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Hen will not leave nest box, eats very little

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by playnationnj, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. playnationnj

    playnationnj New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Hello...I am a newbie and have very little experience with my four Rhode Island Red hens. All has been going well for about eight weeks. Two days ago I noticed almost no egg production and then yesterday a very tiny egg in the nest when I removed the one hen from the nest. When I removed her, she ate and drank a little and then headed right back for the nest. Removed her again and blocked access to the nest. She paced frantically back and forth and eventually dugout a hole and settled in. I let the other three hens in the coop and kept the sick hen outside, away from the nesting box. When I came out this morning, she was still in the hole with her eyes half closed and making a low murming clucking sound. I picked her up and removed her from the pen entirely and put her down in a grassy field near the pen. She did start to scratch and pick at the greens, but seemed very nervous and intent on finding her way back to the pen, pacing back and forth. Eventually she climbed/and flew up the outside of the 5' fence, perched on top for a while and flew back down into the pen! There was another hen in the nesting box and she pushed it right out and plunked herself down again! She is devoting far to much time to sitting and I don't think she is getting enough to eat. I have inspected her vent and everything seems to be clean and smooth. Am I being overly concerned or is there something more I should be doing?
    Jim P.
     
  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    She sounds broody. Can you put some food and water close enough for her to reach without getting off the nest? Also have you inspected her abdomen to be sure it is soft and not lumpy? She sounds more broody than sick but you might check to be sure she is not an internal layer (since your egg production is way down).
     
  3. playnationnj

    playnationnj New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Well, she is removed from the nest now and has dug a new hole to lie down in. I have put food (layer pellets) and water next to her but she doesn't seem enticed. How long does broodyness last?
     
  4. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
  5. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
    playnationnj, the small egg is a good sign that she is at the end of her cycle, and is prolly broody. If this is the first time being broody and never ever raised a family of peeps, she won't stay broody as long as a experienced mom determined to get er done. They can stay broody for months...

    bigzio
     
  6. crazy4daisy

    crazy4daisy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2007
    Central Missouri
    You got a broody on your hands... [​IMG]
     

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