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Update on Lady

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Katz5617, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Katz5617

    Katz5617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lady was my sick girl and we separated her and nursed her back to health. Afterwards the other chickens would not let her back into the flock, but she is alive and well. She has no more balance issues whatsoever, but her left wing is definitely paralyzed after her illness - we suspect Mareks. My husband built an addition to the run which shares a common fence but keeps the girls separated. We have Lady in this new addition and each day we try to let her out into the big pen for a little while. The first couple of days the other chickens immediately went after her. One of the BR's would always lead the attack and the others would follow. I then started putting in a little cracked corn and meal worms and it distracted them enough that they didn't really notice her and they would leave her alone for quite a while. It would take about 15 minutes or so before they even noticed she was there and then they would begin picking on her. I would shoo them away and pick her up. My husband seems to think that I should let it go for a minute and see if she can hold her own, but I'm of the opinion if I do that the others will join in and it would end up with Lady getting hurt. Yesterday he let her out without adding any treats to the pen and stayed with her about thirty minutes. She had one loose feather and one of the BR's began pecking at that one feather - but didn't jump on her like before. I guess I am just nervous, but I feel like it she had pulled out that one feather it wouldn't have stopped there. My question is - is this normal behavior or is picking at that one feather leading up to more aggression. We've had her separated with the fencing now going on two weeks - the same amount of time she was originally away from the flock - allowing short times, several times a day all together with constant supervision. I'm so afraid if I let her into the flock too soon and leave I will come back to an injured or dead Lady. She's definitely wanting to get back to them and they seem to be somewhat socializing through the fence. She was originally separated from the flock for over two weeks while we nursed her through her illness. Lady is definitely the pet of our flock - the most gentle and easiest going. She is also the smallest. The BO and two BR's are much larger and the Cochin is somewhat larger - but not as big as the others. Lady is a RIR. At first she was one of the biggest when they were babies - but the others quickly outgrew her. I feel sorry for her because she wants to get out in the big run so bad, but I'm just not sure. I can't stand with her all day. Is a little bit of pecking normal to begin with or should there be none at all before I walk away.
     
  2. RulingTheRoost

    RulingTheRoost Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, it sounds like you have quite the situation. I'm glad Lady is over what she had.

    How long have you kept Lady in the additional run? I would suggest at least 2 to 3 weeks. Does your main run have activities for your other hens, such as straw, a seed block they can peck at or some grass? Sometimes feather picking can result out of boredom.

    I understand your concern. We have nursed a hen back to heath ourselves, and we were afraid for her well-being. Even though there will be a few disagreements, if they are somewhat used to Lady I would put her back. Sometimes they have to peck and be pecked for a dominance order to be established. But all in all, your lady will be all right. As long as the other girls aren't bullying her because of her wing, that is.

    If you feel like they are harassing her because of her injury, it might be best to keep her separate permanently, if you feel like she wouldn't be safe with the rest.

    I hope it works out for you.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I think what you are doing is exactly what needs to be done to work her back into the flock. Just keep it up. One day, try spending as much time with them as you can, and let them be together. There will be some normal pecking, just to let her know that she is low in the pecking order. If they get too rough, do it again the next day or two. Eventually, they will let her back into the group. Sometimes chickens just know something is wrong with one, that they are weak, and they will bully them or try to cull them from the flock. Other times, they may be accepting of her and her disability. I'm sure she wants to be part of the group again, and to feel secure. Good luck with her.
     
  4. Katz5617

    Katz5617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To answer some of the questions in the above posts - Wednesday will be two weeks that Lady has been in the adjacent run. I had her separated from the flock for two or more weeks while she was ill. No - there is not a sprig of grass in the run - they demolished it early on. They do not free range - we have a large dog that has not truly accepted the girls. No way he could be trusted if I allowed them to roam free. Our run is stationary and not on a tractor. I've tried several times to plant more grass - but whether I put seeds - they eat them before they hit the ground or blocks of grass - they have it gone before the day is out. I now cover the ground with hay and again last week I raked out all the old hay and broadcast rye seed and then covered it with a new layer of straw. I'm hoping that at least a few of the seeds escaped their notice. They do have a seed pecking block that I hang under their coop that is raised. My husband built a multi-level set of roosts outside. They often jump/fly from level to level. Because there is no grass I go down to the garden and pick turnips, collards, cabbage and lettuce. I put the leaves in whole and let them forage, They can strip a plant bear in no time - but it gives them something to do. Each day I toss out a handful of cracked corn and let them forage and dig and sometimes we go to the bait shop and purchase live crickets - they have a field day catching the crickets - so we do try to keep them occupied even though they are in the run - so hopefully they are not too bored. I leave out their regular feed 24/7 and the same with water.

    It's good to know that a bit of pecking may be normal to establish the pecking order. Not going to tell my husband he may be right - but for good measure I think I may wait another week and continue allowing her out several times each day supervised. She's pretty much the pet of the flock but even with that - I've invested a lot of time and heart into nursing her back to health and the extra expense of putting in an adjacent run. I'd really hate to let her back prematurely and then loose the battle. She is the smallest of the girls so I imagine she is pretty low on the totem pole. The BR Molly seems to have taken the dominant role and she is the one that would first pick on Lady so the pecking order thing makes a bit more sense when I look at it that way. It's sort of a toss up whether Molly or the BO Precious is the larger - they are pretty much the same size - but Precious is more laid back. She's the least inclined to pick on Lady. The other BR and the Cochin seem to follow Molly's lead. Would it be beneficial when I let Lady out - if for that period of time I put Molly in the adjacent pen and see how the others react without Molly leading the charge?
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    It does help sometimes to remove the more aggressive bird for a few days to a week, to reduce her place in the pecking order. Or you can remove her temporarily.
     
  6. RulingTheRoost

    RulingTheRoost Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree, although make sure to not leave Molly out for too long, otherwise you'll have to do the same thing over again! It sounds like you're keeping your hens very busy, which is a wonderful thing. They'll eat any sort of vegetation down to it's roots in a week or less, believe me I know [​IMG]

    I hope they finally learn to accept each other.


    Best of luck!
     
  7. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is exactly what I do, remove the hen that is doing the bullying and it's worked every time. Sounds like you are taking excellent care of lady,she is a lucky chicken.
     
  8. Katz5617

    Katz5617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    keeping my fingers crossed - especially since it will be in the teens here tonight. Very unusual weather for our southern neck of the woods. I've had lady in the big run with the other girls all morning and everything has gone well. I have walked inside for a while and set the timer for 30 minutes and will check again and see how she fared without me around. The only time anyone gave her a warning was if she got too close to them while they were scratching for treats. It was just a quick warning - she got the message and moved and everyone went on about their business. I'd love to be able to allow her in the coop tonight with the others rather than have to bring the kennel inside. It is fine for our typical weather - we have it covered with heavy sleeping bags and it is filled with straw so on a regular night she sleeps comfortably, but tonight it is expected to go down to 17 which is way cold for us. Our coop, however is insulated and as well I have it heavily lined today with straw and shavings. I have a light that I can put inside, but I'm not really sure I will need it. The coop and run are blocked from the north wind by a wooden privacy fence and on the west by a privacy fence. We have put wind blocks around the bottom to keep air from coming up underneath the coop which is on stilts. I'll add the light if closer to evening it seems like it will be too cold inside but I really don't want to unless absolutely necessary. I am fearful of with so much hay and shavings it could cause a fire. My husband insulated the ceiling and walls with the foil covered foam when he built it and used that expansions stuff in all the seams. I'd like lady to be able to go in with the other girls. I don't want to start another whole round of having to reintroducing her if I bring her inside again temporarily and even with the hay and sleeping bags I don't think the kennel would provide sufficient insulation with tonights temps. Hoping everything goes well today and she can sleep with her flock.
     
  9. Katz5617

    Katz5617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First thirty minute check without me and all is well. I set the timer for 45 minutes this time. She is walking around with the other girls and they are paying her no mind.
     
  10. Katz5617

    Katz5617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Forty five minute check and she is doing fine. Set the timer for an hour this time. I'll keep extending the time so long as everything goes okay. If she does fine during the day I am going to trust her to go in the coop tonight and close them in at dark.
     

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