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Rehoming a hen (Henrietta)

Henrietta eating watermelon with her new roommate, Goldie.

Henrietta eating watermelon with her new roommate, Goldie.

When you get new hens, you don’t know if they will get along together. You hope there won’t be a problem hen in the flock You have to give it some time as they become acquainted and the pecking order is established. When we bought two hens from one backyard flock, and two hens from another, we thought we’d made good choices. We considered breeds and age. All the hens were under a year old and all fairly good sized and known for egg production.

One speckled Sussex was quite striking. She had real spirit. When she scratched in the dirt, dust flew, and when food was brought to the flock, she was the first one to grab it. What became intolerable, was her constant picking on Zelda, the Easter egger and Marigold, the buff Orpington. She wouldn’t allow them to eat or drink. Their combs were covered with scabs as Marigold was taking bites out of them whenever they wandered too close.

One morning my friend across town called to tell me a fox had killed one of her two hens. She had had people for dinner and had been distracted when cleaning up. When she’d gone out at twilight to lock her hens up for the night, the hen was dead. She said she usually locked the two girls up in the late afternoon when the fox was in hiding. “Do you have a hen I could put with my lonely solitary one?” As a matter of fact, I did.

I am hoping that Henrietta, with a huge run with lots of room to peck and scratch, will be a good companion for a young sex-link. And, so far it has been ideal. They’re good friends and there is no other hen (to be “odd man out”) for Marigold to pick on. I’m hoping I’ve found Henrietta’s ideal home. I’ve learned that if there is a problem hen, sometime it is better to rehome her. A different environment and different companions might be just the thing for a problem hen.

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