What do I look for/check/do???
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She might be getting ready to start laying and just acting funny, but I would probably get a rubber glove and insert a finger just an inch or so to feel for a stuck egg. Make sure that she is getting layer feed and put out some crumbled egg shells or crushed oyster shell for the hens to eat as they wish for extra calcium. If you should feel an egg, you can give her a calcium tablet dissolved in a little water, or a Tums, and then soak her in a warm bath with a little belly massage to relax her into laying. Egg binding can e an emergency, but she is probably just getting ready. If you notice diarrhea or blood in her stools, lethargy, puffing up or hunching, or not eating, that can be a sign of coccidiosis. Worming is also something to think about if your hens haven't been wormed yet. Valbazen 1/2 ml orally to each chicken, and repeated in 10 days will be a good one. Eggs should be tossed for 14 days after last dose. Keep the poo off her feathers, since that can cause flies to lay maggot larvae there. Trimming feathers may help also.
I haven't managed to get at my chickens' vents either, but they have solid stools and fluffy bums and aren't at POL yet. There's no need to bother them.
If you are going to bother her, now's the time. Chickens are much easier to handle in the dark.
Edited by blumenmadchen - 9/30/15 at 9:35am