reclusive, puffed up chicken - any ideas?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 15, 2009
Hi there, thanks for looking - this Rhode Island Red is kind of the 'omega' bird of our flock of four RIRs and one Golden Comet. She seems to get picked on frequently and has recently developed this scrunched up, rounded over posture. Also, she'll sometimes shake her feathers and puff them out further. When approached, she'll occasionally move her beak as if she were trying to make a nervous quiet squawk sequence but no sound comes out - but not sure what thats about.

I was thinking of trying to set her up with her own pen for a while to see if some of the feathers come back.

Any idea what could be going on with this bird - or what I should do?


Is she going through a molt? Sometimes they can get to looking really aweful during that time....In the second pic, on her crop it appears like the feathers are growing back in. So I'm thinking a molt....
The omega moulting; how sad. I'd giver her her own place for sure. But remember the one you separate becoms the omega if you try to put her back, so this may be permanent. Maybe also separate a bully or two and put the bully back first, but after the moult.

The position might also be the moult; they get very uncomfortable.
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I would say molting and trying to look tough to the other birds. I would give her some special attention. More protien for sure. Scambled eggs is good and I would give her some yogurt too. Separating her might be a good idea. I had to do that with a hen that was terribly beat up. I actually have her living in my kitchen right now. That's only because she was on deaths door in August. It's taken her this long to recover. She can't see so I have to figure out another plan for her. Good luck.
Poor Girl. She needs some TLC. Seems like a moult and getting picked on. Is there one other hen who doesn't pick on her? You could isolate them together so the reintroduction might be easier. I really would isolate her, give some electroyltes in her water, some extra protein (eggs, boss), and maybe some neosporin on that crop area. Hopefully she bounces back in a few days with some supportive services.
If she is trying to get to the nest boxes she may be broody. I have one that looks exactly like yours and she is, in fact, broody. They pick their own feathers off their chest to place in the nest.
Wonderful, thanks everyone for the replies!
I have seen the hen in question spending more time than the other hens in a nest box - which has had some feathers in it.

I've separated the pictured hen and an ally of hers from the others. Will make up a special breakfast for them in the AM. Thanks again!

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