Can a hen go broody without any eggs present?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 9, 2011
I have a Black Australorp hen, about 6-7 months old. She (nor any of my other hens, who are the same age or younger) hasn't started laying yet, but she has started acting strangely. I had to get rid of some roosters (replaced with younger, 3-month old pullets) as I live in the city and am not allowed to keep them due to noise ordinance. Ever since then, she has been extremely docile and just kind of sits around unless prodded by myself or one of the other chickens. I'm very new to this, and I'm unsure exactly as to the behavior of broody hens, but it's almost as if she's depressed or something. Additionally, today I witnessed for the first time my dominant hen (at least the one who appears to be emerging as the dominant, a very pretty Red Star) actually appearing to groom her, pecking at her (but not really removing feathers or acting violently towards her like my roosters were prior to their removal), and scratching at her with her feet, and she just sat there and took it very calmly. Can anyone explain to me what's going on with this bird?
This doesn't sound like a broody hen to me. Has she started squatting yet when you approach her? How long ago did you get rid of your roosters? If it was me I would isolate her until you can determine if she is well or not so that you can keep closer watch on her.
Something I forgot - she appears as though she may have a slight limp - perhaps a parting gift from the roos. Perhaps this could be the cause?

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