Multiple bully chickens, limited space to separate in winter

cariboo

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 8, 2013
8
7
64
BC Cariboo
I’ve been trying to reintroduce a hen that was in isolation for a few days (bad constipation, initially thought she was egg bound) to my small flock of 11 hens. There are 3-5 of the hens that bully her relentlessly, attacking her whenever I let her out of her wire dog crate that’s been back in the coop for a week. I’m determined to get this situation sorted for once and all!

My current setup: 8x12 coop, big run but they’re only using the covered 16x12 portion most days due to snow cover. I’ve got a 2x3 wire crate in the coop at the moment for the bullied chicken which is taking up precious space this time of year (and she is definitely wanting to join the rest of the girls that aren’t being jerks).

I keep reading about separating the bullies, and I’m ready to do that, but the logistics are tripping me up. I’m in central B.C. and temps are getting down to -15c at night so all options need to be indoor-based. Here’s what I’ve one up with as options:
  • Build a 4’ high plywood or chicken wire/2x4 frame enclosure within the coop (3x6 is about the largest I could do and still have room for the other chickens in there). Put all the bully chickens in there with food & water and start reintroducing them (one per day) after 24-48 hours. Not sure if this is enough physical separation from the rest of the flock?
  • Separate the bully chickens one at a time in the wire crate and taking them into the house, reintroduce after a couple days. Doesn’t stop the other bullies though.
  • Get another 2x3 wire crate and double up the chickens in each one, reintroduce one a day after 24-48hrs. Would be cramped, but hopefully short term.
Any other options I’m missing?
 

cariboo

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 8, 2013
8
7
64
BC Cariboo
I ended up building a 3x5, 4ft tall enclosure within the coop yesterday, rounded up the bullies and got them in there. The bullied hen was having a great time clucking around with the rest of the girls. I went to check on them an hour later...and the enclosure was empty! I didn’t think that there would be enough space for them to flap their way out, but they sure did! Poor bullied hen was up on the spare bale of shavings with a bloody comb.

I rounded up the bullies again and this time added a wire cover on top that usually protects my strawberry bed from birds in the summer. It’s heavy enough that they shouldn’t be able to knock it off. I’ll be heading down to check on things as soon as it starts to get light this AM. Hopefully this will work and my poor bullied hen can enjoy being a chicken again!
 

cariboo

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 8, 2013
8
7
64
BC Cariboo
Update: I’ve integrated 3 of the 4 bullies successfully back in to the flock with no issues, the last one will be let out of the enclosure tomorrow. Separating them worked like a charm, and now I’ve got the equipment (and confidence) to deal with bully situations in the future. I also know now that keeping the original bullied hen isolated like I did was a bad idea, and will look at doing it differently next time!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,761
144,185
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Update: I’ve integrated 3 of the 4 bullies successfully back in to the flock with no issues, the last one will be let out of the enclosure tomorrow. Separating them worked like a charm, and now I’ve got the equipment (and confidence) to deal with bully situations in the future. I also know now that keeping the original bullied hen isolated like I did was a bad idea, and will look at doing it differently next time!
Glad you have new skills and facilities.
Chicken Juggling!!
 

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