Is she broody or sick?


Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
My Coop
My Coop
Hi everyone! :frow
I am not sure what is up with my 3-year-old Leghorn hen.
I watched this hen (pretty sure it was this one but I have 3 and two are almost identical) lay this morning. She was in the nest box real early, at 7:30. She finally dropped an egg at 11:30 after over 10 minutes of intense straining/screaming. For the next two minutes, she kept straining. When I caught her and checked her belly, it was firm but I'm not sure what is normal. I didn't feel a stuck egg or fluid in her abdomen.

Fast forward to twenty minutes ago and I find her in the nest box again on 4 eggs. She gets out when she sees me (super flighty). She takes a dust bath in damp soil for about ten minutes then returns to the nest box. I kick her out, she hangs around tossing shavings and feathers over her back with her beak (why?). Then she jumps back in the nest box, fluffs up and settles down on the eggs and goes to sleep. In midday. Is she broody or is something wrong? She keeps giving the other hens the stink eye and only wants the nesting box with eggs.

How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
No clue. I left for three days prior to today. Today is the first day I have seen her do this, but she may have done this in the two days prior. I was told she is roosting at night.

Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
Not that I can see. She has some vent gleet, but it could be unrelated.

What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
I don't know. Broodiness? EYP? Egg Bound?

What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
Purina Layena Pellets, Fermented bird seed, forage

How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
Runny, if I was looking the same hen. As I said, I can't tell two apart.

What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

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?
If sick, home treatment. If broody.... babies? I have young chicks I can give her.

Describe the housing/bedding in use
Converted horse stall coop; pine shavings.

Cyprus :)


I Love Autumn
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
Comb is big and red which usually indicates health. Sounds more like broody to me. Remove her again and see what she does. Is she making a constant clucking noise when down? Check later at dusk to see if she's still in there. Sometimes sick birds hide in the nestboxes, but generally you can tell they aren't feeling well just by looking at them.


Oct 21, 2018
Definetly broody. I had a chicken that did this once, so don't worry. But make sure she keeps eating. Mine stopped eating and because she fluffed up so much I didn't see how skinny she had gotten. So spoil that chicken with treats, and she will say:yesss:


Free Ranging
7 Years
Feb 12, 2015
North Florida
Here is some info on broodies:
If you determine that she IS broody, and if you don't have fertilized eggs for her to hatch, and can't or don't want to get any, then it's best to break her. Otherwise she will insist on sitting and she will not eat or drink well during this time. It can be hard on them, they can lose a fair amount of weight. It can also stress the other hens when trying to use a nest box and there is a territorial monster in one. The broody buster in the link above is what I do, I don't mess with the other methods as I've not had luck with them (maybe my broodies are just THAT stubborn!) Depending on how determined she is it can take up to a week for her to change her mind and be a normal hen again. If you decide to get eggs and let her sit, I usually move mine to a place where the chicks will be safe when hatched. I have a nursery/grow out area in my set up that is parallel to my main run, so they can all see each other and the chicks are safe from the other adults. Also keeps mama broody a bit calmer.

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