Reintroducing chicken with head injury

Asked May 20, 2019, 10:55 PM EDT

Good evening, I have a quick question about a young pullet who was injured badly on her head/neck at about 4 weeks of age. It took about one month to heal during which time she was kept in a large tote in the house. The vet cleared her to be reintroduced with the other 3 chickens about 2 weeks ago. This is also around the time of moving them from their brooder to the run and coop. We have set up a cage inside the run for the recovered chicken. She is left in her solo cage during the day, and we let them all of them out to free range in the large backyard (supervised) during the evenings. Despite seeing her in the run all day, the other pullets (so we assume) can be very aggressive - chasing her, pecking at her, attempting to pull out her feathers. One in particular, who we suspect might be a cockerel, is ruthless. One additional thing that I imagine is working against us is that the recovered pullet happens to be the smallest — the chicks were all purchased at the same time but the other three are at this point more developed (bigger combs, waddles, feet, etc). We try not to intervene in the scuffles unless it looks like she might get re-injured or she’s clearly distressed and being ganged up upon. Recovered pullet is very distressed in her solitary cage at dusk, for some reason I haven’t yet figured out. It just seems like we aren’t making any headway. It’s been about 2 weeks since we started reintroducing her. Can you offer any advice different from what we are doing? Should we stop letting them all free range together? Any advice would be appreciated! I’m starting to consider investing in a separate little henhouse for this girl.

Tarrant County Texas

1 Response

You can pick the least aggressive of the other three hens to pair up with the previously injured hen till they have worked things out. Then you can reintroduce the pair.