hen acts like it hurts when picked up


In the Brooder
Jun 18, 2015
We have a formerly sweet and cuddly ameracana hen that loved to be held and carried around. We called her "the football" because you could carry her any way you wanted and she didn't mind. The last week or so, when we try to pick her up, she runs away. She acts like it hurts when we hold her. Her feathers are scraggly and dull looking. A lot of her tail feathers are missing. I don't think she's laying anymore. She seems to be eating well. She just seems kind of sad. We lost a couple of her flockmates this summer...could chickens make themselves sick over grief?

I don't even know how to begin to try to figure out what's wrong with her. I'm afraid we might be losing her. Does anyone have any ideas about what cold be wrong?

Thank you,

Maybe its because she is moulting? I hear they can get a bit cranky or could she possibly be going broody? Or both - who knows. Either or a combination of the suggestions may be the cause.

If she's not setting all day and isn't losing weight, then I'd say molting... those new pin feathers coming in are very uncomfortable and that increases if pressure is applied to them... think of it like a bunch of splinters or those little fuzzy cactus spines all over your skin, or even a bad sunburn... hurts if someone grabs you right? Just give her some extra protein, like scrambled/hard boiled eggs, cat food, or tuna to help while she grows new feathers... once she's done molting she should go back to her friendly self... :)
Well, she had a lot of feathers on her back and wing that got pulled out by the over-zealous roosters. We recently separated the hens and roosters because the roosters were constantly jumping on the hens. Her feathers are growing back in now...so maybe that is the reason...
The reason why the roosters are jumping in her is because they are trying to mate. How many roosters and hens do you have in her pen. She is probobly being over mated which is causing her back feathers to get ripped out and maybe even brusied. I personally would get rid of the roosters because they are hurting your hens
Yes, I know we have too many roosters...the feed store's 95% guarentee of chicks beings hens didn't turn out so well. We ended up with 3 roosters and 9 hens. By the time we found out they were roosters we were already attached to them. We have separated them from the hens. They are all about to move into a bigger coop with separate runs...

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