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Why Is My Chicken Laying Down All The Time?

Your chickens run around every single day. No wonder it seems odd when one of them decides they want to lay down and not move. For some chickens, lounging around once in a while is normal. However, if your chicken is laying down all the time and has other symptoms, then there may be something wrong. Today, you are going to learn some of the common signs to look for that may indicate why your chicken has gotten lazy.

Let’s begin.

Look At Your Chicken’s Comb

rooster comb profile

In order to understand why your chicken is laying down all the time, you must first examine the comb. Since the comb is atop your chicken’s head, it is an easy point of reference for how they are feeling. The only time this is less than effective is when you own a breed where the crown is small or not visible, such as a Polish chicken.

Combs are usually bright red when a chicken is feeling spry. Anytime the comb changes color, it means something is wrong. Keep in mind that pale red, pink, black, blue, and purple are all abnormal, unless the breed standard states otherwise.

For instance, if your chicken hasn’t gotten enough water, the comb will be floppy and pale. A pale comb can also point to heat exhaustion. In both cases, get your chicken cool, fresh water and bring them somewhere out of the heat. Anemia from internal or external parasites can also make the comb look droopy and washed out.

Frostbite may change the comb to blue, purple, or black.

Check The Vent

hen and rooster laying in the sun

Chickens have a single opening when they expel waste, as well as lay eggs. That opening is called the vent.

Chickens that lay down could be egg-bound, which is when the egg gets trapped inside the oviduct. Young hens primarily develop this issue. Egg-binding causes lethargy; you will notice far less energy, as well as a downcast tail and signs of discomfort. Your hen may also have a pale comb and lack of appetite.

Being egg-bound is serious and needs to be treated ASAP. Hens can die from this painful condition. Carefully handle your hen during this time as well. Should the egg break inside her, it will cause a fatal infection.

Is The Chicken Laying Eggs?

Generally, a happy and healthy hen is going to lay eggs regularly. You may even be able to set your clocks according to their schedule. However, when the ladies are not getting the right amount of nutrition, they could become lethargic and stop laying eggs. Unwell hens also stop laying eggs and may lay around. One sign that something is wrong is misshapen eggs. You may also find shell-less eggs.

Sick hens sometimes struggle with laying eggs, particularly if there is a blockage. Since changes in egg-laying habits can pinpoint serious medical conditions, it is best to speak with a veterinarian.

white hen stay over eggs

Feel Around The Crop

In case you are unaware, the crop is a section of the digestive tract in chickens. They are  not like humans and don’t have the same internal setup. The crop stores digested food at the front of the chest.

During the day, whatever the chicken consumes goes into the crop and stays there until nighttime. As the chicken sleeps, their digestive system starts processing the nutrients. Food moves from the crop into the gizzard, when grit grinds down the food. Then, the stomach absorbs the nutrients.

Sometimes, chickens will swallow items that they cannot easily digest — if at all. When this happens, they develop an impacted crop. Sour crop is another condition that is more serious than impacted crop. When food is blocked inside the crop, bacteria may begin to form.

Impacted crops can be treated by using vegetable oil to lubricate the digestive tract, in most cases. You can also massage the crop to see if that helps. For sour crop, you will need to contact a veterinarian.

Examine the Eyes and Nostrils

Chickens tend to lay down all the time when something is wrong. For instance, if their eyes or nostrils are blocked by something, they will refuse to move. Unfortunately, chickens are not adequately equipped to clean their own faces. This means that they sometimes get injured or infected there.

Check your chicken’s eyes and nostrils to see if there is any inflammation or fluid. Dirt and grime could also be in their eyes and nostrils. Gently wipe away any debris. If there are any signs of distress, such as labored breathing, as well as congestion or pus or fluid, you will need to speak with a veterinarian or investigate further.

Listen To Your Chicken’s Breathing

Does your chicken sound asthmatic when they breathe? Is there a gurgling in their throat? Or are they making a choking sound? Different sounds mean different things. For instance, gasping for breath often means that a gapeworm is lodged inside your bird’s throat. Other symptoms of gapeworm include coughing and shaking of the head.

A dewormer can help with any kinds of parasites stuck in the throat.

If your chicken sounds congested, they could have something inanimate stuck in there. See if you can open their beak to check. This could also point to a respiratory problem, particularly if you notice other symptoms, like runny nostrils, rasping, foamy eyes, and sneezing.

Look At The Chicken’s Droppings

Sure, it is not the most appealing part of the job, but you are going to have to do it anyway. Study your chicken’s poo. It is one of the best indicators of good or poor health.  Keep in mind that the consistency of a chicken’s poop is going to vary wildly from day to day. However, issues are always obvious.

Diarrhea can cause lethargy, which makes your chicken less willing to move. Diarrhea in chickens is often mucus-like and may have blood or odd colors in it. In the event of worms, dead ones may be found inside the feces. Anything that you deem out of the ordinary is worthy of a call to the vet. They will be able to guide you towards a diagnosis and solution.

Feather Status

red chicken laying in the dirt

When animals are unwell, they tend to look disheveled and tired. You may even note how your chicken stops caring about its appearance and refuses to bathe in dust.

Molting season may be around the corner. Occurring twice a year, molting is when chickens lose their old feathers and grow new ones. This can be a taxing period for your flock, but it is nothing they can’t handle. Make sure you bump up the protein intake, and give them plenty of healthy treats.

That said, if you notice a couple of bald spots in between molting season, it could mean your chicken is getting bullied. Balding also means malnutrition or a lice infestation. Check their feathers for any sign of lice. If you can rule that out, then see how the other chickens treat your feathered friend throughout the day.

Check Their Feet

Sometimes your chickens get injured on their feet, and they refuse to move because of the pain. Check their feet, if they let you. Should you spot any injuries, be sure to clean the wound and bandage it. If you notice that the legs look pale and scabbed, crusty, or thickened, it could be a sign that your chicken is infested with mites. Usually, mites will hide under the scales, where they can feed on the softer tissues.

Chickens who are infested with leg mites may limp around for a while then stop moving altogether.

Don’t forget about bumblefoot, a condition where a chicken’s foot gets infected from walking around in a bacteria-ridden area. Depending on the severity of the infection, your chicken may need to visit the vet for medication.


You were wondering, “Why is my chicken laying down all the time?” Having read the symptoms to look for, you may now have an inkling about what could be wrong. Usually, chickens laying around all the time is not normal, but there are some occasions where your chicken may be fatigued or hot and is resting. Nonetheless, you should establish a reason for the odd behavior and schedule a vet visit, if necessary.