Is she broody or sick??

Theda's Mom

12 Years
Jul 1, 2007
Moscow TN
Okay, I thought I knew broody when I saw broody. I have a cochin who goes seriously and ferociously broody every summer. (She makes me laugh: it's hard to be terrified of growls when they come out of a big white fluff ball.) But now I'm not so sure. Here's the story. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed my Australorp becoming lethargic. Her generally dependable and regular egg-laying declined and eventually came to a stop. Her interest in food dropped off, and just as worrisome, I'd go into the coop or the run to find her hunkered down in a corner or under a bush. My first thought was injury and/or disease so I gave her a thorough looking over and then separated her from the rest of the flock. She hasn't gotten "better" in the sense that she's still inclined to hunker down in one place, not lay, etc. Yet at the same time, she hasn't gotten worse. She eats a little, she drinks a little, she perks up when I bring her a treat or even just reach in to give her a pet (she's a sweet and gentle hen). Unless it takes weeks for a hen to go downhill from disease (and nothing I've read would suggest that's the usual case), then I'm wondering if I mis-interpreted the signals and that she's broody rather than ill.

What are some of the non-conventional broody behaviors? If this hen were camped out in one of the nest boxes, she'd be acting just like Acadia-the-perpetually-broody cochin. Well, except for the crabby growls.
Since she doesn't show any desire to hang out in a nest box, I'm not sure what to think.

I've still got her separated from the rest of the flock, and because she doesn't appear to be distressed by that, my inclination right now is to keep her in isolation until I know better about what's going on.

She's a lovely hen, and the best of my layers.

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I'm afraid that her behavior indicates something other than broodiness. I don't have a clue as to what the problem might be.

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