Trying to Reintroduce Traumatized Hen

ladybuggarden

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 27, 2009
11
0
22
I have 8 hens of varying ages. The youngest is 20 weeks, Peep, named by my son. She is my only 20 weeker, the others are older. I have RIRs and Delawares. They started out as two separate flocks but about two months ago, I combined them. They seemed to work things out and were doing fine until three weeks ago when my husband went into the coop in the morning. He noticed the youngest had been attacked by the others. She was plucked completely on one side.

I brought her inside and also brought one of my gentler RIR hens inside with her to keep her company. I tried reintroducing them this morning and there was some chest butting between the RIR and the others but she is good at holding her own. Unfortunately, Peep immediately flipped out. No one started out bothering her but as soon as she saw the other hens, she started flying at the walls as though trying to escape and then when outside she kept trying to fly over the fence. She finally found a corner and just lay there. When she did get up to get water, if any of the other hens approached her, she would loose it again and try to escape. The behavior made her stand out and the other hens who were previously ignoring her, started to purposefully go after her. At which point, I stepped in and removed her. Eventually I had to remove the other RIR as well because she kept looking for her buddy and making a racket calling for her.

I figured I'd try to introduce them at night and brought them down to the coop and put them on the roost but Peep again flipped out and started throwing herself against the walls and I was afraid she was going to kill herself trying to escape.

Right now she and her buddy are living in a large brooder turned cage in my sunroom. I've got a separate space for the two of them to spend time outside but I really would like to reclaim my sunroom now that spring is on its way.

Any suggestions on how to get these two back with the rest of the flock smoothly?
 

Bring

Songster
10 Years
Jul 16, 2009
338
1
122
New Mexico
Maybe you could fence off a part of the run so she can see the other hens but not be in contact? I had a hen that was attacked by a dog and for a long time after evertime she saw a dog she would freak out. She's doing just fine now. We have four dogs on our property and only one is vicious with the birds. In fact one of my dogs goes inside the coop and sleeps in there with the chickens on occasion. Maybe over time your chicken will be desensitized? It also takes a while for the chickens to establish a new pecking order again. If you seperate them they act like they've never met. Maybe somebody else will have an opinion as well.
 

RuffledFeathers

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 30, 2009
61
2
29
Issaquah, WA
Ugh, I have a hen that has some behavior like that- but not as extreme and I have been trying to be a Chicken Psychologist for several weeks to fix the problem!
She was the Queen hen and our Rooster just hates her (or really loves her, who knows), but anyway, he picks on her and tries to stomp her into the dirt. She hides on the top roost and almost never comes out for food or water. When she does come out she is fine until she sees him then starts making this weird little repetitive cluck that says " I'm Panicking!", and he notices and makes a beeline to attack her.
And she won't stop making that noise and freaking out. Ok, so I am solving the problem by saying goodbye to the Rooster. The hen lays eggs so she wins. You may have to re-home her. Hens can find a new home easily on Craigslist. Emotional trauma seems to stick in the chicken brain. Too bad.
 

cobrien

Songster
10 Years
Mar 16, 2009
576
14
141
Oakland, CA
I hope we get some good advice in this thread...I also have one 3 year old silkie who, after ~6 months of being separated by a fence from my 4-1 year olds, still freaks out when the one year olds come near and draws so much attention to herself that the 1 year olds can't help but try to kick her butt. The silkie was never even attacked to the point of losing feathers or drawing blood...but certainly ganged up on and terrified. She lives separately with 2 other 3 year old hens, I have not been able to integrate the flock. If the silkie just stood her ground a little more I think the 1 year olds wouldn't even bother her.
 

Badlatitude

Songster
11 Years
Feb 24, 2009
171
0
142
CT/FL
Im a sucker. Id turn the other hens into chicken and dumplins and keep Peep lol. Mean old hens
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As said above .. if they are divided so they can see each other and be close but not attack her her appeal will probably wear off
 
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ladybuggarden

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 27, 2009
11
0
22
I am going to set up a separate run alongside my main run as suggested to see if Peep can get over her fear. Peep has become a pet of sorts because she was inside our house at first while she was recuperating and my 3 year old decided she was his.

He has to go see her everyday and I fear she has become too used to us. She runs to greet him and doesn't mind being held and pet by him. The RIR who is her buddy however will let out a racket if I pick her up and acts as though I'm going to put her in the pot.

Ah well, we'll see if this works...Keep any suggestions coming. I'm open to try just about anything.

Thanks everyone.
 

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