I have 6 year-old hens (I'll refer to them here by their rank in the pecking order). They have a coop that is 24 square feet and an attached run that is 18 square feet. The pecking order has pretty much been stable once they finished establishing it last year and aside from the occasional "reminder" peck/shoving a lower-ranked girl out of the way for treats, they've been very good with each other. Girl #1 is a very good flock leader and has no qualms about enforcing the rules firmly but not harshly (except where necessary, as described below). Over the past month or so, Girl #6 has been having a rough time of it. It started with Girl #2 gratuitously (to human eyes, anyway) leaping on and pecking her hard while I had them out free-ranging. Girl #1 would hear the squawking, come flying in and run Girl #2 off, sometimes with some pecks if Girl #2 had been especially aggressive to Girl #6. But sometimes Girl #2 would lie in wait and then go after Girl #6 again and have to be run off yet again. It was escalating and I had organized chicken jail for Girl #2 but then things settled down and the issue seemed to have passed without needing to put her in solitary. Over the past 10 days, Girls 2 - 5 seem to take turns harassing Girl #6 while we're out. (I have not noticed the behavior in their living quarters, but that doesn't mean it's not happening.) For example, Girl #3 will randomly peck her, then Girl #2 gets in on the act and Girl #1 runs them both off; or Girl #4 does the random pecking and Girl #5 joins in. If the scuffle lasts for more than 2 seconds Girl #1 flies in and kicks everyone's butts; the other day when Girl #2 had been especially vicious, Girl #1 grabbed her wattle and pulled hard. No blood was drawn but she made her point -- for the day, anyway. But if Girl #1 doesn't see/hear the bullying, it goes unpunished. A few times when it has happened in front of me I have disciplined the bully by "pecking" her shoulder with my hand and running her away from the group for a while. But in the absence of injury taking place I'm reluctant to intervene too much since I know they have their own social rules. Girl #6 has some bruises on her comb but otherwise no one has been seriously hurt -- yet. Sometimes she shows extreme reluctance to go back into the coop with everyone else, so she hangs out by herself with me for a while and gets some extra attention. In addition to the few times I've "pecked" a bully, I no longer give them treats when they're in a group circling like feathered sharks since treats just aggravate the issue. The behavior still goes on, though. Other facts, which may or may not be relevant: (1) Girl #2 is particularly snuggly and gets a fair amount of attention from me; Girl #6 also likes to snuggle but Girl #2 always gets snuggled before Girl #6. (2) Nothing else in their environment has changed, everyone is healthy, laying regularly, etc. So my questions are: 1) Is some form of chicken jail appropriate here, but how since a bunch of them are getting in on the act? Girl #2 still seems to be the primary aggressor -- if I isolate her perhaps the others will stop? 2) If chicken jail is appropriate, how do people usually structure it? What do you use for "jail," how much space, etc.? Is the isolated chicken in earshot of the others or taken completely away from them? How long do you isolate them? And does isolation also involve no extra human attention (i.e., no snuggling Girl #2 while she's in lockdown)? 3) If I see the bullying take place in front of me and Girl #1 doesn't intervene, is it appropriate for me to do so? Thank you in advance for your help and thoughts!! Poor Girl #6 doesn't need this crap and I don't want anyone to get seriously hurt, which seems to be the way things might be heading!