Chicken won't come out of laying box and wont lay


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 9, 2010
I have 2 hens, 8 months old. I let them out free range when I am around for 3-4 hours a day (I live in the city). They both started laying a month ago. Three days ago one of the girls,Bel, went into the nesting box during their free time (she does this when she is ready to lay) and would not come out. She has not laid an egg. Cleo has not laid an egg since either. They both had been regular layers, every day -every other day. I checked Bel's poop and see no evidence of worms. I take her out of the box a couple of times a days or she would not eat or drink, she stays out for about a 1/2 an hour and then goes back to her spot.

They eat layers chicken feed and corn and some fresh fruit and vegies plus what ever bugs/grubs or worms they find. They also get DE mixed in their food and into their bedding.

I live in MN so it is well into fall. Is this molting behavior? Could she have had too much DE? Any ideas?

Agreed! Sounds like you've got a broody hen on your hands. Nothing to worry about, in fact it's a good thing!
It means you can get her to hatch some chicks for you if you want! If not and you want her to go back to laying, you can look up "breaking a broody" and that will give you the information you need to snap her out of broody mode.
If she fluffs her feathers up, she's broody. You're doing the right thing by getting her up, or she'll lose weight. When mine goes broody, I get her up often so she can eat, drink and take her dust baths. She stays broody for a couple of weeks. I have no rooster, or fertile eggs, nor do I want any. If your hen is broody, she will stop laying during that time, so if you don't miss the eggs, just let her do her thing.
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Thank you Thank you Thank you. What you describe is exactly what is happening. She has her feathers all puffed up. I will keep getting her up to take care of her physical needs. This makes me feel a whole lot better.
Are you using food grade DE? If so, I would agree she is either going broody or getting ready to moult. She could also have a reproductive disorder going on. Any signs of swelling or hardness in her belly area (just between her legs)?
No unsual lumps or pain when I touch her anywhere. I am using the food grade DE recommended by the farm store who supplies my feed and bedding. It is recommended for animal and human use. I think she is broody. She is fine when I take her out to eat and clean up. She plays with Cleo, my other hen and then she goes back to the nest.

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