Polish Crested Loner...Is she depressed?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cadillac Jill, May 10, 2011.

  1. Cadillac Jill

    Cadillac Jill Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a white crested black polish pullet that's about 6 months old. She has a very poofy crest, which renders her almost blind. I've trimmed the feathers on four different occasions, and I don't seem to be able to achieve good visibility. The more I trim, the poofier the other feathers get, and they fill in the newly greated gaps. She was fairly tolerant of the process at first, but now wants no part of it.

    Up until about 3 weeks ago, she got along fine. She would sometimes get left behind from the rest of the (free ranging) flock, but she would always cry out loudly, and her rooster would come and get her. For some reason, that has changed recently. Several times I've found her way off by herself, just standing there. When I observe her being left behind, I notice that she no longer cries out, and her rooster doesn't seem to notice that she's missing. She goes in to roost about three hours earlier than everybody else, and she looks so pitiful hunched over on the roost in broad daylight.

    I know she's at the bottom of the pecking order. Is it possible that she's been made an outcast by the flock? Or perhaps she's depressed? (It never occurred to me before now that chickens could have mental health issues.) She seems healthy in every other respect, and comes running enthusiastically for scratch a couple of times a day.

    Aside from hating to have a sad chicken, I'm concerned that she's easy prey for predators. When she gets lost, she obviously can't see and she has no rooster around to alert her to danger. She probably looks like popcorn chicken to a hawk. In fact, I'm posting this now because I can't find her. This has happened before and she's shown up later, but I'm really starting to worry.

    Any advice on how to handle this (or whether to leave well enough alone) would be welcome. I know of a family that would probably like to adopt her as a pet, but they have no other chickens. I'm concerned about her not being part of a flock, but in all honesty, she doesn't seem to be a part of this flock any more.

    Opinions?
     
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

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    Can you tie her feather poof up in a scrunchie? Don't laugh - people do it all the time!
     
  3. Ms.Frizzle

    Ms.Frizzle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are social birds, so it would make sense that she's under the weather if she's not a part of the flock anymore. Have you thought about getting her another polish to roam with her? When you say you trim the fluff, how short do you go? Could you perhapse go so short that its almost a shave? Otherwise maybe the rubber bands they use for braces? The only thing I would worry about that is her getting hung up on this, or the feathers matting or pulling out. Ouch! If you do go super short, you might need to give her sunscreen, since her skin wouldn't have any protection against the sun.
     
  4. Cadillac Jill

    Cadillac Jill Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, she wandered back and I put her poof up in a ponytail holder. There was an immediate difference in her disposition. She was looking around like she's never seen the world before, and even challenged some of the other chickens. She's out roaming with the flock now, keeping pace and scratching vigorously. It will be interesting to see if she goes in to roost early tonight.

    She is scratching at her head trying to get rid of her new do. I guess I'll probably be ruthless with her feather clipping if she succeeds. I was afraid of clipping too short and drawing blood, but an overclip would be better than a life of blindness I suppose.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  5. poodlepill

    poodlepill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:WOW now that is a sad story [​IMG] I was really feeling sorry for the poor little polish. Glad to hear she has a new lease on life with her ponytail holder, I bet she's cute as can be with in in. I have a single white crested black polsih but her poof isnt quite as bad as your girl sounds. I will keep the ponytail holder in mind, heck I might even just put her poof up just to see how cute she looks LOL
     
  6. Bengalcats1

    Bengalcats1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel ya, I have a silkie who is a total loner and it makes me sad, she doesn't have Any personality either, I did trim her head some cause she is super poofy but maybe I should try the ponytail holder, I hadn't really thought it was because she couldn't see [​IMG]
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Awww! Your above post brought tears to my eyes!! I am so happy for her!!! And I am happy you found her again!
     
  8. Ms.Frizzle

    Ms.Frizzle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just remember to keep an eye on it getting matted or for it getting hung up on stuff. The pony tail seems like a good idea, but I wonder if there is a reason why no-one says anything about having done it before. But its great to hear that your pet is doing well with it! You should post a picture of her. [​IMG]
     
  9. sadies chicks

    sadies chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah ponytail holders, they make the world go round!! [​IMG] especially for chickens!! [​IMG] Glad to hear it worked out!
     
  10. sadies chicks

    sadies chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Awww! Your above post brought tears to my eyes!! I am so happy for her!!! And I am happy you found her again!

    How did you get her to hold still for that? My girls would have freaked [​IMG]
     

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