By Audrey Pavia, Urban Farm contributor
Monday, October 1, 2012
Photo by Audrey Pavia
My little, hurt hen (Lola) wasn't too mangled when re-introduced to the flock after recuperating.
about a month ago,
Lola, one of my young hens, came out of the coop hopping on one leg. She was
easy to catch, and I put her in a crate and took her to my sister, a vet.
After more than a week of
keeping her confined in my bedroom and giving her antibiotics to combat what
seemed to be an infection in her leg, it was time to start reintroducing her to
Once a chicken leaves the group
for a day or two, putting her back with the flock can be tricky. The other hens
will immediately recognize her as a flock member, but her absence will leave
her at the bottom of the pecking order — literally. Whenever I’ve had to
isolate a sick hen and put her back with the group, she usually takes a
beating. This is the last thing you want to see happen to a bird you just spent
weeks trying to make well.
Instead of just plopping Lola
back into the flock one day, I decided to make her entry gradual. For two days,
I kept her in a spare hutch that sits adjacent to the main coop. She protested
in the morning when I let the other chickens out, eager to get back to her old
life. But she was still limping on that leg, and I knew she’d be at a distinct
disadvantage if I let her go so soon.
When night fell on the second
day, I decided to take her from the hutch and place her in the coop with the
other birds. All were roosting, and I was hoping that if the hens woke up in
the morning and found Lola among them, they’d think nothing of it. I was almost
The next day, when I let the
birds out, they all ran to the lawn for their breakfast, Lola among them. When
I threw the feed to the group, one of the hens grabbed Lola by a neck feather
and pulled it, eliciting a screech from my recuperating hen. But that was the
last time I saw any skirmishes among the hens.
It’s been nearly a week now, and
Lola has been completely reintegrated into the flock. She has a very slight
limp, but every day, it gets better. I’m happy to say that her recovery and
reintroduction were a complete success.
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