Hey y'all! Sorry in advance, a little long because I want to give my behavioral observations & it's my first time with chickens so I'm not sure what exactly is relevant/normal/etc....
So about a month ago I got three darling ~8 week old chicks from a good friend of mine, who'd ordered a big batch online and did all the brooder-work for me. My stepson build a small coop/run set up, because with a baby on the way (less than month now!) I figured limiting myself to 3 would be a good starting point. One is a light brahma, one is a black australorp, and one is an ameracauna (or EE possibly?).
I noticed right off the bat that the brahma (Tallulah, or Lulu) is a bossy b-word. I'd been thinking maybe she was just flighty, because she seems nervous about everything (breathing too hard? Oh god back in the run! Everyone! Go!), but I did see her, for no apparent reason, hunkering down and chasing my little ameracauna (Ginger) randomly, sometimes giving her a peck or two. She would occasionally, but less often, do the same to Moony (the black australorp), but Moony doesn't put up with her sh*t as much, so would move a little then go about her business. Lately things have gotten a bit more escalated. When I open up the run for them to free range, I often have to go into the coop and carry poor Ginger out, because about half the time when she tries to come out on her own (last, usually, she seems a bit more shy than the other two) Lulu will crouch down and chase her back inside. She will do the same thing sometimes even when they're already out and foraging. It's gotten so that when I sit out with them and Lu starts chasing Ginger she will run over to me and huddle near me while I try to shoo Lulu away. Ginger used to stick by Moony more, but recently Moony's been with Lu more, because she is first out the door and doesn't let Lu chase her back inside (although she does get chased around a bit outside).
I've been worried about Lu being a closet-Roo pretty much since I got them, just based on her attitude/behavior, but figured some chickens are just mean sometimes, maybe she just wants to be really sure she's at the top of the pecking order, or whatever, so maybe not? Now a couple things have gotten me worried about Moony as well.... One, her noises are less "clucking", more long, drawn out "baaaaaaaaa, baaaaaaa", except deeper sounding? Not sure what crowing sounds like before it's an actual crow, but worried it could be a lead-up? She also has by far the reddest and largest comb and wattles. But being as they're different breeds, maybe it's breed related? Lastly I've now twice seen her and Lu "get into it" while free ranging in the backyard, where Lu will start to chase her, but Moony fights back, and they both fly up a bit and have a quick foot-fight. After today's foot-fight both of them stood about 2 feet apart, fluffed up and preening for a couple minutes. At least one was making a weird honking-like sound (I think it was Lu?).... I always assumed that was just a rooster thing, but again, first time with chickens, so I dunno?
Today even Moony ran at poor Ginger a couple times and gave her a couple pecks. I love Ging, she's the only one who's ok with me picking her up (among other things, I'm worried about when/if someone gets sick, and I can only handle one of the three to investigate) - Moony will tolerate it if I can get her in a spot she can't escape, but loudly protests the whole time, and Lulu will straight up lose her sh*t and run around like a crazy I-don't-even-know-what, flapping and yelling, so I haven't held her or picked her up more than maybe twice because I'm worried about hurting her wings trying to get a hold of her. I'm a little over 8 months pregnant and have to bend over to reach into the coop (and it's a little deep) so I don't have the best access at the moment, but that would typically be where I think I have the best chance of getting at her.
Not sure what to do, even if they are all hens... I don't like Ginger getting picked on, but she's definitely my favorite so I wouldn't want to rehome her. She actually seems like she likes me. Moony is cool but a bit aloof. She seems more accepting of me, or at least knows that when I come out I usually have treats, so she will come chat for a few. Tallulah I would be much more a fan of if she wasn't so mean! She is gorgeous, but I can't even reach into the bag of mealworms (yep, definitely trying to bribe them into liking me) without her freaking out and running away or trying to chase the others. It's gotten minutely better since I've gotten her, but only in the sense that she will run a few feet into the bushes rather than all the way into the run. Also really really not down with how she is constantly charging/pecking at the others. They will be just fine, peacefully pecking their way thru the grass, when suddenly Lu will crouch down and charge one. It honestly seems like sometimes she thinks she should be the only one let outside.
And if I do have 2 roos I will have to get rid of them both (can't have roosters in town), which leaves me with just poor Ginger by herself. Do I try to tackle introducing new chickens who hopefully won't be so mean? Worried about timing with human baby coming soon too... Gah. Anyway, I know the pics are not the greatest - just cell phone pics, and the camera sound upsets Lu and makes Moony suspicious so they don't sit still real well for them... but better than nothing I guess....