We have 4 birds and our coop was attacked. One bird was injured but survived. We nursed her back to health and she is doing well. She was out of the yard for about 1 week. We gave her some supervised yard time to help her recover during that time and let her hang out with her main buddy for a bit so she wouldn't be completely foreign to the birds..
Now she's in the yard full time and sleeping in the coop again, but our dominant bully bird keeps running her off. The 2 other birds are fine with her around - but the 1 dominant bird chases her.
So my question is - do they eventually reintegrate on their own and get used to her? It's really only 1 bird that has a problem.
I'm thinking of locking the bully bird in the run for portions of the day to allow our healing bird to hang out with her flock without being hassled, but I don't know if that will make things worse or what. When the bully bird is laying, the injured bird hangs out with the other 2. So they accept her just fine.
She seems to be getting bolder and isn't running as far away and isn't hiding like she did when we first put her out. So I'm thinking if we just give it time, things will get back to normal.
Anyone have experience with this?
Thanks Sentient - the injured bird has figured out how to hang out behind the bully bird so the bully bird doesn't notice her. The flock is basically integrated, but my little black one is being hassled now. She's the only one not sleeping on the roost. Got her foot pecked the other day and was bleeding. (sigh) always something.
Sentient, it is nice to see you posting again. I'm assuming you are home and getting caught up with rest and chores. In any event, welcome home!
Joan, thank you! Now I am off to sleep some more!
That's interesting Sentient - I have 2 black bars and 2 reds. Each red paired with one of the blacks - so my pairings are 1 red and 1 black.The injured red has reintegrated but the little black she was paired with got pecked a bit while she was gone and I don't think her status in the flock is as good as the injured birds is at the moment, though the injured red is still skittish around the bullying black. So, no racism in my birds. ;D
Oh well - another theory down the drain! Now I have to live with chickens being less racist than people are!
Jennifer, I like your questions. I wonder if chickens ever learn to coexist? Kind of like humans. Is coexisting with diversity ever possible, even though everything comes from a common source? I know absolutely nothing about this.
I Googled "chicken, aggression" and came up with this article:
Dealing with aggressive poultry
"Traditional advice has always been to avoid mixing flocks, not only because of the pecking order but also to avoid the possibility of disease transference. If it is absolutely necessary to introduce new birds to an existing flock they should be penned in a temporary area next to the run so that they can be seen but not harmed. It will be necessary to have a separate shelter for them during this period, which may be around 1-2 weeks. Placing the food for each set of birds on either side of the boundary is quite effective because it has them in close proximity, feeding rather than sparring, and all the time getting used to each other.
"Once the birds are taking each other for granted, they can be amalgamated, but a careful watch needs to be kept for potential problems. If there are still difficulties, a programme of disorientation can be introduced. This is where the original flock is put in the temporary run, while the new birds are put in the original quarters. I found this technique very effective some years ago, when introducing Marans to a Rhode Island Red flock. Because of the changeover, they were all in new conditions and adapted accordingly."
I kind of took a wait and see approach and she figured out a way to be with the flock and not have the bully bother her - by hiding behind her as she went about hunting etc. If she is in front, she rushes around to the back and then settles back into hunting and pecking again. Funny creatures.
Chickens are hilarious. They are so much fun to watch.