As you can see, I've had to put my bully chicken, the big bad Wheaten Marans, into solitary confinement. She was pecking the other hens badly and I observed her more than once eating the other girl's feathers (this is a bad habit that can be the result of a protein deficiency, but in this case I think it's just boredom).

She's now in a dog crate in the basement. We brought her in on Friday night. At first she was really pissed, and would squawk to high hell and try to rush the door whenever I came down to feed her. Today she seems to have resigned herself to her fate, which is good. I like to think that she's contemplating the direction her life has gone and resolving to reform herself, but I know that's just personification. The plan is to keep her separated for a few more days, and then hopefully when I reintroduce her to the flock she'll have lost her standing in the pecking order and the bullying will stop. We'll see.

In the meantime, the other chickies have been having fun with this cabbage tether ball that I made for them. Just a few days ago this was a fully formed, very firm cabbage. Today it's a pecked shell. I'm planning to make another one to put out for them tomorrow.

I've also been giving them other treats and human food leftovers in the hopes that they'll get distracted and stop pecking at another. Here, you can see Blondie enjoying the out of season cantaloupe that was the garnish on my plate at breakfast this morning. I've also given them beef bone leftovers from making stock, and the cold remains of a Friday night fish fry in addition to their regular vegetable scraps and black oil sunflower seeds. Who knew that chickens love cold french fries?

So far things seem to be going well. the girls with the worst bald spots from pecking have new pinfeathers developing. Now we'll just have to wait and see what happens when the Wheaten returns......
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