Chicken won't leave nesting box..

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wallsden, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. wallsden

    wallsden Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 7, 2015
    Fairfield, CA
    I have a chicken that is 1 year and a few days old that won't leave the nesting box. It's been one full day going on two days. Should I be worried? What to do to get her out?
  2. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    There are two possibilities, illness or broodiness (she wants to hatch eggs)

    For illness, lift her out, check her comb and wattles for color, check for noisy breathing and check for signs of parasites, mainly around her vent.

    For broodiness, check for screeching and biting when you get near her and her trying to imitate a smushed pancake while sitting on the nest. Brooding is natural and common at her age depending on breed and her family genetics.

    If broody she will remain in squatted position for a while when you remove her from the box and set her on the floor. She will usually then 'snap out of her trance' and rush around for food, a drink and a huge poo before getting back into the box.

    If she is broody you will need to do some research on how to handle broody hens and decisions to make.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It sounds like she may be broody. That’s when their hormones tell them it’s time to be a mommy. There are a lot of signs that a hen might be broody. They are often defensive of the nest, they only leave the nest to eat, drink, and poop once or twice a day, sometimes for an hour at a time, sometimes less than 15 minutes. When off the nest they generally make a constant “boking” sound and usually have their feathers ruffled up. They spend nights on the nest instead of sleeping in their normal spot. They tend to have a very strong “leave me alone” attitude.

    I’ve had hens with all these indications that were never truly broody but they sure acted like it for a while. My test to see if a hen is truly broody and is worthy of eggs to hatch is that she has to spend two consecutive nights on the nest.

    If she really is broody (and I think she probably is) you have a few options. You can give her fertile eggs to hatch. You can get some day old chicks and give them to her for her to raise. Or you can break her from being broody. My method to break a broody is to put her in a raised cage with a wire floor with food and water but nothing that looks like a nest for three or four days. The cool air under them usually breaks them, though occasionally I have to do this a second time.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You'll need to decide if you want her to hatch out some chicks, and how you will 'manage' it.
    Do you have, or can you get, some fertile eggs?
    Do you have the space needed? She may need to be separated by wire from the rest of the flock.
    Do you have a plan on what to do with the inevitable males? Rehome, butcher, keep in separate 'bachelor pad'?
    If you decide to let her hatch out some fertile eggs, this is a great thread for reference and to ask questions.
    It a long one but just start reading the first few pages, then browse thru some more at random.

    If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day(but you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
  5. wallsden

    wallsden Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 7, 2015
    Fairfield, CA
    So I have her in a wire cage she promptly kick over the food and water has not lay down yet. It's only about 102 here so I have her in the house on a tarp what a mess.

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