Is it eggbound, or broody?


11 Years
Oct 22, 2008
west virginia
Have a lovely little white Jap named Sachi. She spent the whole day in the nest box, and was still in there this evening when my daughter went to check on her.

My 9 year old LOVES the birds like a little mother hen herself, and was worried to death that Sachi had an egg stuck inside.

I am still rather new to chickens, this being our first year, but did observe the following:

Sachi puffed up and growled at me and pecked my hand when I tried to pick her up. She was also sitting on a very big blue plastic Easter egg, which she meticulously kept under her after I put her back in the nest after looking her over. This is well after dark when everyone else is looking droopy and limp, and she's been in this nest all day. My first thought is BROODY.

I tried to feel around her undersides. I can't feel any kind of lump or hardness, like a stuck egg around her pelvic bones or vent, although I am pretty new at this and she is so tiny!

She also does not appear to be straining, although she rarely even pants when laying. She often just sits for a bit, and when she's up there's a little egg and at present she is the only bantam we have that is laying. Wasn't sure if that made any difference, though.

Sachi has probably only been laying about 3 weeks total; she was a Late-April chick. I wasn't sure if Japs (or any bantam) went broody so fast?

Any thoughts or advice?
The puffy, growly behavior is broody! My first experience with a broody came after she had been laying only 4 weeks. Some birds just want to be a mommy. Now the question is, do you want her to be broody?
The puffy, growly behavior is broody! My first experience with a broody came after she had been laying only 4 weeks. Some birds just want to be a mommy.

I thought so! At least my little girl will be able to go to sleep now (it is after midnight here - and she's been worried about Sachi all evening! Poor thing.)

Now the question is, do you want her to be broody?

Mmmm, not really! At the moment, I don't have any place to isolate her. I hadn't thought that broodiness would happen so fast after laying starts! But maybe my son and I can make something in the morning, as we have plenty of wood. Roughly how long should she be separated from the others and kept away from big blue plastic Easter eggs

I did get the bantams to hatch eggs for us 'someday' when we need more chicks (because, you know, you always need more)- now I know that at least one of them will be willing!

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate your advice, Orpington Manor!​
There are a couple of ways you can keep her out of the nest. You could find a way to block off the nest box once the others have laid. You could just find a cage to keep her away from ALL nesting material, even the coop bedding. If they free range, you could just put your broody out first, close the coop doors, and let the others out as they finish laying.

I have tried the cage method (48 hours in broody "jail"), and it worked well. The second time, I used the cage but was concerned about her knocking over the water during a heat spell, so I relented on the cage after a day, and just blocked off the nest box. She walked around all huffy and fluffy for a day, but then, went back to normal.

As long as you find a way to get her to cool down, she will stop being broody. Then it will take a week or so for her to start laying again. But, it's perfectly normal, so your daughter doesn't need to worry!

edited to add -- you can take those blue plastic easter eggs out! they helped them understand the purpose of the nest box, but the lesson has been learned!
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Thank you, thank you! for the great advice! I'll see what we can do to get our puffy little princess out of the mommy mood. I wasn't home most of the day today, and will have to figure out what to do tomorrow. It shouldn't be too hard to make something to keep her off bedding for a few days. I have a chick waterer and feeder, so she'll be fine when we separate her.

About the plastic eggs - I think they've been keeping the chickens from eating eggs and one chicken in particular. Shirley (whose face is my avatar) is the most ornary, loud shop boss we have (and naturally, the top girl)!

She enters the coop all day long, pulling surprise inspections on all the others in the nest boxes - getting right in there and telling them how to go about their jobs, and being the first one to stick her head out the door into the run to practically scream the Egg Song to the whole world when she finds a new egg under someone. Sometimes the poor layer hasn't even had a chance to start her song herself before Shirley is off making announcements.

She used to go back into the nest box if we were slow to run down to the coop and peck at the eggs and would often crack them before we got there. She never got to eat one because we got wise and would dash down when she started trumpeting, but she did damage a few. She did peck at the plastic ones quite a lot, too and sometimes still does.

I think the plastic may deter her as there is nothing good inside of them and they can take a lot of abuse. She soon stopped pecking at the real eggs, at least not that I've seen for a few weeks.

I don't know for sure that the plastic really has anything to do with it, but since it seems so, we've left one in each box for now.

And, since Sachi is the only bantam laying, and since the banties tend to hang out under the coop rather than inside it, we've also been reluctant to take the plastic out in case they still need a little help. Sachi's got the idea, but there are 8 others who still haven't paid their room and board in breakfasts yet!

Edited because there are only so many times one can say 'at least' and sound rational.
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