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Reintroducing Previously Injured Hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickem, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. Chickem

    Chickem New Egg

    Aug 18, 2015
    Hello, new guy to the website here, looking forward to participating in the community and learn more about chickens.

    That being said, I'm having a few issues with the flock. I have 6 RIR hens, and a few months ago, one of the smallest girls, Millet, was attacked by a raccoon. It was trying to eat her before I chased it away, and had tore out all of her feathers from her back down. She was tore up pretty bad, but after a month or so of some good TLC, she's doing great. Her feather grew back, she's walking properly, and she's even laying again.

    However, I had to keep her isolated from the rest of the flock because I know that blood turns chickens into piranhas. Now, every time I try placing her with the other 5 hens, they'll all attack her with pecks and by jumping on her back. I tried putting her in the coop with the others overnight, which is what was told would work, but they still attack her on sight, I think because they recognize she's different due to her feathers growing back black and white instead of red, like all the other girls. They won't let her eat or anything. This worries me so much not just because they may kill Millet, but because I also have 4 Buff Orpington pullets in a separate pen that are getting big and will need to be introduced soon. On top of that, I also have two tiny chicks, only a few weeks old (a Silkie and a Brahma)(probably[​IMG]) that are both bantams. If I cant even reintroduce an existing flock member without risking her getting killed, then who's to say what will happen if I try to bring in other, stranger chickens?

    If I just leave her in there, will they eventually get used to her and leave her be? Or is there something I need to do to make them behave?


    Picture above is Millet in the coop
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    You might hold off introducing her until you can put the Orps in, too. Right now there's only one "new" bird and the flock is concentrating on her. If you have several introduced at the same time, they won't all gang up on one.
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Agree with the above post. If the 5 reds are still too hard on the newbies, pull a few of them out and house where the Orps are now. Wait a week and add one back in, repeat.

    You might try putting the injured hen in with the Orps now, if space permits. This will allow her to become part of their group and make things easier when being introduced to the reds.

    Do you have enough space for hiding places for these new birds?
  4. Chickem

    Chickem New Egg

    Aug 18, 2015
    What would make good hiding spots for them? The only place for them to hide is up in the coop, I never placed any because aggression has never been an issue before
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Adding pallets to a run can really help. And it will actually add square feet to the run, as long as birds can get under a pallet and on top of one. Put them up on cement blocks or saw horses. This gives them abit of shade too. You can also lean them against a wall, so that a bird can get behind one and be out of sight, however, make sure that both ends are open, so as not to make a trap.

    This summer, I also placed a pallet up on a single layer of cement blocks for my chicks. They could scoot under there and get away from a larger bird, it worked quite well.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    What Mrs. K said [​IMG]
  7. Chickem

    Chickem New Egg

    Aug 18, 2015
    Update: So I tried leaving Millet in there a little longer, but I had to take her out because she was missing a lot of feathers on the back of her head and was bleeding just a tad. The other girls are relentless, I suppose I'll have to just wait til this fall when I build a longer run and introduce the Orpingtons, unless somebody else has other ideas. The run just isn't big enough for large hiding spots to be placed
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If your run isn't large enough for hiding places, you might need to rethink adding more birds. Lots of space makes for a healthy flock. Crowded birds = stressed birds. Stressed birds = illness or parasite infestations.
  9. CherryAdventure

    CherryAdventure Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2014
    I suggest more room in your run. Your hens sound particularly nasty. I had over 20 chickens, many of them young roosters, and I could still introduce a bantam Polish hen successfully on her own. I would introduce this hen with your opringtons, so the attack isn't concentrated.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^^ X10

    Evaluate your coop space too.
    Especially if you live in an area with heavy snow, they can spend a lot more time in the coop during harsh winters.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015

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