Tell me about your experience integrating a lone chicken, please!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Noobchick, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Noobchick

    Noobchick Songster

    May 23, 2011
    Creedmoor, NC
    It's been months since we got three 9 week old chickens to add to our existing flock of five 12 week old chickens. Turned out that 2 of the 3 nine week olds were roosters, so back to the breeder they went. Which left poor Mo all by herself.

    I've tried:
    1. keeping her in a cage within the coop then introducing them all one by one to her, adding another to the group when the previous ones calm down around her.
    2. separating the main bully, which didn't work; she threw herself against the cage so violently I was afraid she'd seriously hurt herself; she only spent a day in "solitary".
    3. Staying with them thru an entire weekend and "pecking" the bully chickens with my index finger whenever they peck her. (And for countless 2 hour stetches in the mornings and during my daughter's afternoon naps.)

    Nothing has worked. Its been 7-8 months and she's been injured each time I've tried to reintegrate her. I've removed her after each time she's gotten to the point with her injuries that a lot of blood is showing. She's a Naked Neck; I have to think that's part of why this isn't going well.

    The last thing I can think of is trying Blu-Kote on her current injury and just letting her stay with them.

    I've devoted countless hours over the last 7-8 months and I've just reached the point where I don't think I can do this anymore. I would feel awful giving her away (a new flock and new potential bullies?!) and REALLY don't want to cull her. She's a sweet bird. But i can't. Do. This. Anymore.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Any possible solutions I may be overlooking?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  2. thegreypony

    thegreypony Songster

    Well this might sound nuts and it will require you to so some re-"fencing" but we had to do this with one of our birds that had to be removed from the flock for a time. This is what I did:

    Day 1 - time to reintegrate Lacey into the flock. All the birds went outside in the chicken yard (attached to the hen house) except for Lacey. I took a piece of fencing and stretched it across the yard to create 2 yards. We are fortunate enough to have what I call the "panic room" at one end of our chicken yard - b/c our yard is long and narrow, I wanted the girls to have a safe place they could scramble into in case they got "cut off" from the big hen house b/c of a predator or something. I put Lacey into the section of yard w/the Panic Room and put down some tasty treats & yogurt to keep her busy. Then I took one of my passive, quiet Wyandottes out of the main flock and put her in with Lacey. They hung out together quietly eating and busying themselves with chicken activities. The rest of the flock just didn't care. At dusk after the rest of the birds had gone in the big house to roost, I got Lacey & Charlotte & put them into the hen house with the rest of the flock.

    Day 2: right BEFORE THE SUN CAME UP and I knew the flock would start emptying out of the house - I went into the hen house and removed Lacey & Charlotte the Wyandotte to the Panic Room end of the chicken yard PLUS I added another quiet, calm Wyandotte, Fanny, to the Panic Room end of the yard.

    Each day I would add another bird to the "new" group until there were only 2 or 3 birds in the "old" flock. When I hit that point, I just let everyone filter out of the hen house the next morning and made sure I had extra feeding stations with some tasty treats kitchen scraps and a little yogurt to occupy everyone. I had removed the separating piece of fence the night before after everyone was inside so the birds had the whole space. There were NO incidents of misbehavior and the flock was all back together, nice & happy.

    I will also say that I was really intentional in the order of the birds I added to the new flock. Those at the top of the pecking order never went into it. I think that when the flocks were re-combined, the fact those girls were grossly outnumbered did a lot to curtail any snarky behavior from them.

    Sorry so long and this may not work at all for you but it did work for us. Good luck to you!! :)
  3. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Songster

    Thegreypony has a very good suggestion. Keep in mind familiarity with location breeds contempt. Have you tried adding her to the flock at night so they wake up and there she is? It tends to make the process easier, as if suddenly, chickens have short memories and they go, "Oh well, I guess you've been here all along. But for the heck of it (peck)...get out of my way!" and that's usually it.

    If you're able to give the new hen time in the coop that helps. But most of all if you can put them all into an entirely new coop or area. Pecking orders seem to rely on having established one's territory in the coop. Change the location and the pecking order needs to be re-established.

    Wishing you luck. Both you and that poor hen, have been at it for so long!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by