My chicken just sits there?!?!?! I'm really scared please!!!


In the Brooder
5 Years
May 27, 2014
Ever since this morning my Americana chicken has been in her nesting box all day. Its really bizarre, usually their all really skittish and jumpy but now she's just...blank. She used to run and hop but now she just sits there and doesn't cluck, doesnt get up, doesn't do anything. She's still blinking and breathing and she shifts around in her box. She can stand up but she won't get out of the box. Before she would barely let me touch her, but now I can pick her up, shift her, and lift her feathers and she won't move away from me. If I leave she just sits there instead of following me

. At first she was sitting on two eggs my other chickens lay even though we don't have a rooster. But when I took them away she didn't snap at me so I don't think she was trying warm them. I don't know if an egg is stuck in her or what. I tried to look up in her but she has so many feathers I can't find where her eggs come out. Stuck to her feathers was some white dried poop(I think). Shes 49 weeks old and I'm really scared. Please!
I would guess that she is broody. Get her out into the sunlight, offer her some food.

If she were sick it would be one heck of a big coincidence that she happened to get sick on top of two eggs in the nesting box in spring, know what I mean? If she was trying to pass an egg she likely wouldn't be staring into space and immobile, she would be fussing and straining.
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Sounds like a broody hen, you might need to block the nesting box after your other hens lay to snap her out of it. You don't need a rooster for hens to go broody. Just keep collecting the eggs. Some take longer than others to snap out of it.
What does it mean when a chick is broody? How can I help her? And how would I block the nesting box?

It means her hormones are running rampant and she only wants to sit on eggs and raise babies. She may stay like that for weeks and it can have a negative impact on her health if it goes on too long. I have a broody hen sitting on a fertile egg now, if the egg wasn't fertile and developing I would not allow her to sit on it for 3 weeks, they barely eat when broody so it is not healthy to allow them to go on that way if there won't be chicks as a reward.

Try to get her out of that mindset, get her into the sunlight, get her interested in eating.
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Hi Stephanie,
She is in the "egg sitting zone". Yes, she is "broody". Literally zoned out on the desire to incubate and hatch eggs.
Not to worry, it is very natural for hens. They will sit 3 weeks to incubate eggs, whether the eggs are really there or not.
Here some good advice from other BYC folk on how to "break a broody" which is slang for getting the hen out of
the "zone" and back to regular life as an egg layer.
Post number 2 here is good advice:
Thank you everyone for the responses. But now I'm having another problem. She's not laying any eggs! Shes been going outside and eating, but no eggs! Is the brooding causing her to not lay?
Yes, not laying is part of being broody. Some, not all, hens go broody after laying for a few months. Their hormones change and it's sort of like a human woman getting pregnant. A hormone change takes place, ovulation stops, in the case of a chicken, she stops laying eggs which is the equivalent.

The hormones keep a broody from laying for almost a month unless you take steps to halt this process. You do this by removing her from her cozy nest, put her someplace where she's confined and can't get back to her nest spot. A cage with an open mesh bottom is ideal. It should be placed in a very well lit spot where there's a lot going on around her to keep her from zoning out. The idea is to lower her body temperature which shuts down the broody hormones. This takes from one to ten days and she's back to normal and lays eggs again a week after that.

If you do nothing, she remains on the nest, eggs or not eggs, for 21 days, then she will get off and the hormones slowly revert, but you won't have eggs from her again for over a month.

By the way, roosters are not necessary for hens to lay eggs, only if you want chicks to come out of those eggs.
Everyone thank you so much for the kind responses! She was brooding after all and eventually the rest of my chickens followed. After awhile they got out of brooding and are now laying happily! Thank you so much for the information and websites!

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