I noticed yesterday that Mini had odd little scabs on the points of her comb. After a thorough inspection, I came to two possible conclusions. Mini either had fowl pox, a non lethal but possibly scarring illness, or one of the other hens was duffing her up. After a brief trip out today, Mini's comb had signs of fresh blood. One of the other girls had decided to really give Mini a hard time. The nasty wench.
I don't know who it is, as when they're outside free ranging there is no sign of nastiness. I suspect that the attacks are happening when Mini is cornered in the coop. If Belinda wasn't welded to the nest, she'd be my number one suspect. As it is, I can't pin down the culprit.
It could be Mabel. However, as top hen she's never really resorted to bashing up her subjects, preferring to chase them away from the treats if they get a bit uppity, and occasionally delivering a deliberate disciplinary peck. Sustained attacks aren't really her thing. She'd much rather eat a lot and poo copiously than get too physical.
So, maybe it's Maude. Maude has always been more involved in the chastisement of the younger girls, but again I don't see this level of viciousness being in her nature. Maude is essentially Mabel's hench-chicken, carrying out diabolical deeds under advisement from Don Mabel.
Doris is definitely a contender. As a lower hen in the pecking order, it makes sense that she'd want to keep Mini in her place. Being as though her best pal Lindy has gone all hormonal and psychotic, she might well turn to bullying as a way of keeping her status.
It's not Maeve. Maeve couldn't even reach the top of Mini's head, so she's in the clear.
Now I have to find a way of disguising the blood. Chickens seem to go crazy at the sight of it, and generally once blood has been shed they all become a bit mental. Blood lust in chickens is particularly unpleasant, and when the girls are shut into the coop at night Mini would have nowhere to hide. So now I need something that tastes foul and covers the colour. You can buy anti peck sprays, but this being a sunday afternoon my chances of finding anywhere open are slimmer than slim. For tonight, Mini will be wearing granny smelling talcum powder on her head. Yes, she'll look ridiculous, and smell like old people, but hopefully no one will eat her from the comb down.