Do chickens smell illness/weakness if their humans handle a sick bird?

fkmcclure

Hatching
Mar 30, 2015
7
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My roo, Servo, has always been the gentlest beast. But last week, as I was carrying a badly injured hen out of the chicken run, he charged me aggressively. The rest of that day, he was not happy for me to be around. The next morning, he seemed back to normal, eating out of my hand, pretty happy to see me. Everything has been fine for the past five days.

This afternoon, the hen died and I handled her body a fair bit to wrap it up for a necropsy. I went back into the chicken run shortly afterwards, fed the chooks some scratch (again, Servo happily ate out of my hand). I collected the day's eggs and, as I was leaving, Servo went into attack mode pretty relentlessly for 90 seconds, even following me out of the run, until we pushed him back in with a long stick.

He also happens to have JUST turned a year old.

I'm wondering if this is just typical coming-of-age behavior or if it's possible he could smell the sick on me. I'm hoping it's the latter, if it's the former, I suppose he could have been the one to hurt her. I would be heartbroken to have to get rid of him.
 

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