Injured or Sick hen


Aug 1, 2016
Hi. I've been a reader/follower for a while, but this is my first post. We have 14 chickens - 5 buff orpington, 4 RIR, 1 Americauna, 4 barred rocks. The buffs are about 2 years old, and the others are a recent addition of about 6 months ago.

As for my problem, this afternoon I discovered one of the buffs laying on the ground out in the outside run. At first, she appeared to be nesting which wouldn't really be too out of the ordinary. But when I got closer, I could see that she was laying on her side. When I made it in there to look in on her, she didn't come toward me as I entered the gate, or move away as I bent down and reached for her.

Her comb is bright red and upright, though bloodied from some aggressive attention from the rooster. There is a bit of feces matted into the feathers around the vent, though it isn't blocked, and there don't seem to be any obvious signs of disease - blood, unusual colors, etc. and all the other chickens have been in close proximity daily without demonstrating any signs, or leaving any telling droppings. I immediately provided water and food, and she drank aggressively and ate some food, though with the same enthusiasm as she drank. She won't move, except when the rooster comes near her, when she squawks and attempts to flop away.

A little on this one's background with the rooster. From the time he started to crow, this particular hen had been giving him a very hard time. She went so far one time as to tear off and eat a piece of his comb. This also unfortunately has been present for a couple days. Our family member who has been feeding and checking on the birds thought it wasn't important enough to tell anyone, so I don't know exactly how long she has been suffering.

If it is important, we also have turkeys, but they are pretty far away, and they rarely intermingle as the chickens are fenced in - and don't fly out like the turkeys do. The turkeys also don't go in the direction of the coop.

Some specific questions I have are:

  1. Is it common for young/inexperienced roosters to "pick on" injured or ill members of the flock?
  2. Is injury a possibility?
  3. What else should I consider/look for?

Other than isolation/quarantine, what are some immediate steps I can take or specific additional causes to investigate?

Thank you for any help, and for being a new part of the community!


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
I would place her in a cage or dog crate with her own food and water inside the coop or run with the other chickens. Young cockerels are sometimes very rough on pullets when hormones start to rage, especially when the pullets are too young or not interested yet. I have had hens scalped and injured before by having several cockerels running around. If she has a sprain or a broken leg, it may take several weeks of rest to mend. A chicken sling or chair can help to get them off the ground and upright. She also may have been kept from getting enough food and water due to her being low in the pecking order, so I would give some egg or tuna in addition to her daily feed. Vitamins in her water, and a bit of plain yogurt a few days a week may also help. Hopefully she will recover soon, but if a vet is available, that might be the best way to go to diagnose a broken bone. Let us know how she gets along.

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