Background: have four one year old mutt hens that are the “mean girls”. Last summer, integrated five “new girls” that were two months younger (now 10 mo old). Mean girls tolerate new girls but are still mean: they will peck them if there is food anywhere or feel ornery. Because mean girls are so mean, we wanted to add to the flock by having a broody raise from within. 9 ball is a black Cooper marans “new girl”. She is the top ranking of new girls and was holding her own with mean girls. Three days ago, she went broody, plucking her breast and all. We’ve left her in the nest box, kicking out twice a day to make sure she eats, while we plan. Plan is to set up a wire dog crate in the coop with straw and eggs (12? Or less for a first timer?), food and water and let her brood. When I kicked her out of the nest box to eat this AM, all of the mean girls full on attacked her, not just a peck but awful flying attack. ???? Why are they doing this? Does this mean that 9 ball will not be able to integrate/defend the chicks she hatches? I also wanted 9 ball to be able to get out in the run a little while brooding to stretch her legs - will she instead have to be locked in the cage at all times? Thanks for any help!!!