1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

My hen won't lay or leave the box...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mike james, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. mike james

    mike james Hatching

    Jul 24, 2010
    My hen won't lay or come out of the lay box unless I take her out. I took her out so she can get some water but then she goes right back in. She was in there 24 hours straight the first time until I took her out. She pooped 2 big balls, one black and one white stuff then back to the box. She constantly makes this sounds I haven't heard before like she is swallowing or something. She has laid two soft eggs in the past (that I know of because she ate one right after she laid it right in front of me). She has only been laying for about 2 months now and I usually get 5 to 6 eggs from her a week. Can anyone give me some advice on to monitor or isolate her from the others (I have 5 total all hens strictly for laying). I have inspected her bottom side to look for infection like from a broken eggs in her or something but everything down there looked fine to me (but what do I know....). Thanks to anyone who has either seen this before or heard of it and can help me out. Mike
  2. Sounds like you got a broody there. They stop laying, hang out in the nest box constantly, and make a low "boink, boink, boink" sound.
  3. SallyF

    SallyF Songster 9 Years

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    When you take her out, does she fluff her feathers up and cluck? She may be broody.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  4. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Songster

    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.

    Yup, sounds like a broody hen. What breed is she? Some tend to go broody more than other's.
  5. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Songster

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    She has gone "broody", which is to say; her inner clock is telling her to hatch some chicks. Have you seen the other girls laying eggs for her to sit on? I have two brooding hens at the moment and they both are sitting in the same nest. The other girls squeeze in and lay their eggs and then get up, sing the "I just laid an Egg" song and then go on about their day.
    I take them off their nests when I come along and I place them on the ground so they have to go the long way around to get back in the run and they always poop a MONSTER poop and eat and drink along the way.
    Your girl will be fine. You don't need to worry. She will not die from lack of food or water. [​IMG]
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    You have a broody hen. Put some fertile eggs under her, and in 21 days your flock will increase.[​IMG]
  7. mike james

    mike james Hatching

    Jul 24, 2010
    Well it does sound like she is broody but I don't have any rooster because I didn't want my flock to grow. Will she eventually get over it or do I HAVE to get a rooster. I gave away two roosters because like a dummy I forgot to get sexed chickens when I got my second two chickens (the new guy). I do see her fluffing her feathers when I put her out on the ground and the other chickens have been laying eggs in the same box with her. Thanks for all of your help and I'll just keep an eye on here.
  8. suburbanminifarm

    suburbanminifarm Songster

    Jul 29, 2009
    N.San Diego County
    No of course you don't HAVE to get a rooster! It's just her way of wanting to be a mommy but you don't have to let her. Do what the other poster said and take her out of the nest box a couple times a day so that she has a long walk to get back in. She will take the opportunity to eat and drink, and eventually get over it.
    I remember when I first got chickens, I spent one christmas trying to keep alive a "sick" silkie who was in a broody trance for weeks. I had no idea about broodiness and seriously I thought she was eggbound and dying! I spent days giving her warm sink baths and trying to vaselene her bum!
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  9. chkn

    chkn Songster

    Jun 27, 2010
    If you take the eggs and she still wants to sit, make her get out and get some sunshine, even if you have to separate her in a special "broody" pen.
  10. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Here's a good thread on breaking a broody hen. I use a wire bottom rabbit hutch as my broody breaker, some people like to just let them go until they give up on their own but I don't see the point in letting the hen lose condition and us loose out on the eggs.

    If you change your mind and want to add to your flock you could also try to put some day old chicks under her some night after she's been broody for a week or two. Occasionally a hen will reject the foster chicks and then you have to brood them yourself, but I've only had that happen once. The main advantages of giving a hen foster chicks instead of letting her sit on eggs are that you can buy sexed chicks (not 100% accurate, but way better odds then hatching eggs) and that you can get the breed(s) of chicks that you want--or even another species. I let one hen sit on duck eggs (she lost her mind when they discoverd the creek) and fostered turkey poults on another one. I have three more broody girls this week and am going to give two of them turkey eggs to hatch and the other one some two day old peachicks.

    ETA: The dang thread on breaking broodies. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: