Separate the bully or the bullied?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nutmeg1980, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. nutmeg1980

    nutmeg1980 In the Brooder

    Jul 6, 2009
    Madison, WI
    I've got 6 pullets, about 9 months old. Recently, I noticed that all of them except one were starting to look scruffy around their tail feathers. I've observed them quite a bit and deduced that the one without any feather damage is a big bully - she's pecking all of them. There's a few with bald spots. One has been a little bloody by her tail the past few days. I've put blue kote on her wounds and she seems to be healthy otherwise. The others are still bald by their tails, but I've started giving them some diversions and their feather damage doesn't seem to be getting much worse.

    So, the question is, should I separate the bully hen from the flock for a few days, or should I separate the hen who has been getting bloody to let her regrow some feathers? Or should I separate both of them from the other four? I don't have a lot of options for separate pens, but I could probable work something out for both of them.

  2. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    I just subscribed to this post because I have a hen that's a bully, and I recently put two new hens in with her, the rooster, and another hen. She's really being mean to the two younger hens. I'm thinking about taking her out and putting her in a small section, 2' x 8', by herself. Maybe someone knows how long to isolate her.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    If one of them is bloody, the bloodied one must be seperated for their own good. Blood attracts chickens like moths to a flame.
    To answer your original question, seperate the bully. Keep her seperated for a few days to a week. As much of a pain as it is, it's important she be knocked down a few pegs on the hierachy ladder.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  4. nutmeg1980

    nutmeg1980 In the Brooder

    Jul 6, 2009
    Madison, WI
    I'm a little afraid to separate the hen with the bloody tail. Won't she have an even harder time when she is re-introduced to the flock and she's lost whatever social standing she had? The blue kote is doing a good job of covering over her bloody spots.... but it's better to be safe than sorry - I would hate to think of her being pecked to death! I have no problem separating the bully, she deserves to be locked up!

    How small of an enclosure is acceptable to keep either of them in for a short time? I have a very large cardboard box in my basement that might do, and I have a medium sized dog crate. Are these big enough to comfortably hold a chicken for a few days to a week? Is it OK to keep them in dim to low light for that long?

    Funny, I know chickens in factory farms endure much worse treatment for their whole lives, and I'm worried about subjecting them to it for just a few days!
  5. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    I put my hospital cage in the coop so that there is no real separation-the bullied ones are never really away from the flock.
    I absolutely pull the bullies out and put them in "jail"-once they are out, they have to reestablish their postion in the group-if they continue to bully, back to jail they go! I have one in jail right now, as a matter of fact.
  6. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Songster

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    Quote:After she heals, pull the bully out when you put her back in. That'll make it a little easier for the injured one to fit back in. Keep the bully out for a week or so as Gritsar said. I have 1.5' X 2' cages I use for isolating birds. How big is the dog crate? It sounds like the better choice.

    I wouldn't use the cardboard box, all you could have 'open' for light & air would be the top by using a screen or something.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I know I'm kind of repeating what others have said. I'd isolate the injured one until the wound has healed, but I'd isolate her in the coop. Maybe put the dog crate in the coop. But your instincts are right. If you can, she needs to stay with the flock while she heals.

    Then, when you isolate the bully, she needs to be totally away from the flock. Remember to keep her safe from predators while you have her isolated.
  8. M To The Maxx

    M To The Maxx Baseball+Girls=Life

    Jul 24, 2009
    The best way to go is separate the bully because she could make the others bleed and that won't get any better.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  9. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I agree with the others and say seperate the bully for about 3-5 days. The injured bird I'd leave in there as long as the others aren't picking at her wound, if they are then kennel her in the coop with them until she heals.
  10. rcentner

    rcentner Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    If you separate out the injured chicken then you will have a hard time re-introducing her. I know from experience...I now have a lone garage chicken until spring when I can properly re-introduce her using the crate technique. I have seen that taking the bully out is the best way to go. The bullies are assertive enough to be re-introduced, whereas the bullied ones may hide and get bullied even more when put back with the flock. My hen got bullied so bad when I tried to put her back with the flock that she hid in the nest box and I had to hand feed her. Despite that she still lost weight and is now all alone in the garage bulking back up. So..don't take out the bullied, but the bully. Good luck!

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