What are the Signs of a Depressed Chicken?


Chicken Slave
12 Years
Mar 19, 2007
Brick, NJ
Is it possible for a chook to get depressed, and so fast? Here's why I'm asking: I have a barred rock that I got in June, after she was isolated for the required time, she was introduced to the flock.

It was way tough for a while for her, as they really gave her a hard time. Very slowly she was accepted into the flock. There was issues with egg laying and the whole pecking order thing. I thought it was all settled, but lately the BR hasn't been looking good, and they started picking on her again, two days with no egg from her (could be the change in daylight) but she makes sad sounds and her once bright colored comb is flopping over and getting more of a pink color.

Her poo looks kinda watery pea soup green with a little white. Not terrible, not stinky. But not normal for her. I let her out for a while yesterday, and she perked up, but when they all had to go back in for the evening, she made sad sounds again, and this morning too.
I can't let them out too much because we have a hawk hanging around, any suggestions?
Are you in a position to segregate her again, give her something for nesting, check her carefully for signs of disease and to re-evaluate her situation? I don't know anything about chicken depression, but it sounds like she's at the bottom of the pecking order again or that a bully has emerged in your flock. Is she being harassed by any one in particular?
Could you make her a mini-coop area where she could be by herself and not get picked on, but also be by the flock? You could give her electrolytes and good food that she doesn't have to share, and keep an eye on her. Sounds like she's a bit under the weather at least. (Kind of how I feel today!)
hi guys - thanks for the suggestions. Yes, she is getting picked on (again). I might just do the isolation inside the run thing. I don't like it, but I also don't like that she's getting so down. I'll watch her later today and see how it goes.

I also noticed yesterday, that the bully is trying to keep the BR from food! :mad:
You probably have already thought of this, but if you have chickens being bullied, it really helps to have food and water in multiple places - with a barrier (hay bale, box, tree, etc) in between siight lines. Think of the bully chicken being at one of the feeding stations - put another feeding stations out of sight from that view point if at all possible.

The idea is that the bully can't defend all the food at once!

Good luck,
They do green poop if they are not eating enough. She needs spoiling to build up her strength.
Do you have an even or odd number of hens? I found just like with kids you are WAY better off with even #'s, they really do seem to pair off.....

If you do isolate her again can she go with a friend or 3 so they can buddy up OR can you take the bully out & let the pecking order be re-established?

She sounds like she is having a tough time of it & isolating JUST her doesn't seem right. JMO
Ack - God, I hope not eggbound, even if the thought did occur to me at first, I'd rather go with Warren's assessment, but I'm not sure.

I have 4 hens, two original ones I got together, one rescue 6 mos. later and the BR (Gertie) in June, if worse comes to worse, I may separate Gertie along with a bud and see what happens, I'll have to just keep on eye on her and see how it goes.

Oh, I did feel the bird around her bottom and couldn't feel anything bulky or weird, but I'm not sure if I'm feeling her up right
sorry, a little sense of humor always helps.

Thank you for all your responses.
The one major thing I'm learning on this site is how we can get so totally attached to our chooks, who ever knew? Oh, and how cool and friendly you all are.

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