How to tell if sick or broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by emcd124, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. emcd124

    emcd124 In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2016
    I have a partridge chanticleer that has had trouble ever since we brought her home from the farm this spring.

    First she had a messy vent, which reading on here suggested was either worms or a yeast infection. I started giving probiotics, added vinegar to water, and brought a stool sample to a vet who diagnosed two kinds of worms. We did a treatment for the worms, which was once a day for five days. I asked and the vet said no follow up treatment 10 days later was necessary (even though online folks seemed to say you had to re-treat to catch newly hatched worms).

    She also had a bald patch on her back just in front of her tail. We do not have roosters in our yard, but she could have been plucked by an eager rooster at the farm.

    She has always been top hen of our two, first to food and eager to eat. She lays about 6 eggs a week, but they are smallish eggs (40 g each). After treatment she started to put on feathers in her bald spot, although it still isnt totally covered. Her runny vent got much much better, although she still continues to poop a little bit every time she lays an egg.

    Two days ago I noticed she seemed to be taking forever in the nesting box but thought nothing of it and went on my way. Yesterday when I saw she was still in the nesting box I thought "oh she's gone broody" and I looked up on here ways to discourage it. I tried to shoo her out but she aggressively pecked at my hands. First I tried to remove any eggs, but there WERE NO EGGS under her. So I put ice under her to dissuade her and eventually that seemed to work, she went out into the run. I shut up access to the coop until later that night.

    Fast forward to this morning and there she is, in the nesting box again. Still no eggs in the box. This time when I open the door to shoo her out she doesnt resist as much. She acts more lethargic. When I try to shoo her out instead of scampering or resisting she just sort of flops out the front of the box and sits on the coop floor (dont worry, there isnt a fall. just a 2" tall board at the front of the box). Her leg was even sort of still stuck inside the nesting box and she didnt do anything about it, just sat there.

    I put food and water in the coop right in front of her just in case because I had to go to work, but now I'm worried.

    If there are no eggs and if she is acting sort of dispirited, does that mean she is seeking safety in the nesting box because she is sick? how to tell if she is sick or nesting?

    The challenge is that we live in a town and there arent really any specialty farm/poultry vets remotely nearby. I think the nearest is about 45 minutes away.

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It can be hard to tell broody from ill.
    They do go into the 'broody trance' and when removed from nest will just flatten out on the ground.
    Putting her in a broody breaker may help tell if she's broody or ill, might take a few days to figure it out

    If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
    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 couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.
    I let her out a couple times a day(you don't have to) 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.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
    SeaTexan likes this.

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