mess, or a war going on.

    Space is crucial and so are hideouts. Introducing a single bird is very difficult, it is better to add in pairs or more. You can create a pair by pulling one of the flock and adding it to the new comer. They will fight and squabble too, but it is one on one, not a flock on one. Once they get over it, you can add the pair back to the flock. The flock will have forgotten its member so it is like adding two new birds. There will be squabbling, but it is spread out over two, and that helps.

    Again, it is best to have escapes, and space.

    Mrs K
     
  3. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    @Mrs. K

    Thanks for input.

    Chicken behavior fascinates me and always trying to learn more about it.

    In my small flock have only had minor conflicts unless the victim is ill, but it seems they interact the same way with or without the human presence. And the anticipation of treats can trigger conflicts.

    Out of many posts on the subject, only ever read one report of success with supervised re-integration of a previously established member of the flock.
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    We did that with Scout, sunflour. He was the little roo chick that suffered frostbite on his toes when he was just a couple of weeks old and had to be brought it for treatment. We had him in the house for about 3 weeks, but we took him out regularly for "supervised" visits with the flock and watched him carefully. The first time we had to bring him in, he was less than 24 hours old but he'd gotten out from under Mama Agatha and when I found him he looked totally dead. I brought him in, set up the brooder, and warmed him. Within a couple of hours we put him back under Agatha. She accepted him back and all was fine until he got his feet frozen at the waterer.

    When we did the the supervised visits, we took him out to the run and set him down. The first couple of times, Agatha was glad to see him and took over where she left off, defending him, leading him to food, but she wouldn't cover him. We'd leave him out until he'd start picking up his feet and tucking them under him, then he came back in. We did this for a week or so - taking him out, daily,seeing that he was able to feed and drink, then leaving him alone with them mingling with the flock (with no help from Agatha). Once the Bigs had their curiosity satisfied and reminded him of his "boundaries" he was free to roam all over out there. Then we set his brooder up out in the coop with the door propped open just enough for him to get in and out. He was rarely in it, though. He was usually out in the run and the coop with all of the others. I do believe in supervised visits.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
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  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    [​IMG] Thanks so much for sharing your experience and especially the video, such a cutie.

    For my gals I think the key to supervised reentry attempts would be to avoid any treats during visits. All are so much calmer then.
     
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    Update: I have a hen removed from her flock for about a week, was just a little puny but now robust and ready to go back home. Tried supervised re-entry and she was attacked immediately with me and DH right there. She was not harmed, picked her up immediately. She's back in a safe place and will use the traditional see but cannot touch method.

    So, got my answer. The gals will behave the same with or without human presence.

    Just posting for anyone who may have the same question.
     
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  7. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    Update: have had her in a very large metal dog crate in the run for one week, tried to let her out to mingle, and the 3 other Hens attacked her. Placed her back in the dog crate and plan to try again in another week.
     
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  8. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    IF you can, I suggest you let her out in the coop/run and lock the other 3 up. do that for a half day or so, you'll see when she has her bearings. Then let one other out with her, hopefully the most passive till they are ok. Maybe a day. Then let one more out...on and on. Couple feeders and waterers far apart, maybe some alfalfa leaves to munch...
    I'm no expert, but that's the way I introudce the younger newbies, after barrier meet and greet, it's worked very well for me. Hope it works for you.
     
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  9. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    @Mutt Farm , thanks for input.

    The hardest thing to accept is the vigor of the discord. These gals, now 2 1/2 have grown up together and original pecking order was funny and simple stare offs. At this age, the conflicts are vigorous and look like they would turn into roo fights without intervention. The lower ranking 2 are my problem. Will figure a way to divide the run and try a one on one mingle.
     
  10. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    Another update:

    Added an outdoor additional run area, let the 3 free hens out this afternoon. Opened Penny's "run cage", and let her come out on her own. Had 2 minor skirmishes between Penny and the lower 2 in the order - each was only 1 on 1 conflicts. Quite interesting that #1 Hen seemed to intervene in the 2 conflicts. Penny retreated to her cage after the second skirmish. At this point am more optimistic, planning to try this over and over until success.
     

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