We didn't know exactly what was going on. But by the looks of it, she seemed to be trying to give birth - holding her breath, pushing, dropping her tail, and then letting out the most human-sounding squeal I've ever heard from a Hen.
We did a quick search on the internet and figured it was a stuck egg, which we could barely see cresting from her hind-end.
We put her in warm water which seemed to stop the contractions and allowed her to rest, but she also stopped trying to push. We then massaged her belly and sides, and to no avail. Some suggested putting oil around the egg, which I attempted with my smallest finger. If you would have told me I'd have been doing this a few years into owning chickens, I would have laughed. But there I was.
A few hours later and with a wet and warn out chickie and no egg, we became concerned as this was a life-threatening condition for a Hen.
One site suggested putting her in a warm, dark, quiet place and letting nature run it's course. As we had no other remedies to try, we found a box and put some towels inside and added food, water, Loretta Hen, and closed the top.
After anxiously waiting only 10 minutes, we heard a small little sound from within the box and looked inside to find Loretta sitting quietly beside her egg.
It was over. Loretta looked relaxed and I was amazed at how little time it took her to do what she needed to do, once she was in the right environment. But then again, that made perfect sense. How many times had I also forgotten what was mine to do - what had previously felt very natural. And in my confusion, I had pushed and pushed, but wasn't able to find my groove.
Looking back on those situations, when I've been able to get into nature for awhile by myself or on a retreat, finding my truth and healing seemed the easiest and most uncomplicated thing in the world to do. Loretta was a good reminder that my inner wisdom and innate natural abilities sometimes just need a supportive and relaxing environment, and a little quiet time, to unfold.