Originally Posted by sunflour
Interesting, maybe your flock are not as spoiled as mine? The main culprit, Lillie, has always been my favorite and used to be the bottom of the pecking order. With the shift in my flock and loss of her favorite buddy - Dottie was #1 and her best friend and protector. IMO she is fearful that Penny will end up above her in the order. Time out in a cage for bully Lillie helped initially, now she seems to like going in a cage so have removed the jail from the run.
I am using a water bottle spray - it does stop aggression immediately. I have been leaving the bottle in clear sight and just picking it up seems to avert aggressive moves. But Lillie looks to see where the bottle is and seems to think about her actions before she acts on her impulses. So, she is learning how to "play the game". But have not seen anything but minor skirmishes and brief confrontations this week.
I am still optimistic and will be patient in extending their time together. Yesterday we added some overhead protection to the outdoor area so we could observe more remotely and the only issues occurred when we were not immediately by the coop area. It seems the absence of treats during visitation helps more than anything else we have tried thus far. But plan to get a new flock block and make changes in their environment to increase their interest in anything other than what is Penny doing.
Oh, mine are pretty spoiled
But mine are Red Sexlinks and a Buff Orpington, and they could be less stubborn. I also handled mine a lot when they were growing up, and maybe they were used to me telling them what to do.
I can see how a water bottle would work....I've used that with dogs, too. My coop is under a big mulberry tree, so I always have sticks readily available, and don't have to remember to bring anything with me. At my age that's a plus.
It does sound like what you are doing is working with yours, and that is the ultimate test, isn't it?