I am a new backyard farmer in Sweden and this summer also started my chicken adventure with a little flock. I have a rooster and a pullet of a mixed dwarf breed and two pullets of a Swedish heirloom breed. They lived in a tractor all summer, but moved into a coop in the barn a few weeks back and enjoy unlimited free-ranging outside during the daytime. They are fairly tame, eat out of our hands and have always been gentle, even around the kids. The dwarf hen started laying half a month ago, the other hens are still too young to be laying.
Yesterday I noticed that our rooster was roughly chasing around and pulling feathers of the dwarf hen. She's always been his favourite and he's always been very gentle to her, so I was surprised to see him so rough with her. She seemed to be scared, kept running away and trying to hide in bushes and on higher branches. Later that day they seemed to calm down, but I noticed her clucking almost non-stop, not her usual behaviour.
When I let them out this morning, I noticed that she wasn't coming out of the coop and found her in a nesting box. Thinking that she might be broody or laying, I left her there. Now in the afternoon I checked on her and found her in a different nesting box. I felt no egg under her, so I gently pulled her out. She gave no resistance and when I put her down, she proceeded out of the coop - her movements were normal. Outside the rooster saw her immediately, came over and she stood with her wings slightly spread from her body, her neck feathers ruffled and her head slightly down, not sick looking, but maybe aggressive? The rooster again started chasing and pecking her violently, until she fled back into the coop. She is eating and drinking normally.
I'm a bit worried now - is this normal chicken behaviour? Is there something wrong with her or with him? The rooster seems to be his usual gentle self towards the other hens. What could be going on? Help!!