I have a small backyard flock - just three hens that got the day after they hatched. They've always had clear personalities and quickly established a hierarchy, but for the past (almost) nine months, they've generally lived peacefully. They have a section of the yard fenced off for them, and a nice a-frame coop that they share. When I'm watering or tending the garden, I'll let them out for a good period of time to graze the entire backyard. In other words, they have plenty of space. Yesterday, for the first time, my BR (which is my best layer - more and bigger eggs than the other two) started "talking" to me - and trying to hang near me, although I was in the veg garden, which is blocked off to them with plastic fencing (as they tried to eat my tomatoes). Several times, I noticed the alpha hen (a RIR) come up to her and try to bite her neck - I would take a squirt at them with the hose when they did that, to break it up. Very effective! This morning, I heard a ruckus in their pen, and got up to see. Sure enough, inside the roost were several patches of blood, although it's hard to see any injuries on the hen. I think the alpha hen is pecking at the BR's toes. When they're out and about, I can see the RIR trying to keep the BR away from the food/water. Now, it's worse, because the BR is actually running away from the RIR, which gives the RIR more power, and makes her even more of a bully. (She is a bully to my younger son, too, who is scared of her and can't hold his ground, even though he's usually armed with a stick). This has just started, and I want to nip it in the bud. I plan to get more feeders, so that the mean one can't keep the BR from eating. My biggest problem is that I only have the one roost that they've always shared. I suppose the BR could sleep in one of the nest boxes if she got too picked on - if she's smart enough to figure it out. The other hen mostly just stays out of it. She's not at all cowed by the alpha hen, but she doesn't pick on the BR, either. I will consider trimming the beak of the RIR (just a tiny bit) to keep her from injuring the BR, but would appreciate opinions (and instructions) before taking on that drastic of a measure.