It seems to have started because our overall coop floor area was perhaps minimal. Ten chicks (we eventually lost one to an internal disease), so then 9 chicks in only 60 sq feet. But as well, from what I have read here, this is not necessarily an unusual condition for competition amongst hens, and is not necessarily relieved in ingrained birds even if they get more space, especially when different breeds (and thus perhaps different sizes...) are involved. Perhaps predictably, the two largest hens, Rhodies, chase the smallest (two leghorns) around, and peck at them. These two hens have become downright psychologically scarred, and another one, a Rhode Island as well, hides in the coop house retreating into the nest box pretty much all day. Sad! Her plumage, oddly, is impeccable, since she doesn't allow them to get to her. she also took to batch brooding, hiding about 20 eggs from us this summer, in a far corner of the coop house, and sitting on them all day. (of course, we had to toss all those eggs...) I now gently take her out of the nest box and give her "outside" free time. Anyhow, I'm now building a much larger coop (9 birds sharing a total of 175 sq feet), one which will also have an isolation section, just via chicken wire, but it will house all the poor birds who took the brunt of these attacks, and I'll leave the aggressor hens to themselves. Question is: will this behavior subside with those aggressive birds when they are finally separated, or should they (gulp!) become chicken stew? Will they settle down? (can I whisper what their fate might be if they don't go "nice"? will they possibly "get it" from my tone of voice? ) Any experience out there?