My Head Hen Rules With a Lethal Beak and Execution!

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Cetawin, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    My beautiful splash daughter of the Late Great Suede recently suffered a couple of strokes and has partial paralysis on one side but she is holding her own and receiving some special TLC and care from me. She is watched over by either my head hen, Nutmeg (another daughter of Suede and the late Meg) and my Second in Command, Mary Todd, a big splash English Orp. So needless to say with Nutmeg, Mary Todd and Lancelot, Zena is well guarded. The dynamics of watching them protect and look out for a failing flock member is amazing to me....I have seen it before but Thursday evening they managed to shock me.

    I was inside and heard a ruckus in the coops and seconds later, the boys started going off...Lancelot was yelling, Prince and Ragnar yelling and then the bantam boys started so I grabbed my slippers and ran to the coops to see what was going on. My fear was that possibly Zena has passed away but I opened the coop to a scene that literally put my jaw on the floor.

    Immediately upon opening the door I see birds on the roosts upset, my Lancelot with bloody wattles and as I stepped inside I looked to my right just in time to see Zena lying down with big ole Mary Todd standing guard then my head hen and one of the bossier hens fighting. This was not a normal hen fight, my head hen literally grabbed the other hen by the neck, snatched her out of a ground nest box and tossed her about 18 - 20 inches away against a wall framing 2 x 4 and was flogging her with both feet and attacked her with her beak.

    I was stunned for a second but got my wits and ran to the hens and got the injured hen away from my head hen (getting bite for my trouble). When I got the other hen in my hands, I saw that Nutmeg had torn her neck and throat open and she was bleeding heavily. I headed for the house with her but she literally bled to death in my hands before I could get to the front door.

    Going back to the coop to check everyone, I began to sort out what happened....apparently from the way Mary Todd was standing guard over Zena, the bossier hen must have started picking on her and the head hen, Nutmeg had enough of it and she attacked the aggressor while Mary Todd protected the failing hen. My poor Lancelot obviously stuck his beak where it did not belong and got his wattles bloodied for his trouble so he went back to the roosts and let the head hen deal out the punishment. So my beautiful daughter of Suede and Meg turned executioner.

    She, like her other Meg, is a tough gal and rules with an iron beak and stare but apparently she is not one to be pushed either. Sadly I lost a hen but the coop rules are simply in their world....Do as Nutmeg decrees or face the consequences, I just did not expect them to be so brutal.

    Nutmeg is the dark girl in front and Mary Todd is the splash behind her....the hen that was killed looks like her sister who is the third girl in the picture.


    I have never heard of a hen killing but Nutmeg certainly did and she was not backing down. Had I not seen it I would have 1. not believed it and 2 been flipping out in the morning wondering ripped the neck open on a bird and worried about a predator getting inside when in fact it was head hen execution.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Nutmeg is her mother's daughter, that's for sure, though Meg never had to resort to true violence. One of those deadpan looks with her hooded eyes coupled with her massive size was always enough. Maybe Nutmeg has been learning a little more from Lancelot's zero tolerance policy. But, it was in defense of a frail hen who could not defend herself so in their world, that makes it "righteous". Nutmeg is an amazing hen!

    I'm so sorry for Zena's imminent passing, been there myself, knowing it was coming, but when they have the light in their eyes and the others are obviously attached to them and watching over them, I've always felt it best to let things be as they are, as you do and as our vet said as well when he examined Zena. One daughter of Suede defending her half sister is a good thing. Suede produced some mighty fine daughters and sons, with Meg and with Smoky and Dusty.
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Well Now I had some BR's I got from Kathy and I can't say what happened. The rooster was the meanest ever and he'd attacked me on a few occasions. I literally knocked him out.

    But there was a hen who was brutalized and she would not go into the coop at night but hid out somewhere outdoors. I gave her away rather than see her get hurt.

    Then there was another hen who refused to go in and I didn't realize she was being picked on until one morning when I found her dead.

    They'd been together since they were chicks and never separated so I have no idea what happened. They're all gone now.
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Crazy - imagine if you had not seen it, like you say, I would assume a predator.
  5. ApiaryandAviary

    ApiaryandAviary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2014
    Wow, I actually had to reread parts, almost unbelievable. Almost. But you witnessed most. Surprising. I have witnessed Chicken king and Queen behaviors before. The girls really doneule the roost.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015

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