Chicken Keeps Sitting Down

A chicken sitting down is not generally anything to worry about.

I know what you’re thinking – Why does chicken keep sitting down? 

Just like some chickens are more active, some chickens are just lazier than others and love to sit down more.

Besides personality, there are other reasons why a chicken will keep sitting down.

So if your chicken keeps sitting down a lot more than usual, it might be worth investigating.

It doesn’t hurt to give them a once-over to check if they’re okay and healthy.

An active chicken that is suddenly sitting down a lot may point to something that needs fixing.

In this article you’re going to discover the following

  • Why your chicken keeps sitting down (Answered in detail)
  • Signs of a broody hen
  • How to stop a broody hen

Sound interesting?


Let’s get “Clucking” (Okay, lame joke!)

Why Does My Chicken Keep Sitting Down? (Possible Reasons In Detail)

A very common reason for a chicken that continues to lay and sit down day after day is because it is a broody hen.

A broody hen is a chicken that wants its eggs to hatch.

In order to achieve this, it will lay on top of eggs (and sometimes even phantom eggs) to get them to hatch.

Of course, this won’t happen if there is no rooster around, so a lot of the time, the hen will sit around waiting on top of eggs that will never hatch.

If your chicken isn’t broody, another reason for it to keep sitting down is that it is sick.

You can easily tell when a chicken is sick as it’ll show symptoms such as unruly feathers, decreased egg production, changes in appetite, changes in the color of the comb, and general weakness.

Due to whatever illness it has, the chicken won’t have the strength to be its normal self and peck around all day.

Instead, it will lay or sit down due to fatigue.

If you notice that your chicken is sick, isolate it, and take it immediately to the vet.

What Are Some Signs Of a Broody Hen?

It’s easy enough to tell when your hen is broody.

Its whole demeanor will change and it will refuse to leave its eggs.

Some key signs to note are:

  • Staying in the nest all day. She won’t even leave to go to roost at night. She will absolutely refuse to leave her nest as otherwise, her eggs won’t hatch.
  • Becoming territorial. A broody hen will become territorial over her nest. You will note her aggressive behavior towards anything that approaches her nest. She may puff her feathers and furiously squawk to deter intruders.
  • Becoming aggressive. Similar to the above, the hen will generally be more aggressive. If you need to move her at any point, it’s best to wear gloves to avoid getting pecked.
  • Plucking her breast feathers. A broody hen will do this so that she can more easily pass on her body heat to the eggs.
  • Eating and drinking less. As the hen does not want to leave her nest, you’ll notice that she is eating and drinking less as she will not want much reason to leave the eggs.
  • Expelling big and smelly fecal matter. As the hens will try to stay in their nest, they’ll resort to only going to the bathroom as little as possible. This often results in big and smelly poops.

How Do You Stop a Broody Hen?

A broody hen is nice to have if you are planning to raise chicks.

But especially if you don’t have a rooster, there’s no point in having a feisty and aggressive hen that will lay on eggs for weeks with no hope of them hatching.

Thankfully, there are some ways to stop this behavior if needed.

Most of the time, broody hens will stop this behavior after around 21 days as that is how long it will take for a fertile egg to hatch.

Unfortunately, sometimes a hen will continue to stay broody, so in this case, you will need to humanely stop the broody hen so that it can take a break.

If a hen stays broody too long, it makes her more susceptible to illnesses as her body will be too weak to fight them off.

A method to stop a broody hen is to simply remove it from its nest.

Grab it (with gloves if you have a particularly aggressive broody hen) and hold it while walking around for a while.

Distract it with nice snacks and keep it entertained.

As soon as you put it down, the hen may run straight back to the nest, but if it does, simply try to distract it again.

If this doesn’t seem to work at all, you can even remove access to the nest completely.

If that doesn’t seem to do the trick, give the hen a cold bath.

The theory behind it is to lower the broody hen temperature.

Give it a refreshingly cold bath in a sink filled up just enough to cover its breast.

Try to use this method only on nice sunny days as you don’t want your chicken to shiver in the cold!

Before I conclude, here’s some articles about chickens which I think you’ll find interesting so do check them out!

Chicken keeps falling forward

Can chickens eat hay?

Chicken won’t roost on perch

When do hawks hunt chicken?

Wrapping Up 

If your chicken keeps sitting down, there is a high likelihood that it is a broody hen.

Broody hens will refuse to leave their nests and will lay down in hopes that their eggs hatch.

This behavior should disappear within 3 weeks, but if that’s not the case, there are some ways to “break” a broody hen.

Besides this, a chicken may also sit down a lot due to its personality or due to an illness.

Whatever the case, if you are worried, it’s worth getting it checked out by a vet just in case.

Related article you may find interesting so do have a read! – Chicken keeps shaking her head
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