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I have a 2 year old hen stopped laying a month ago same as my other one but her comb was starting to get pale. I watched her a few days it had been really hot and humid thought maybe she was stressed. I noticed wet feather near her vent and I picked her up and her belly was really red, hot and bloated.

I have trolled every site on the internet and called about 25 vets but no help.

She has pooped out what looks like egg .

I have her on antiobitic and liquid calcium but she not improving.

If anyone has any ideas or may have experienced this any help would be appreciate it.

She is a pet so killing her is not my first option.

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Is she not leaving her "nest" area? I have an older hen that has never gone broody before, that has gone broody this year.


A few things that came to mind:

The wet vent could be that she laid an egg without a shell. The "pooping" of what looked like an egg may also have actually BEEN an egg without a shell. She should have free choice calcium. Most people give this through oyster shell. Eggs without shells are common in new layers (I call them practice eggs) and older hens that may be nearing the end of their laying years, AND when the hen is not getting enough calcium. I know you've given her liquid calcium, how long ago did you do that? It can take a while for calcium to impact egg laying.


If she's broody, she will not leave the site she has chosen to be her nest except for a few min. to eat and drink each day. You may or may not witness her doing those things. The red, hot belly would be consistant with a broody hen. They pull their feathers out on their stomachs and become the incubator for the eggs they would be hatching. The thing with broody hens, is that it's an instinct to go broody, so they will often sit on an empty nest without any eggs. The pale comb is also consistant with a broody hen.


If you have more details, or photos of your hen's poop and condition, that may be helpful in helping you more!! Try not to worry too much at this point. :)

One of my girls went broody a couple of times already this spring/summer but, I don't remember her comb getting pale. Her belly was warm, of course, b/c she never got off of it except for when I picked her up and put her out in the yard for her mandatory stretch for the day....which she didn't appreciate!!!


How is she acting otherwise? Is she eating? Does she walk around if you take her away from the coop and nest box? There are avian vets that might be able to offer more answers for you. 


In any case, keep us posted as we may all be able to learn from it.

Thank you for the responses.

Yes the poop is egg without the shell. Their are very few feathers on her belly. I have always had a bowl of oyster shells for them to choose in the cage. I have 2 of these RIR hens and a rooster housed together. They free range also.

She seemed to stay in the house part where they nest. Lays  down alot. I took her out tonight and put her on the grass but she just stood there in one spot. She did peck at grass and I gave her a tomato and she ate it.

I called 25 vets in my area none of which deal with chickens and gave me no information including the ones that treated birds.

I only have a few years of experience with hens and this is just something I have never seen one do before.

Thanks again for your help :-)

It really sounds to me like she's broody. She'll most likely stop laying all together in the next few days... I personally let my hens set through their broody spell... but I've heard of other people putting their broody hens into pens with a  mesh floor (there are some that say the air flow underneath the hens breaks them from their broody spell faster) otherwise, she should stop within 28 days or so. As long as you leave her with food and water where she can get to it, and she doesn't show other signs of being sick, I think she'll be fine.

I agree. There seems to be alot of different opinions and ways to deal with broody hens. I just took mine off the nest every afternoon and closed the coop so that she couldn't get back in. Then she had no choice but to run with the others. She fussed the whole time. She just seemed like an entirely different bird while she was broody. It lasted for exactly 21 days the first time and about 10 days the second time. She's back to being herself now.  I do think your girl will be just fine too.

I moved the hen to her own cage 3 days ago.

 Her belly is so bloated she cant stand up. Shes really uncomfortable but eating.

I checked for egg but didnt feel anything. When I held her up she passed some whitish goo out her vent.

I dont know what else to try and everything I do doesnt seem to help her.



If she's broody, she WON'T stand up. When you say she's "uncomfortable" what signs is she showing that tell you this? Here is a site with photos of what "normal" poo for chickens looks like. http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0 according to this site, your chicken might need more water. Make sure she's got some within reach of her when she's on the nest. Same with food. Not all hens will leave their nests for food and water when they are broody, but they will take from anything within their reach. It really sounds like she's broody to me... can you take any video of her while you're handling her and post it here? It would really help with giving advice.

Her vent and belly so swollen she not pooing. She looks like she has a grapefruit in there but its squishy. Her legs are more to the sides she is so big. I will try to get pics tomorrow.


I thank you for your continued responses.


Lucy passed away last night. :-(


She had turned to bones with a giant liquid filled belly.

The liquid was brownish red and I have no idea what was wrong.

Its possible she was bit by a snake as I had chased one out of their coop

a few weeks back. It was very small and not sure if it was a poisonous one or not.


Oh gosh Cheryl, I am so sorry. I thought there had to be something else wrong when you said her belly was all big and bloated and she couldn't walk. I just didn't know how to help you. It makes me feel so bad. I will try to look it up in my chicken books. I just wish I knew more and was able to help. That is very sad.


Hi Dawn,  I had ordered several chicken health and disease books during this 2 weeks of hell and had trolled the internet for hours. Unfortunately most things have similiar symptoms and the odd symptoms she had werent in the book. I had ran into my neighbor and mentioned it to him and he thought a poisonous spider bite. I am sad I lost her but relieved it wasnt something my others could catch. I guess I didnt know a spider or small snake could do that to a chicken so I learned something. I have sprayed the coops hopefully I wont have another incident.

Thanks for hanging out with me in my moments of frustration...your input was appreciated..:-)

I'm so so sorry for your loss!! What a hard thing, to try so hard to figure things out, only to see your chicken not make it... I wish I could have been better help.




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