Our very sweet Blue Wheaten Ameraucana (my avatar as a 5-mo pullet) turned 3-yrs-old recently and after not laying for 7 months started laying her pastel blue eggs again. But our sweet timid girl has turned into an aggressive witch these past couple weeks. She's been picking feather-ripping fights with our littlest Silkie and hassling her in the coop -- the little Silkie tried to defend herself but now cowers from her. Then the Amer started pecking at our youngest bird -- a 11/2 yr old Breda.
We've been teetering on the fence to keep the Amer because she's been a sweet non-combative flockmate for 3 yrs but suddenly she is such a pill we're afraid she'll injure one of the others and that her meanness will be contagious with the flock. I was willing to keep her while she was a sweet flockmate in spite of poor production but now we're afraid she'll be too aggressive -- she's our largest chicken. We lined up a home for her with friends who lost 3 birds to a stray dog and they have 2 EEs left after that attack. They've reinforced their coop/run after the dog attack and are happy to take her since Amers and EEs are so similar. They don't mind that our Amer is not a prolific layer since they are accustomed to the sporadic laying pattern of their own EEs. I'm so thrilled that she will have flockmates of her own kind -- she seemed like an odd loner in our flock.
We had a White Leghorn that was a sweetie for 3 yrs and after her 3rd year she started being aggressive toward her flockmates that we decided to re-home her with a friend's egg-layer flock where she quickly worked her way to alpha. What is it with the number 3-yrs that large fowl start showing their aggressive nature? Our old Silkie bantams don't bother anyone.
I don't know. my girls are coming up on two years and haven't seen that type of behavior. I know the pecking order adjusts with every new bird addition. If anyone else has experience with this issue I would love to hear!