Hen aggressive in coop after sister died-normal? what to do?


9 Years
May 19, 2010
Franklin, TN
We lost a hen recently and her sister is behaving in a really aggressive manner towards the other hens. She doesn't want to let them in the coop and is pecking at them. Feathers are flying. The hen we lost (she'd been battling an illness) was the top of the pecking order even while she was ill with this one right behind her as second in command. I'm wondering if this behavior is normal and she's trying to assert her new position as top hen or do chickens grieve as we do? Not sure if there is much I can do but there's some serious stress going on in the coop tonight. I didn't notice this behavior last night but tonight is pretty bad.
Any ideas?
im sorry my guess would be the same..
once top dog..... errrra bird is lost or come up missing for any reason attack.. relocated or have you a whole new pecking order has to be astablished..
so everyone is on high stress.. im sure if you just give it time or remove the sister hen for a while to have the others work out thiers now.. and try to reintroduce her later????
I thought about pulling her out of the coop til everyone got settled but we really don't have another place to put her unless we brought her in the house. She's not usually the first one in the coop - her sister always was. Tonight, she was up in it before dusk and 'defending her turf'. It's chaos in there though it seems to be settling down. I feel really bad for her - these two have been together since they were born and now she's gone. She just got done molting too so I'm sure that's not helping.
Each hen that tried to get up, she's attacking but now I think everyone got in. I'd better do a spot check to make sure no one got hurt.
Kind of freaked me out as my desk looks into the coop (my husband built me a window in the coop so I can watch them while I work through my window) and all I could see (and hear) were beaks and feathers flying.
All seems quiet at this point...we'll see how it goes. I do wonder if it is just a pecking order or if there really is the sense of loss.
im not sure... im kinda the person whose says time and time again "dont huminize your animals" i think its just nature taking place and she now has to assurt herself as dominant female.
i think if you just give it time all will calm down.
good luck..

oh and please dont take this in any sence of an attack on you.. this is just how i feel and your more then welcome to think differantly
No offense at all - everyone has different views on things. I think you are right - she's asserting herself - one of them needs to be the top hen and she wants to be it. Still some rustling going on but I think we are quiet for the night. Need to go round up my doofus Polish that roosts in the trees and stick her in there. Hope it doesn't rile them all up again!

lol i want a polish!! lol they all sound very fun!!! hahaha what a pain that you have you have to go get it out of the tree every night..
i think they might stir a little.. but calm right down when you close the door
I thnk the birds know when one of them goes missing or dies. Some folk on here have deffinately seen what they interpret as grief. However I think these Birds are resilliant creatures and are just doing what nature intended working out who is next boss!! It could be a bit noisy for the next while but it will settle down. I do think there is some feeling with birds I sure saw it when my Bertha lost a baby chick. She looked for it for quite a few days before giving up and she did look quite sad. Then when the lads ( Roo boys) grew up I had them re-homed. Bertha still stood by the fence waiting for me to bring them every morning for a good few weeks after they had gone. - I felt rotten!
Now I am doing meat birds though - so maybe will have to NOT tell Bertha!

Oesdog - it will sort after a while!
LOL - I do think so. Mimi was the queen and now she is gone so chaos has ensued. The only one who wasn't getting attacked was our GLW who grew up with Violet, all the rest were getting the brunt of it. Hopefully it'll settle out in a few days. Luckily they are only cooped up at night and can get away from her during the day.
oesdog - I do think there is something going on with Violet besides just the top hen title - we even noticed it a bit when Mimi (the one who passed away) was at the vet for a few days trying to recover from the illness that did her in.
Evelle - they did settle in - probably because our Polish won't sit on the perch - she 'roosts' in one of the nest boxes so the others don't really notice or mess with her when she comes in. For a chicken, she sure is an odd duck. We have to keep a ladder set up under the tree to get her because my husband trimmed the tree way up so maybe she wouldn't jump in it but she just flew higher. It's always the same tree too!
Hahaha!!! Oh no!! That's Fun:) at least its the same tree
I hear they aren't very bright.. Something about their brains are open on top of their heads.
Never had a problem with chicken not going inside. I even had to chase my duck out of the chicken coop to go to their beds

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