Our chickens are 8 weeks old. They've been raised in the brooder with one another since day 1. We haven't had any issues with them determining a pecking order. We have 10 chicks. The 1 Olive Egger, 2 Wyandottes, and 2 Easter Eggers have been on the top of the pecking order and the 1 Cochin, 2 Brahmas, and 2 Barred Rocks have been on the bottom. They have adequate food, water, and space to roam around. However, this morning (with maybe a 3 hour gap in between when we checked on them in the middle of the night and when we got up this morning), one of our Wyandottes appeared to have trampled our Olive Egger to death.
We got up this morning to find one of our Wyandottes sitting on top of our dead Olive Egger. The Wyandottes are our smallest chickens by far at this point. Although they've hung around with our Olive and Easter Eggers, trying to assert themselves as the top chickens and are by far our least friendly breed, they're sill friendly enough for us to be astonished by them killing another chick! Our Olive Egger was the largest, fastest, and by far the top chick on the pecking order. She's been one of the friendliest toward us and by far the dominant chick since day 1. So, to find her lifeless body with a Wyandotte sitting on top of her this morning was more than a little disconcerting.
I've had Wyandottes before and never had a problem. Although I've heard that they don't bear confinement well, I never imagined that they would kill another chicken! Have I been lucky so far? Do they just trample other chickens do death in a fight for the top spot? They're not competing for resources. They have more than enough food and water. The Easter Egger used to sit on top of the feeder looking out over the rest of the flock. But it appears that a Wyandotte cornered her on top of the feeder and trampled her to death. I found the Olive Egger's lifeless body inside the feeder with the Wyandotte sitting on top of her this morning.
Now I'm worried about whether the Wyandottes are dangerous. Should I remove them from the rest of the flock and/or re-home them? The last thing I want is for chickens to be killing one another! I've had a couple broods without any problems like this. Did I just have a bad egg?
I also might be wrong in how the Olive Egger died. She didn't appear to have any scratch marks. She may have just had chicken SIDS or a heart attack. I don't know why else an otherwise perfectly healthy chick would die. Should I be worried that another chick was sitting over her lifeless corpse? I didn't actually see the confrontation take place and am only assuming that it was a fight to the death because a Wyandotte was sitting on top of the dead Olive Egger. Does this happen sometimes? Should I be worried about homicidal chicks? Or is it normal for a chick to sit on top of another dead chicken? The Olive Egger was still warm when we pulled her out. She was unfortunately already dead, but it's possible that she could have died from a number of different ways and the Wyandotte was coincidentally sitting on top of her lifeless corpse. Although there was no blood in her stool and she wasn't lethargic or showing any other signs of malcontent. The only scenario that I can come up with that makes any sense is that another chick cornered her over the feeder and trampled her to death. After all, she was the only chick who liked to hang out on top of the feeder and is now dead inside of the feeder. What else should I be thinking happened to her?
I'm very upset and worried about how to continue. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.