Why would my hen hide her head?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wintersun, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Wintersun

    Wintersun Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2012
    First time I've seen this. In the run, in the corner where there are wood braces for the run fencing in the shape of an upside down Y, Penelope was hiding her head. This is right next to the door. I entered the run - she didn't move. I bent down and gently wrapped my hands around both sides and removed her. I held her and pet her head and she closed her eyes and relaxed. Now, Penelope is 4.5 months old and has NEVER let me hold or pet her. Then I put her down, she stayed close and jumped on my back. Another hen does this every morning, but not Penelope. She jumped on a high roost and there she sits now.

    Any ideas? My one thought is that my Rooster is beginning to sow his oats. So far, I've only seen him go for and be successful with Henrietta but maybe he went for Penelope and she's traumatized?
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    My first thought is that it sounds like an act of submission. I had a poor polish that ended up being a rooster and when I first introduced him the older ladies were very mean. He hide in the corner with his head buried.

    I have never kept a rooster up to mating age so I am sure if there are other factors I am not aware of.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  3. Gofygure

    Gofygure Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2012
    My Coop
    I've noticed that my chickens become more docile when they're being picked on. Suddenly a friendly human isn't so scary when they're feeling vulnerable. She may have another member of the flock pecking at her head, or a rooster trying to grab her by the neck. I'd watch the dynamics in the group and keep an eye on her. She'll probably be alright once things settle down.
  4. Wintersun

    Wintersun Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2012
    I did watch her tonight. She stayed on the high roost quite a while. I went back out to visit and eventually she jumped down, the rooster was after her right away and she escaped into the coop. The other 6 hens and rooster stayed in the run. So I think you all might be right - picked on and trying to escape Roo. I'll watch them all tomorrow again.
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    She's being bullied and trying to hide. They try to protect their heads.
  6. henmania

    henmania Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2016
    North West London
    I think one of my hen has the same issue. Today she's been very quiet. Isn't pecking away and just stand in the flower pot with her head tucked in.


    Yesterday she was quite naughty, running around eating everything and all. Today she's very quiet. I'm not sure if it's bullying because I've seen her pick on the bigger hen a few times. It's a big foggy and cold today so I thought she might be cold.
    Any thoughts?
  7. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2015
    Probably doesnt like the weather.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That stance and behavior could mean she's not feeling well.
    Maybe she ate something not agreeing with her....looks like you free range?
    Just keep an eye on her, make sure she's eating, drinking, and pooping OK....

    If she continues to be inactive I suggest you start a new thread in the illness forum
    And provide the pertinent info in this list: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/3569/have-an-emergency-disease-please-read-first
  9. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    When my guineas attacked our hens they would hide their head. And when I went to stop the guineas the victim hen would sit with its head tucked. Happened to one of the GLW hens who hates even being touched, but let me pick her up after the ordeal was over.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  10. henmania

    henmania Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2016
    North West London

    Thank you.
    I kept a watch on her most of the day yesterday. Her poop was very runny and she was just standing in a corner with her head tucked in. However, later in the evening she started moving around and eating a bit.
    Usually when they go into the coop to sleep I leave the coop door open as they like to come out early morning but last night I closed it since it was cold and today she's come out walking around pecking and eating again so I think she's better hopefully.

    According to a few friends. She was just having an emo day and sulking lol

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