The introductions went well with hardly any weeping and wailing or gnashing of beaks but little Rosie bottom of the pecking order before was not amused .She did not want to be bottom of the flock any more and wanted to go up a notch.
Before the introductions she was a lovely little hen that although smaller than she was as good as gold doing as she was told by the others.Her eggs were smaller than the others but perfectly formed and the shells were a lovely brown with little freckles on the end.
The day after the introductions she laid her egg as usual but it looked different pale in colour and very rough to the touch.A few days after a soft egg appeared and clover had yolk around her beak after eating a hearty breakfast .I was giving lime stone flour and cod liver oil to strengthen the shells but nothing.On and on it went with either no eggs ,soft eggs or broken eggs .During this time I would have laid a bet on if she would survive or not ,moping ,head in her neck .
Suddenly one day all chickens mixed together ,they all decided to sleep together and Rosie did not go down the pecking order and the eggs since have been perfect , dark brown and freckly…Rosie doing chickeny things with all the others in one gang .
The second example is my friend who has some lovely girls who all get on really well but she lost one girl Treacle and the others have taken a long time to get over the loss. They have lived together for a year or so with not a problem but suddenly two of them are getting pecked and feathers being drawn so badly that they have bare bums and necks.Everything has been tried even anti pecking spray and it is still happening . I think given time fingers crossed although this has become a habit it will pass just like it has with Rosie.
If you ask people that have hens they say that both mine and her case is down to lack of protein and boredom etc., but nobody has mentioned stress. In both cases each little flock has lost a friend and I do believe that stress is the main reason for these happenings and that chickens are more like us than we think .