Yesterday I finally took the step of separating the two Dominique bantams from the Black Rocks. Poor Imogen has been on the receiving-end of some nasty, sustained bullying and this is the result *sigh*
The bantams and the big girls had lived together quite happily for about three years but after Imogen had a leg problem, the bullying began. You can still see where I sprayed her a little while ago with gentian violet (and anti-pecking spray!) after the first attack by the Black Rocks. Things did calm down for a short while but they have started on her again and have been making it very difficult for her to get to the food and water.
Of course, in hindsight I should have separated the bantams after the first attack but I was hoping that peace would return to my little flock :-(
It wasn't easy to get a photo of Imogen as she was determined to sit with the early morning sun on her back! But you can still see how badly pecked she is.
Hens are most definitely not the nice-but-dim creatures that some folk think they are!
I set up the spare run ~ which is in fact a collapsible rabbit run/shelter ~ near the log stores and made it nice and homely for the two bantams. They were a little worried for a few minutes but soon settled down.
I sat out there with them for a while yesterday afternoon and it was lovely to see Imogen start to relax, although she did still make a bit of a fuss if she thought Martha was getting a little too close. I was very happy when Imogen began to stretch out her wings in the sunshine, and preen her poor bare back and feathers :-) After a while, she settled herself down in the wood chippings and had a little doze.
She is looking a lot happier this morning and tucked in to the tomatoes I gave all the girls with obvious delight LOL She is also okay with being close to Martha again, which is wonderful to see.
Poor Imogen has been through such a lot in recent months. After the first bout of attacks, she was looking very poorly (I know, I know ~ I should have separated her then) ~ lethargic, sitting in a corner of the hen house and hardly going outside at all. But she rallied round and although the others still bullied her, she started to perk up. It became obvious, though, that the Black Rocks were not going to stop attacking her and so the only solution was to put Imogen and Martha into their own run.
I shall keep the bantams and the big girls separated until all Imogen's feathers have grown back and then see if the Black Rocks will accept them back. If not, then I shall just have to keep them apart as I do not want little Imogen to go through anything like this again.