Sick hen or broody hen?!!?

JJ--

Chirping
Apr 18, 2015
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12
86
Hi,
I have an Olive Egger and I can't tell if she's sick or broody.

She stopped laying about four days ago. She has no comb or wattle but her face is neon red (I have never seen it this red!)

She will walk around from time to time, but prefers to sit or stand still for a while. When I approach her, she puffs up with feathers straight In theair and will growl at me. Then she will calm down and go back into her penguin stance.

She was sitting on the eggs for a couple of hours and I tried to pick her up and she was went back on the eggs. Her poop is normal, And so seems everything else except she hasn't laid and will go into the penguin stance. She's eating and drinking ok.

I have isolated her in our house and given ACV and a dewormer and a "spa treatment" (epsom salt soak). For two days and has still not laid an egg or shown signs of change either positive or negative.

Has anyone else experienced this?
 

Bantambird

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 6, 2013
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Have you palpated her abdomen? If there is an egg stuck in there, you will feel it. A red face, wattles and comb are a sign of good health and virility in chickens, if she were to have pale features, I would be much more concerned. Usually, they can't poop when eggbound. Another problem that might crop up is internal laying, which can cause their abdomen to feel squishy and full and a penguin stance, especially if they develop egg yolk peritonitis, but I'm going to venture that she is, in fact, broody as you suspect.
Broodies won't lay eggs. They are essentially "pregnant".
 

JJ--

Chirping
Apr 18, 2015
87
12
86
Thanks! I am going to keep my eye on her. I will read up "broodi-ism" :oops: and internal laying. In your experiences, (besides the opinion of a vet) what was the tell tale sign of internal laying?
 

Bantambird

Free Ranging
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Internal laying usually has a swelling abdomen where the yolks collect. If it gets too many in her abdominal cavity she may stand like a penguin. Broodies will fluff up, growl, and tuck in her head. They can get mean once they are actively sitting, and might bite or wing punch you. Some broodies, like turkeys, can require leather gloves to check eggs!
If you have an internal layer, she may not develop any infection. The problem could be that she gets egg yolk peritonitis, which is an infection of the peritoneum from something contaminating those egg yolks sitting in her body cavity. If she is an internal layer, she should reabsorb the yolks sitting in her abdomen.
 

Lokibinian

Chirping
May 17, 2017
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I think she's broody, based on your description, but is there any feathers missing from her breast? Does she peck you or issue a warning cry if you reach toward her eggs?

Those are sure signs of broodiness.

Tell us what happens! :thumbsup
 

JJ--

Chirping
Apr 18, 2015
87
12
86
Oh I think she may have been sick! I pulled the droppings board and she laid two eggs (one with no shell!) and some roundworms! Poor girl!
 

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JJ--

Chirping
Apr 18, 2015
87
12
86
I should note that I had previously given her a safeguard on Monday and will give to her again ten days from then
 

Bantambird

Free Ranging
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Feb 6, 2013
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Now that you know she had a shell less egg, be sure to offer free choice calcium like oyster shells or crumbled egg shells. They won't over eat that and hopefully it will prevent a future issue. Also, palpate her abdomen now while she doesn't have an egg in there, so you can feel her normal abdomen. This will help you if something happens again later. Hopefully it is a one off thing.
 

JJ--

Chirping
Apr 18, 2015
87
12
86
So I wormed the entire flock on Monday with Safeguard and will deworm again ten days from last Monday with Safeguard again. I felt her abdomen this morning and I SWEAR she has a third egg in there ready to come out! Maybe she was really backed up? She also had a bare patch on the right side of her chest. Could she have been sick and starting to be broody? This morning she looked pale (she gave birth twice in one night with a third on the way- I'd be pale too!), but moved around and ate and drank. I will check on her again tonight after work and let you know. She was in quarantine for the first two days and I forgot to put the oyster shells in there with her food.
 

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