My chicken hasn't come out all day and is lying down in her coup.


9 Years
Oct 3, 2010
We have four hens and they are all very active during the day - free range from the minute the sun rises to the minute the sun sets but for some reason one of our hens has stayed lying down in her coup all day. Could she be ill? She has been laying recently, though rather small, narrow eggs. She hasn't been out to eat or drink anything at all today and she hasn't moved from her spot all day.

Can anyone please shed some light? Thank you.


What is she doing - is she on a nest? laying on the floor? or staying on her roost?

When you get close to her - what happens? Does she puff her feathers? Growl? Move away from you or nothing?

If you offer her food and water what does she do?

How does her comb look - plumb and red or thin and pale?
Thank you for your prompt reply.

She is lying in the straw and she ruffles her feathers when I get close to her. She isn't wanting to eat or drink. They were out yesterday and got quite wet. Could it be she has a chill? Is it best for them to stay in all day when it rains? Mine seem to want to carry on foraging even when it is raining heavily. What should I do about her?
I let my birds decide what they want to do as far as rain - I have some who stand in it like a duck and get drenched and some who stay under shelter. I do not think it hurts them.

I am wondering if your girl is broody. A broody hen is one who is hormonally driven to hatch eggs (does not matter if you have a rooster or not). A broody stays on the nest, and generally will fluff up and growl at anything she feels could threaten her babies to be. (some hens will even set on NOTHING - their drive is so powerful)

For my broodies I keep a small dish of water and a small dish of food next to them - they have very little drive to leave the nest and I like to be sure they stay healthy.
Thank you for that. I will go and place a small bowl of food and water next to her. How long is she likely to stay there for? Also, I have another chicken that keeps sneezing! Could it be that she has a chill? Is there anything I can give her?

Sorry for all the questions. This is the first time I have had chickens so it's a whole new ball game to me I'm afraid.
Oh boy she could stay on her nest for awhile. Generally it takes 21 days for eggs to hatch once they start incubating. If she has no fertile eggs she could set for a couple months(if you want, you can ask on craigslist for fertile eggs or look here in the auction section).

Some people have luck breaking a broody by placing the broody in a wire cage so air flow cools the body temp. I just give mine fertile eggs.

Sneezing - could be just sneezing (something stuck or tickling her nostrils) or could be a resp. problem. I am no expert here - how long has she been sneezing? Discharge? How are her eyes looking - clear, crusty or bubbly?
I think I might call the lady we bought her off. We've only had the chickens a month and a half.

The one that's sneezing has discharge around her nostrils. She's been sneezing for over a week now but remains healthy - laying regularly, clear eyes, active, etc.

Unfortunately my knowledge is in horses, not chickens!!!
If she's growling at you, and when you pick her up and move her she remains in a tucked-in position, then yes, she's broody.
The chicken that has nasal discharge should be separated and treated for respiratory infection (is the discharge smelly?).
Other clues to broodiness....Does she make a low growling sort of noise when you approach her? (Some hens also peck). Has she got feathers missing from her chest/belly? If the answer to either of these is yes....she's broody.

The discharge does smell slightly. How do I treat her for a respiratory infection? Is she okay to free range with the others during the day and just be separated from them at night until it clears up? She has been with them all ever since we got her and she's been sneezing probably for a couple of weeks now. The others all seem to be fit and healthy and, as I say, she is too besides her sneezing.

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