Polish being bullied now lethargic


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 7, 2014
Philadelphia, TN
I have a flock of 13, and one of them is a Polish. They are all just over 6 months old and were hatched on the same day and raised together. A while back I noticed her head feathers were being pecked and got some BluKote spray. It improved but seems like it gets better for a while then gets worse again. She keeps herself segregated from the rest of the flock, stays to herself outside, often in the coop during the day when the rest of the flock is outside, sleeps alone on a different roost than the rest. Things have taken a bad turn. She seems lethargic and is being very quiet. She doesn't really react a whole lot when I pet her, which is abnormal, and only slightly reacts when I pick her up. Instead of roosting to sleep she has been laying either on top of a poop board or on the floor of the coop. I can find nothing externally wrong with her other than her head feathers being pecked. Her wings and legs are working perfectly fine. No sores that I can find or parasites. My husband and I both work during the day so I'm not 100% sure about her food and water intake. She seems to be walking and moving around and moving her wings just fine but very slowly and timidly. I have moved her to an unused top nest box to be more comfortable and hidden. This evening when I came home from work and went out to lock the girls in the coop for the night, everyone was inside except for her. She was outside laying partially under the ramp going into the coop and it was already dark. Can this all be happening due to bullying and her head feathers getting pecked out? Or is there possibly something more going on that is not related? We are rehoming her with a friend that has a very gentle flock, but I don't want to give her a sick chicken if there is something more going on other than bullying. Please help!


Free Ranging
15 Years
Jan 26, 2007
central Ohio
The stress of the bullying has probably set her up for something else. Have you dewormed her? Keep her in a pen by herself but where she can still see the others. Feed her up well, if she doesn't have much appetite you could try giving her some oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, fresh chopped fruit, (no citrus) tomato, banana. Not a whole lot, you still want her to eat her regular food, but enough to be tempting. You can also try moistening the food a bit. If you have not dewormed her, do so, and deworm the flock also. Use a broad spectrum gentle dewormer. I have found that our flock does not like chickens that do not look like them. And how they know, I have no idea.
We have just one Ameracauna hen, and the others are always picking on her, but she has her rooster who's also an Ameracauna, so she can hang out with him. And the two of them do seem to keep to themselves. They will not let her set her eggs, either. It's annoying, as I got her and the roo in the hopes of boosting our green egg production, The other hens will chase her off the nest and peck holes in her eggs if they can.
Anyway, point being, it's always best to have two of one breed, or at least similar appearances, so they can hang together. And no, don't give her to your friend until you are sure she is well. In addition of being unfair to your friend and her flock, the stress of the move on top of being unwell might kill your hen. Look carefully for other symptoms. Do her droppings look normal, any nasal discharge, swollen eyes or face? Is she of normal weight, is her breast bone covered with muscle and fat? Or does it seem to stick out? Do you notice any lice or mites? Even if you don't notice any, you can put a few drops of Ivermectin for cattle on her back, between her wings.. That is good stuff. If you use that, you don't need to use dewormer too. It sounds as if she is already very ill, but you still might have a good chance of saving her if you act quickly. You may know already that chickens conceal symptoms of illness or injury as long as they can, and they are good at it. Once they start showing symptoms, they're in trouble.
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