SpeckledHen, My thoughts and prayers are with you, your father and of course Ivy. I've just had a moment to get caught up myself on her progress (or perhaps lack there of?) and am so sorry to hear that she appears to be fading away. I so hope that she'll surprise you one more time and show just how much of a fighter she is.
Your insight and information has given me a new outlook on my own flock with regards to broody issues. FussButt is in solitary even now for crimes against her flock mates, brought on by her broodiness. But, I'm beginning to think that perhaps it would be best for her if I just let her out and be with the flock. It means I'll have to be extra vigilant about LizzyBeth and where she is at all times.
Any time LizzyBeth has one of her seizures, FussButt seems to think it's time to do her in. When she's not broody, it's not an issue. But, when she is, oh look out!! There are going to be problems!
I'm in agreement with you about broodiness being a time to give these girl's bodies a break from all of the laying. Mine too lay straight through the winter and that season here in the Inland Northwest can be every bit as brutal as say North Dakota at times. It just has to be hard on their little bodies.
Thanks for sharing your theory. It's not so harebrained as you might think. At least, it makes perfect sense to me!
Again, I hope that all goes well with your father and that Ivy can make a turn around for the better. Human family always comes first, but I do hope you can share news of Ivy soon.
All my best thoughts are winging their way to you and yours,