Worried about new lone Hen.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jayjayclaus, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. jayjayclaus

    jayjayclaus Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2016
    South Australia
    Hi everyone, I'm very pleased to be a new member and been reading through many threads and information on this site. I acquired three hens around 2 months ago from a friend who could no longer care for them and I have bonded really well with them

    Today a friend contacted me about a chook that was living in less than ideal conditions and had already lost its two friends to the heat a few days ago so my heart said yes, yes, bring her here. Now I'm worried I've made a huge mistake. Sound like all doom and gloom unfortunately when introducing a single chook to a flock.

    My question is has anyone introduced a single hen into their existing flock successfully? I knew they fought for pecking order but now after reading I fear that the poor new girl won't make it and I have made a very poor rescue attempt for her.

    My three are around 18 months old and all from the same hatching??? Don't know what it's called. They definitely have not accepted the poor new chook who is smaller than they are and around 12 months old. Today I let them free in my back yard while watching them. Every time the new girl got close she would be chased away and occasionally was pecked at, no blood at this stage, she would run away mostly. I waited until the other girls went to bed then put the new one in the coop (after reading on this site). She jumped up to the roosting area but the girls would not let her on the perches. She is currently crouched on the wire floor under the other girls.

    Will they start to attack her in the morning? I'm worried that she will have nowhere to run or hide.

    Is this possible or should I start searching for a new home for this poor girl?

    Thank you in advance for you help and advice and I look forward to getting to chat more with you all.
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi jayjayclaus!
    [​IMG] and also Happy New Year!!

    IF you say your friends chickens have died from the heat, I'm guessing you are in the Southern Hemisphere?

    With a new chicken - it is always beyond a good idea to keep the new chicken apart from your flock for at least 4-weeks. As this one has probably already exposed your existing chickens to anything that she may transmit, 'quarantine' probably wouldn't be useful to you right now.

    Normally you would keep any new chicken away from your existing flock and provide feed and water separately so that if there is something the new chook has that would harm your flock it doesn't manefest. During the quarantine period - you would let them begin to see each other and the old flock would become aware of the existance of the new member. Little by little it would be 'no big deal' to have another chicken around. Then you would let the new one out to roam around the outside of the cages of the old ones -- and at a different time let the old ones 'free range'. At one point when you supplied bountiful treats -- such as here - sunflower seeds - Let both old and new chickens out together. Ideally they would have more interest in the treat than the chicken that they have seen hanging around for 4-weeks ANYhow...and little by little coop them together.

    If you provide plenty of water (seems like you are facing a heat spell) and plenty of food -- in DUPLICATE - so your existing flock won't feel their food and water supply is threatened by a new comer and so your new chicken will not have to fight 3 other hens to get to water and feed -- you will help her a bit. Make sure that there is plenty of space, let them out in your yard as much as you can.

    Chickens have different degrees of acceptance for new members of the flock and it won't be instantaneous.

    Expect it to be a gradual process. It almost seems like your existing chickens are not vicious - just thinking of self preservation if they have only given the new chicken an occasional peck. The new chicken's place will be at the bottom of the pecking order......at least for a time period.

    as a fall back plan - you may want to ask around incase your chickens make life miserable for the newcomer - and as a last resort rehome her.
    Good luck with your flock --
    hopefully others will chime in with some views and ideas for you.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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  4. jayjayclaus

    jayjayclaus Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2016
    South Australia
    Thank you ChicKat and bobbi-j.

    Yes, I'm in Australia :) A bit of a heat wave at the moment and a friend was visiting someone and noticed this poor chook with no to little shade in this heat (it was 37 deg celcius yesterday and has been for the last week). She is black too :(

    I set my alarm before dusk this morning to separate them all before they woke and everyone is intact. I have a smaller commercial coop (with roosting section and separate run) inside my larger man but enclosure so will keep them separate.

    Unfortunately I didn't think of quarantine issues (stupid considering this poor bird probably was not well cared for) so I'm freaking out a bit.

    Great idea with the wood up against the fence, the run is big enough that I can put a few up for her.

    Will give it a couple of weeks to see if everything settles and if there are signs of improvement I'll keep her, if not then will look for a home that only wants one girl. She's a sweet little thing and already coming up to me looking for treats. I feel dreadful thinking I've made her situation worse.

    Thank you again for your replies, very appreciated and Happy New Year !!
     
  5. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hey there jayhayclaus -

    You didn't make her situation worse if you saved her! That temperature can be stressful on a chicken.
    Here is a page I set up a couple of years ago -- and there is a chart on it about heat and chickens.... your 37C is about 98.6F -- so you can see that it falls into the stress zone. -- Especially if she didn't have shade. No wonder she likes you. I suspect that if you can introduce her gradually they won't bat and eye and she will be one of the flock.

    When I was a kid I lived in Queensland... loved your country.
    Oh -- here's the link:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/charts-and-quotes
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You've already gotten excellent advice. I just want to say don't give up. Introducing a single hen to a flock of just three hens is not insurmountable.

    I recently added a single hen to my flock of twenty. I was prepared for the unwelcome reception she received, and it's been slow progress getting her to be part of the flock, but there is progress over the two weeks I've had her. She was the lone survivor of her original flock, and a friend saw her at the animal shelter and called me. So we got our hens under similar circumstances.

    Keep in mind that a new hen needs to learn how to relate to your other three hens, as well as they getting to know her. My new hen has twenty others to relate to. It won't take as long with your hen with just three. My hen has already learned in two weeks who she can relax around, and which chickens she has to keep an eye out for.

    Along with learning how to relate to each member of their new flock, both of our new hens will slowly be gaining self confidence as they become more relaxed in their new surroundings. That will help the flock see them more as members of the flock rather than intruders.

    Meanwhile, I feed my new girl twice a day in a separate enclosure so she is guaranteed to get enough to eat. That's one of the biggest problems. The flock won't let a newcomer eat. At first. I kept her in a safe pen, but after the first few days, I felt it would be better for her to be given the opportunity to learn to mingle with the flock. But when it is obvious it's becoming too overwhelming, I let her go back into her safe pen for safety and relaxation. But we need to be careful about keeping these new girls separate, or else the flock will continue to view them as outsiders.

    I'm betting your girl will be accepted as a member of the flock in less than three weeks. It will take longer for mine, but I think she's already halfway there.

    Keep us posted and good luck!
     
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  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    As Chickcat said - you didn't make her situation worse. Chicken society isn't pretty. As a matter of fact, it can seem downright vicious to us humans, but that's how they relate. Give it time. I have a feeling your girl will blend right in after a bit.
     
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  8. jayjayclaus

    jayjayclaus Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2016
    South Australia
    Thank you all once again.

    After looking at the charts on how heat effects chickens I'm so glad I didn't listen to everyone around me "they're chickens, they'll be fine" and set up a sprinkler to go off for an hour in the hottest part of the day. I also freeze treats in an ice block for them which proves very popular :)

    azygous you have given me some confidence that it will work with her. Keeping them separated at the moment is hard work and I can't keep it up for ever. Definitely willing to continue for a month to give this girl the best chance. I free ranged them last night and decided to leave them to it and go for a walk so that I wouldn't interfere, only to find the new girl had found shelter in the wheelbarrow. Not exactly learning to integrate there lol. But thank you for the encouragement and good luck with your hen too. Please let me know how she is going!

    I'm glad I rescued her, at least she has appropriate shelter and plenty of food and water now. Fingers-crossed I'm able to give her the same room as the other hens in the not too far future. They really are mean girls though aren't they!!
     
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  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Time is in our favor. The flock will eventually come to accept the presence of these new girls, and the new girls will have found their spot in the pecking order.

    My rescued hen Edith seems to actually be making friends. Yesterday I saw her dirt bathing with another hen, and later on, she was inside the coop loafing with the two youngest flock members. I've been feeding her with these two youngest pullets, and while she allows them to eat first, she has no problem sharing space with them and eating after they leave the dish, but they don't stop her from eating as they do out in the main run.

    So you might pick out a couple of the youngest or lowest ranking in the flock and put them together with your girl. It's to her benefit if she can form an alliance with a couple of others. It will improve her self confidence and also the way the flock views her if she has some friends.
     
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  10. jayjayclaus

    jayjayclaus Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2016
    South Australia
    Edith making friends just made me smile :)

    I know the Miss Henny is the most aggressive one so maybe I'll isolate her and put the new chook (Neady) with the other two for a bit.

    I do love them. I got chooks for the eggs, but they very much have become my pets. Love their personalities (although Miss Henny has challenged that a little now. lol) and their antics. I can watch them in the yard for hours.
     

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