Hen not wanting to get out of nesting box - HELP is she sick?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheChips, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. TheChips

    TheChips Chirping

    Sep 28, 2013
    So when you first read this title one might think shes trying to hatch a clutch.

    But there are no eggs under her. So here is whats been going on the past 4 days

    Shes been inside the coop in the nesting box. She wont leave, she wont get up to eat unless I bring her food. When I bring her food she just moves her head to reach it. These sort of behaviors are very similar to when she was nesting on her 2 eggs last spring.

    This time, there are no eggs. Yesterday was the first time shes ever been "aggressive" and bite hard when I reached by her. Shes a small bantom hen, her growls arent very loud. When she was nesting even her little bites didnt do much. But this time it hurt a little.

    I thought maybe she was injured. I brought her out of the coop and set her on the top and she was walking around just fine. As soon as she started walking around, she ran back into the nesting box.

    What do you think this could be?

    Is she sick?

    Is she really mad ive been taking her eggs and shes on strike? Its been way too cold for me to allow her to try to have chicks right now.

    Is she protesting? lol

    Is she hurt?

    What are your thoughts?

    Im about ready to bring her inside for the weekend to keep a close eye on her.

    She also hasnt been laying, can she be having a laying issue?
  2. CB3fish

    CB3fish Songster

    May 22, 2014
    It would seem you have a setting hen, even if she has no eggs, she has the nesting fever. Usually that lasts quite a spell, as much as 21 days or longer. You might give her a few eggs to hatch and all will be well. The weather might not be good but she can gather them under her body and keep them warm.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Yes, I agree. She's broody. She doesn't need eggs under her to be broody, it's just hormones telling her to stick to the nest for the next three weeks, and nobody better stop her, darn-it!

    You have three choices. Find some fertile eggs to put under her to hatch. Or you can do nothing and just let her ride out the hormones, which could take up to three weeks. Third choice is to break her.

    To break a broody, you need to deprive her of a warm nest. You need to keep her from the nest. Most of us use a open-mesh bottom cage to keep her in during this period, and I add a fan under the cage to further cool her down. This helps bring the hormone level down more quickly, and she may be "cured"in just two or three days.

    So, no, your hen isn't sick or angry with you. She's broody. And if she's young, you can look forward to her being broody quite a few more times.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Agree she's broody. They don't need eggs for the hormones to trigger....someone here once posted a pic of a hen setting on a pile of nuts and screws!

    Decide if you want her to hatch, or break her broodiness. She'll be fine.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees she's broody, if you don't want to give her fertile eggs, break her, it's not hard, not really 'cruel' and it's better for all in the long run.

    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 few bricks right in the coop and I would feed her some very watered down crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day 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.

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