Greetings, My 13-month-old Ameracuana has been holed up in the laying box, coming out to eat and drink but spending the rest of her time in there with her tail up, trying to lay an egg. She hasn't laid one for 3-4 days now. The feathers below her vent are crusted gray and stuck together (which I assume either came from her vent unless she sat down on some fresh poop); her vent is fine, no discoloration nor is it leaking. I've pulled her out of the lay box a few times to analyze behavior: the first time she stayed motionless, which led me to believe she was in the process of laying, the other times she's been ambulatory, running around the coop and yard a bit before heading back to a laying box. I have both of Gail Damerow's books but can't find a description of this problem. Her laying has always been a little sporadic: one week she'll lay 5-6, the next 3-5; that's why I've waited as long as I have before seeking outside assistance, thinking that it was just another weird thing she does (of my 4 hends, she's at the bottom of the pecking order, therefore under the most amount of stress; and her feet are misshapen). I don't know what exactly to do. I haven't probed the inside of her vent (because I don't know what exactly to do once inside). I'm going to, after giving time enough for responses to this post, wash and/or cut off the crusted feathers. Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks!