Hen won't eat and is lethargic. What to do??


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 12, 2011
So this hen goes into a nesting box today around late morning/mid day then stayed there all day. She didn't come out to eat or drink and just sat. I kept checking on her and when I closed up the coop for the night she was still there so I got online and started researching. At first I thought sour crop or impacted crop, but went out and checked it out and didn't seem to be an issue. Came back in a started reading more. Next thought eggbound. So I go out again and bring her with me on my lap on the porch. Vent looks healthy (but what do I know) and I start to feel the abdomen and massage it trying to see if I can feel an egg. Abdomen does feel a little stiff but I haven't felt the abdomen of a normal hen to gauge it against. While I am massaging I hear some noise and can't move her quick enough. The pictures are what came out. Most of it on my lap! I have no idea if this is poo or a rotten shell-less egg or what. Any thoughts on this would be very, very helpful.





Any help as to what is wrong or what I can do to help her out is greatly appreciated.

Oh and I forgot to mention she has had a bit of excess poo on her butt for a few days now. I am not sure if this is an indicator of runny poos for a while, but I have not noticed any out of the ordinary poos in the coop or the yard, but they have a large area to range in, so it could easily be missed.

1) What type of bird , age and weight. 2 yr old barred rock
2) What is the behavior, exactly. Lethargic, not eating/drinking, stays in nesting box all day
3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? today
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? No
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. Today it looks like some of the other hens may have picked on her a bit. She's got a new bare spot on her back and her comb is slightly bleeding.
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. IDK
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. IDK
8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. The only poo I have seen of hers is in the pics.
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? Isolated her in a warm clean kennel
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? No vet.
11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use Currently in a clean kennel with feed and water.
Last edited:
My thought was eggbound as well, especially at 2 years old. Massaging her underside in warm water for about 20 minutes usually helps them lay. You can clean her vent and put olive oil around and inside the vent to make it easier for her to lay.
Yes, she's being picked/pecked on, the others know she's in trouble...survival of the fittest thing. Glad you seperated her.
Inspect her for lice and mites while you're soaking her, especially around her rear end. External parasites can bring a chicken down quickly.
She could possibly have worms. I didnt see any in her poop, but that doesnt mean she doesnt have them. Consider worming her with valbazen as well as the rest of your chickens. Good luck.
Last edited:

Thanks for the reply. Any other thoughts out there? Could she possibly be internal laying? Does the poop, or whatever that is tell us anything?
Last edited:
As stated above, a warm, steamy bath will help her if she's eggbound. With parakeets, sometimes just holding the bird in a room full of steam for a little while helps tremendously.

Lubricating her vent with olive oil, if you can feel the egg, can help her pass it more easily as well. And, this may sound intimidating, but very gently putting a lubricated pinkie finger up her vent to see if the egg is nearby can help you gauge what steps to take.

Whatever you do, you need to get on it ASAP. Sick birds can spiral down incredibly fast. I'd put her on some kind of "pick me up" like an electrolyte solution. When my bird was sick and not eating, a product called Poultry Nutri Drench did wonders in giving her a little boost. Even a bit of sugar water might do it. The important thing is to get something in her--even if it's just her favorite treats. She needs all the strength she can get if this turns out to be eggbinding.

Here's a bump to the top of the forum, at any rate. Best of luck with her! Keep us posted!
About a week ago I got a shell-less egg in one of the nests. I am new to this whole thing and thought that it was just a quirk that we may see sometimes. Now I am thinking it was this same hen and is making me lean to thinking that she has a problem with internal laying. Anybody have experience with this?

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom