Buffy’s R & R

Flock dynamics don’t change “just because.” Hens don’t suddenly become aggressive because “they’re mean.” When a stable and content flock attacks one chicken, that behavior is provoked by something. But, we humans don’t always know what that something is.

Two days ago, Edwina turned on Buffy. Siouxsie also decided that Buffy should be pounded on. They got Buffy’s comb (what little is left of it from other past aggressions.) Blood spurted. Buffy huddled under the ramp.

So, I set up the Rest & Relaxation Coop to the left of the old bunny hutch.


Because wire isn’t good for a chicken to stand on, I bedded it with hay. Buffy can sit there, with food and water within reach, and watch the other hens. She spent a few hours doing that today. Meanwhile, the other hens were certain that Buffy had something much more delicious than pellets in the feed cup. (She doesn’t.)


What’s perfect about this hutch is that there’s a cozy inside area. It has a wooden floor, so it’s bedded with pine shavings which are absorbent and easy to clean. Buffy has difficulty walking, but she moves between these two rooms seemingly with ease. She rather likes her peaceful, alone space, and was not pleased when I opened the door to take the photo.


If it was any other chicken, I’d say that she has only days to live. But it’s Buffy. She’s a tough old bird. We’ll see what a little R & R does for her. In the meanwhile, she’s out of view on the cams, but rest assured that she’s living in top-notch accomodations.


  1. My hens including my blur Silkie but excluding one of my white silkies have been tormenting my other white Silkie, so I may put the 2 white silkies in thier own coop, just for thief safety that have plucked her head and drew blood a couple.weeks ago so she.is now sporting a blue rinse of blue-kote.

  2. Oh, thank you for updating us on Buffy. I hadn’t seen her on the cam in a few days. I was wondering if something had happened. I’m glad she has such a thoughtful owner. She looks comfy in her new space. Hang in there Buffy. xo

  3. What a nice safehouse for Buffy! Maybe the others will treat her with more respect after seeing her in her own house with her very own feed cup full of imagined delights. May I ask where you bought the R&R coop, or was it built for you? It looks like it might make a good temporary home for a broody hen and her chicks, too. Happy healing, Buffy!

  4. Glad Buffy out of harms way. Thought I had seen a little too much attention being shown to her and wondered if the others sensed something was amiss. I’m sure she’s comfy now xxx

  5. Inspired by HenCam- and with the prospect of a rural home in the near future- I picked up a book called “The Complete Guide to Small-Scale Farming” (Melissa Nelson). It has an interesting passage about controlling bullying by roosters by remaining with the flock and acting as the dominant rooster oneself, restraining him to prevent him from eating before the hens, or mating with the hens. It sounds like one has to move into the chicken coup for a while (!), but I wonder if a similar approach would work with bullying hens. (Well, “bullying” is an anthropocentric term, but you know what I mean!)
    This attack probably is related to Buffy’s change in activity level. The pecking might be is a survival mechanism, to drive away sick members of the flock before they can share their disease.

    • What you’ve described are only temporary, and I for one, don’t want to have to move into the coop! Bullying with hens can be controlled through management and space, and having the right mix of breeds. I’ve written a lot about it in various blogs (check the archives) and the FAQs.

  6. Thank you so much for the Buffy update! I kept looking for her and was hoping that she was just away getting the spa treatment. And there she is in her own fancy hotel room with a view! You are such a great chicken mom.

  7. The fact that you had to say something in your blog about buffy, makes me believe I am not the only nut ball looking to check in on her each morning. Nice to know I am not alone.

  8. LOL Christine O. I’m afraid you are in an extensive “nutball” community. I for one am happy to be included!!

  9. Thanks for this published update about Buffy. I was just sure she had gone to the Rainbow Bridge since my daily searches for her have been in vain. Thank you so much for loving the animals and giving them such good care. I feel sorry that Buffy’s friends attack her… yet, I’m so thankful she has the personality to keep on keeping on in spite of it. I know she enjoys having friends and she has enjoyed Edwina, so I cannot understand why Edwina is so mean. I’ll keep Buffy in my thoughts and be so happy that she is enjoying the hutch (she has always liked that hutch). Thanks, again. I love Buffy hen, (and you!)

  10. Add me to the nutball list. I’ve been looking for Buffy too – every morning – switching back and forth to and from all possible views. Thank you so much for the update. Sorry to hear about Edwina and Siouxie turning on her. She deserves a nice vacation at the R&R hutch. Her suite is ever so nicely appointed, I might add.

  11. It looks as if Buffy is saying “You woke me from my evening nap! Now go away so I can rest peacefully.”

  12. Sign me up for the nutball list, too. I saw Edwina and Twinkydink seeming to tend to Buffy while she crouched in the corner of the Little Barn. Had hoped that Edwina was being the good friend in time of need as she was to Eleanor. Glad that Buffy is getting some extra TLC and hope she’s better soon.

  13. Thanks for the update on Buffy. I agree that you are a good hen Mom. You remind me of the story about the Jewish mother who killed the healthy hen to make chicken soup for the sick one. :-) That story is what prompted the writing of all of those chicken soup for the soul books that were so popular.

  14. I ‘m a very recent visitor to your website, which I discovered when a FB friend of mine posted a link to your Hencam. I don’t have chickens but I have read nearly all your FAQs and am addicted to checking in on your hens and goats. I was horrified to watch one of your hens attacking Buffy the other day and felt so helpless. I was very relieved when I checked back and saw that someone had posted a message to let you know what was going on (I wish I would have thought to do that!). I, too, have been looking for Buffy and am happy to see her in her new coop.

  15. That’s why it’s important to keep eyes & ears open to the sounds from outside. I check on my crew about four times each day. They know that they are loved. Their presents to me are special too and much appreciated <(• ) // who would have ever thought……

  16. So glad old Lovely is enjoying her accommodations, I always look for her first when I tune in. We have had some aggresion in our cooperative’s flock of 53 hens and 1 rooster. Some girls needed hen saddles and then we noticed the rooster’s tush going rapidly bald! Haven’t witnessed any feather plucking but it’s got to be payback. It’s a real hen, if you know what I mean.

  17. Terry,
    We took 5 little ducklings to the nursing home that my Mom resides at, yesterday. They are a little over a week old. We took a little plastic swimming pool, and it was a beautiful day here, in the 70’s, so we were able to take them outside in a courtyard. About a dozen residents were able to sit outside and watch them swim! Some just had to touch them, and some literally laughed and laughed, as if just seeing them gave them pure joy! They seemed mesmerized watching them! I am going to tell the owners about what you are going to be doing. I doubt they will purchase any farm animals, but at least they might allow me to bring mine in, from time to time!
    I have a question about your goat brothers. I have an opportunity to purchase a Nigerian/Bohr cross that was born in Jan, 2013, he could weigh 85-120 lb, full grown. I think for a pet, maybe I should wait and get a full blooded Nigerian, so he will be smaller. Do your goat brothers weigh less than 100 lb? I am checking to see if these people have another to go with this one.
    Thanks, hope Buffy is feeling much better!

    • The boys are on the big side for Nigerian Dwarfs. They weigh upwards of 90 pounds. About 20 pounds more than those nice petite ones!

  18. Add me to the nutball list too. I’ve been looking for Buffy too, every morning, switching back and forth to and from all possible views. Thank you so much for the update. You are a good hen mom! I Like Buffy’s R&R hutch. Get well wishes for Buffy!

  19. We have a barred rock that seems to be the one gal that the group picks on. I hate seeing it! She was always shy and a bit of a loner, but now they are just pecking at her. She recently lost vision in one eye (not sure if it was coincidence or a sickness or a peck) but I am wondering if maybe they know she has a “weakness” and are throwing her out of the flock.

  20. been worried about buffy along w/ all her other supporters. do mu morning chores and think of her. no chickens, just ordinary flying birds, but i’ve fed them so long, i swear, i can call them and they come!
    bird-brain is a misnomer.

  21. Guess I’m another one of the nutballs! I checked a couple of times yesterday and didn’t see Buffy and was wondering what might have happened. I spent a good 15 minutes yesterday afternoon standing at my kitchen sink watching a pair of bluebirds come and go at my bird bath. I wonder if they’re the pair that nests in the bluebird house out front every year. Over the last month I have seen them with the cardinals cleaning the berries off the holly bushes. Never knew bluebirds ate holly berries. Thought they were insect eaters. Maybe their feathers will take on a purple tinge!! :-)

  22. I’m also a nutball. I shed tears when Candy died but I think I will be able to keep a stiff upper lip when Buffy passes. She is a favorite though.

  23. Sorry to hear about Buffy, but glad she is still alive and hopefully will do much better in your hutch then Blackie did two years ago. The world has gone upside down if Siouxsie has become agressive and I guess is know the number two hen of the older flock under Edwina. I hope when you mix the two flocks that Edwina and Siouxsie don’t end up beating up anyone or getting beat up themselves. And I do miss Candy too. We had to three weeks ago put our almost 13 year old papillon down because he devolped a malignant tumor of the spleen and even if we had done surgery and chemco therapy/radiation at most it would have added three months to his life. Neither me nor my mother would want to put through that, and while Lily is younger and a female. Something like what Morgan appears to be one of the most common cancers dogs can get, though more commonly in elderly male dogs. And it gets to a point where even though you love your animal, it’s better to let go of them. I am glad though that Buffy is not yet their, and will continue to do as well as she had.

    • Kit, so sorry to hear about the loss of your papillon (I love that breed, by the way.) You’re so right not to put your dog through the trauma of the treatment for such a short return.

  24. Kit that is so sad, Im sorry, I worry about our 15 years old Maltese Only because he is 15 he is spunky and spry even though he is arthritic he still manages to bounce around… Just remember, I read a version of this somewhere and I dont remember the quote exactly but it goes a lttle like this… The last act of love and kindness you can show your pet, is to know when it’s time to say goodbye…

  25. Thanks Jonathan and Terry. It’s been hard, even our two cats miss Morgan. He raised both of them, right know though it will a be while before we get another dog. I am in school and mother is working, we both like to travel this year and though I am eyeing getting a third cat, a young siamese mixed cat that is foster care right know with her kitten. As a playmate for our two year old Maine Coon, our other cat Lilith is 12 and is not one to be playful. Jesse though likes other animals and I think would bond with another cat his age or so. We won’t be getting another dog for a while.

  26. My welsummer is picked on often. She is bottom of the pecking order of 10. She has the funniest backward walk. I have never seen any f my other chickens walk backwards! I am glad Buffy is getting R&R. How old is she?

    • To find out the ages of all of the animals, go to the Who’s Who button on the HenCam page and then click on The Animals.