I'm not sure if my hen has gone broody or is ill?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenbike, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am wondering if one of my hens has gone broody. She is a Partridge Chantecler and is 11 months old. She has not laid an egg for 7-10 days. 5 days ago she started behaving differently:

    - less active
    - eating/drinking less
    - feathers fluffed out
    - standing in one area of the run
    - sitting on the roost bar longer than usual
    - staying inside the ark frequently, but not in the actual nest box

    I picked her up and have checked her all over:

    - eyes, nostrils, beak are all clear and bright
    - she does seem slightly thinner in the breast area, but not significantly so
    - vent is clean and nothing abnormal in appearance there
    - she is missing feathers in the abdomenal area directly in front of, and between her legs

    Should I continue to just let her be, other than bringing her down out of the coop at least once a day to make sure she eats and drinks?

    If she is just broody, will she behave like this for 21 days and then return to regular activities?

    Should I try leaving a few wooden eggs in the nest box?

    Thank you for any advice.
  2. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    sounds sick not broody

    what does her poop look like, I would seperate her until you can get a better idea as to what is wrong. Good luck
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  3. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    Poop is normal so far. I only have two hens and one rooster so I can watch them closely. I am thinking about a vet exam, and possibly running bloodwork? With no apparent change in appearance to the eyes, nostrils, or vent, I'm thinking the general lethargy could indicate the start of an infection. None of the other two chickens have shown any difference in behaviour or physical appearance.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If she doesn't growl at you she's likly sick. I would guess internal paracites. Because you are willing to get vet care, just take a fecal sample of hers and have a vet run a "fecal float" test. That will tell you if she has worms or cocci, and what kinds, so you can treat right or look for other reasons. Best of luck!

    if she is broody, they may or not snap out of it in 21 days... or sit for months and darn near starve to death. Broodies will generally only poo 1-2 a day though.
  5. sandypaws

    sandypaws Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2008
    desert of calif
    sounds sick... maybe egg bound??? warm her up

    broody usually means they are sitting ON eggs and defending them..
    they will poof up and sqwak and even bite you if you try to take their eggs
  6. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    Would internal parasites just develop with no change in environment? My birds do not free range, but have a fully enclosed run area.

    As for the egg bound possibility. I forgot to mention that both hens have not laid an egg in 7-10 days. The other hen is acting completely normal, with no change.

    If this is an egg bound situation, when you say "warm her up", do you mean the warm water bath soak? I've read some mention of that in other threads here.
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    A heat lamp to warm up, or if you suspect a stuck egg, a warm water bath/soak with massage may help get things moving.

    As for parasites. If a bird flies over head and a feather falls off with eggs on it, or they put a single dropping into or near the run, they could easily inoculate the soil and spread parasites, so it's possible. Even a migrating earth worm or other creature can easily bring in something to the run, or it's possible that a combinatorial effect of weather, condition, and paracites that have always been there can lead to onset of sickness.
  8. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm going to give her a warm bath right now. They do have a heat lamp on in the coop and have had for the last week as we're in another cold snap.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    They probably don't need a heat lamp in the PNW type weather, assuming your weather is similar to the greater seattle area and you're not high up in the mountains. My birds have been sleeping under just tarps all winter even though temps gotten into single digits. Make sure humidity doesn't get too high inside and that the indoor out door temp differential isn't too great, as if they get used to warm, they can chill when going out during the day and be more harm than good on their immune systems with the temp swings.
  10. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    Sick, not broody or she'd be on a nest or hoarding eggs...
    maybe has one stuck in her and they are backing up...??

    Take her in the house and sit her in a sink of warm water (just her Bum) sometimes that speeds things up...

    also-- feed her well and keep her warm & Quiet... We use a 18 gallon bin/tote with a window screen over the top as our RX spot...
    just add hay or shavings and dishes for water and food...
    yogurt with dry oatmeal and olive oil mixed in seems to be a winning combo.... easy to get them to eat it, easy to digest, very nutritious and helps their digestive tract.

    Good Luck hun! Keep us posted!

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