I've got a chicken psychology issue, rather complex, but it has us all here baffled.
I've had 3 sweet Plymouth Rock hens for almost a year now, since they were chicks. Always got along great- no squabbles whatsoever. I named them Wynken, Blynken, and Nod - or "Noddy". Noddy was the dominant, the leader. Blynken, being a bit gimpy, was very docile, but very clever. Wynken just followed along with everyone else.
Three weeks ago, two things happened simultaneously: #1: my friend gave me one of her Roo's that was being bullied by her Alpha Roo. Blynken was smitten with Seamus immediately, but Noddy was NOT amused. It took her a few days to accept him.
#2: Several days later, Noddy's color was off, and she was droopy. Took her to the vet, and she had sour crop and crop stasis. He told me to put her in isolation, liquid/soft diet for at least 3 days, massaging her crop 3x a day, until the swelling was down and the smell was gone, and it emptied after feeding. (No impaction, no infection... just an "angry crop"... that needed settling down. No meds either! And yes, she recovered beautifully.) She ended up being away from the others for over a week. needless to say, she had lost a lot of weight. (FYI.... I fed her spirulina "smoothies, nice warm cooked old-fashioned oatmeal, and cream of wheat! and pedialyte.)
Once I was assured she was eating OK and her crop was emptying, I tried re-introducing her back with the others. To my surprise, Blynken tore into her, with the Roo right behind her. She fled to the top of the coop, and Blynken wouldn't let her down to eat, and certainly wouldn't let her in to the house to lay her eggs. Apparently Blynken took over the roll of Alpha Hen.
I ended up taking Blynken out, so Wynken and Seamus could get to know her again. After 2 days, those three were best of friends. No squabbles, Wynken would roost snuggled up next to her, and Seamus would cluck and call for her if he found a tidbit for her. What a good Roo! Noddy was confident again, and as happy as before.
So today I tried to put Blynken back in. WIthin 5 minutes, she ripped right into Noddy again - pulled her feathers on her neck right out, and pecked at her face until she bled! Of course Noddy ended up back on the roof. What a bully! At least this time Seamus did not attack.... but he didn't interfere either. So Blynken is back in the isolation cage in my garage. After she was gone, within 10 minutes Noddy, Wynken and Seamus took a good long luxurious dust bath... all was well. But if Noddy even saw Blynken, she'd scramble back to the roof! Poor Noddy!!!
Any ideas of how I can get Blynken calmed down?!? I hate seeing sweet Noddy all beat up and bloodied on her comb! And Blynken can not live in a box in my garage. I really want to keep all three girls!
Please help if you can.