hen doesn't want to come out of the nesting box


10 Years
Sep 23, 2009
One of my hens (approx 6 months old) decided she didn't want to come of of the box one morning. That evening she was in the same place, not having left the box at all. I tried to feed and water her, but she wasn't interested. We left food and water where she could reach it, but to my knowledge she didn't have any. After over 48 hours of this I took her out of the nesting box and tried to get her to eat yogurt and applesauce, she wouldn't even open her mouth. I inspected her but could find nothing obvious wrong with her. When I walked away she slowly walked back to the box and sat back down in it with her feathers all puffed up. I tried moving the nesting box to the porch, hoping avoid contaminating the other chickens should she be sick. After six days I decided t cull her. I dug a hole, and got the necessary tools together. I carried the box to the side of the hole and took her out. After six days of not eating she still had the strength to fight me. I decided to try feeding her once more and this time she ate, even mustering the energy to scratch around the yard for a while. That was three weeks ago. Since then she still won't leave the box voluntarily, but if I force her out she will eat and drink with the others for an hour or so, then return to the coop/nesting box and stay there indefinitely, puffed up, until I make her get out again. She is very thin and I'm still a bit worried about her getting the other chickens sick if there is something wrong with her. Any advice would be appreciated.


10 Years
May 15, 2009
From what you are describing I think she has 'gone broody'. She wants to hatch eggs and have little chicks. Her 'clock' might be off because she is only 6 months old. She seems too young to want to do this but stranger things have happened.

One test you can try is to try and gently pet your hand under her when she is in the box. Does she try and peck at you and ruffel her feathers and 'growl'? If yes then she is broody. Poor girl is also confused. There are ways to try and stop a hen from doing this but I will have to look it up.

Hopefully others can help.

Above all be gentle with her.


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Agree, you've got yourself a broody hen. Give her some fertile eggs and make her a mama.


10 Years
May 15, 2009
Well just like hinkjc said. If you want her to be a momma then give it a try. Get fertile eggs and gently slip them under her at night.

If you want to break her of it, this advice is in Stories Guide to Raising Chickens.

Don't let eggs accumulate in the nest
Repeatedly remove the hen from the nest
Cover or move the box so she can't get in
Move the hen to different housing

'Hens like people don't always react the way you expect them to, and a persistent broody may continue no matter what you do. In that case if you are just as determined that a hen not brood as she is determined to brood, your only remaining option is to cull. Sometimes a hen will be so insistent on brooding that she'll stay on the nest even if she has no eggs to hatch, eventually dying of starvation.

If it were my chicken and I wanted to stop her from being broody I would put her in a different cage with food and water and a small roost but no laying box. She should come out of being broody in 2 to 3 days and start laying again in 7. Let her free range while you supervise her. Keep her mind occupied.

If she won't eat or drink I would make her special foods like scrambled egg and give some cottage cheese or make a mash out of the laying pellets with yogurt, shredded carrot and maybe some grape halves thrown in. Anything to give her appetite a boost so she doesn't starve.

I wish you luck. Keep us posted. I can't wait for one of my girls to go broody. I think!

Attack Chicken

[IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu
11 Years
Sep 25, 2008
Indianapolis, IN
I have a broody and at first I thought she was sick. I read on here about "broodys". So I gave her 4 eggs to sit on and about in another week and a half I'll have chickies running around. She's about 7 months old to.

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