We've been raising chickens for a little over a year now. We started out with White Leghorns, which we still have (4 hens) and about 9 1/2 months ago got 4 Barred Rocks, one of which turned out to be a rooster. Actually, he was the sweetest little rooster I'd ever seen, as he'd interact with us, hop up on us, and even still allows us to pet him; he's not nearly as mean as our last rooster, who was a leghorn and would attack us!
Anyway, our leghorns, already have being a flock of their own, really picked on the rocks until the rocks grew much bigger than them, however, there were never any injuries, just pecking & some chasing. With the integrated flock, there are two dominant females who get along great, but really show everyone else who is boss; they are called Baby Bird and Mama (my two best layers!) They really give the rooster hell, even now that he's a big ole boy!
Over the last week and a half or so, one of my dominants (Baby Bird, actually), has started looking awfully rough. A lot of her feathers are gone around the back of her neck, back, wings, and her tail feathers are completely gone; We chalked it up to molt but I was almost positive they're too young to molt and none of her sisters are losing any feathers. Upon further investigation last night, I noticed she looked pretty disheveled, definitely not herself, more "naked", and she's stopping laying completely (which I figure is from stress or winter)....My husband & I sat in the coop area and watched the birds in their roost yesterday evening because we had a hunch that one of the other birds was beating her up. What we witnessed is going to end our rooster up in a pot.
He was chasing her all around the inside of their house/roost, mounting her (which is to be expected of course, as hes coming into his sexual maturity), pecking her, grabbing her neck for no reason, and just being so violent toward her; We could see the fear in her eyes. Mind you, she is my MOST dominant female, even more so than Mama bird, I would say. What we also witnessed was Mama protecting Baby Bird, coming in between the Rooster and Baby Bird, chasing the rooster away, pecking him real hard, and fanning her feathers up at him. I am almost convinced that the Rooster is trying to kill this hen.
After witnessing this, we put our medium sized dog crate in the roost and locked the rooster in it to make sure he didn't bother the hens anymore and so he didn't kill our egg layers. Has anyone experienced this behavior from their roosters towards a certain hen? She's the only one he is wreaking havoc on and I personally don't think she will make it another week with him in there.