So I am looking for opinions, please. We have a small backyard flock of 3 hens that are our beloved pets. They are all about 1 year old. The wyandotte and cochin were raised together from chicks, and the silkie was added about 8 months ago. So the 2 standard hens are basically joined at the hip. They walked together and hang out all the time. The silkie wants to be part of the group, and they mostly let her follow, but ever once in a while one of the large hens (I think the 2nd in command, the cochin, usually starts it, but the leader (wyandotte) will often join in too) will start chasing the silkie super fast and trying to peck her. The silkie FREAKS out, squawking, darting around the yard it a real panic, and pants, huddled in the corner of the yard, until she finds her way back into the coop to hide. Now this isn't a constant occurrence, and happens more frequently when we are hand feeding treats to the flock, but it also happens even when we aren't directly interacting with them, too. To my knowledge, they all get along reasonably well when in the coop. They are treated monthly for mites with a small application of Frontline spray topically, we mix D.E. in their bedding, and were dewormed with Panacur a few months ago. I believe they are all healthy. I just feel like the silkie is bullied too hard when she is bullied, not that it's a constant thing. I'm worried for how severely she become stressed out (open-mouth breathing, screaming, running around frantically) when she is bullied. I don't see any physical marks on her, so I think it really is psychological. Recently, a couple of weeks ago, the hens were outside int he yard and my indoor-only cat got outside and chased the silkie. He definitely would have hurt her if I didn't catch him and put him back inside. I think mentally she was hurt though, because ever since then she has become a lot more sensitive to the bullying from the other hens. So, I LOVE my silkie, but I'm just worried she could have a heart attack or be unhappy from the stress, and/or be an easy target for a neighborhood cat or other predator if she is by herself in the yard running around without the safety of being with the other 2 hens (as she frantically darts around by herself away from the flock). So here's what I did: I placed an ad on Craigslist asking if anyone wanted to trade me a standard sized young tame hen for my silkie. I guess I wasn't anticipating the response I received. So there's a lady with a flock of silkies who has a barred rock, and she's been keeping the barred rock separate for picking on her silkies. So it sounds like the perfect trade. She also said the barred rock has 3 adolescent chicks ready to go outside that can come with the hen. That way we can keep which ever hen/pullet ends up getting along the best with our other 2 hens. (We can only have 3 total adult chickens in our town.) Here's the thing: Now that it sounds like I have the perfect trade lined up... I have cold feet. I love my silkie. I picked her out from a reputable breeder, and I named her and I love her. So what should I do? I feel very conflicted and now I just don't know what's right. Can chickens have a heart attack from being stressed to the point of panting? Do I even have a very good chance of introducing a barred rock into my flock, and having that work better? The benefit I see of having a 3rd standard size hen, is that if she's picked on, at least she would have real feathers and her size to protect her. The silkie just doesn't seem that sturdy. HELP me make up my mind, please. I'm not asking for the RIGHT answer because only I can decide that for myself. I need your advice and opinions, please. These are my pets, and I love them dearly and want what's best for them. Thank you very much. PS-- I already have a tentative appt with the lady with the barred rocks for tomorrow evening, so please give me any advice you can ASAP. I don't want to be flaky, but I also don't want to give up my chicken if it isn't the best choice.