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Broody Hens

If you’re breeding chickens, a broody hen is good news. She will sit on her own eggs, the eggs of other hens, and even the eggs of other birds (not to mention stones and golf balls!). However, if you’re just in it for the eggs, and not roosters and chicks, a broody hen is a nuisance. She will not like anyone coming close and may peck at a hand that attempts to retrieve an egg. She will also start plucking her breast feathers to line her nest, and may overheat eggs, shortening their shelf life.

This is one reason why eggs should be collected every morning. If left in the nest/egg box, a hen’s brooding instincts may kick in. To prevent this habit from forming, collect eggs every day. Hens are more likely to go broody on a nest full of eggs.


Buff Orpington broody hen
Feeling broody - a Buff Orpington hen

A hen who has already gone broody can be persuaded to abandon the eggs in a number of gentle ways. Take her off the nest at least twice a day and prevent her returning for at least ten minutes, and she will soon grow tired of the whole business. If this fails, an ice pack in the egg box will be sufficiently uncomfortable to dissuade her from brooding. Failing that, two or three days in isolation will force her to give up hopes of hatching. This isn’t cruel – hen’s act purely on instinct, and once the ‘cure’ is in place, her instinct will tell her to scratch, squabble and lay with the other hens, and she won’t think twice about brooding.

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Comments

Green, 3 August 2016

My white and black silky Dalmation, is about five months old and is already getting ready to lay some eggs. With her mate Comet a serima and his sister Poppy ready at her side. Dalmation will not leave Comet's side and Comet will usually bring her some grass or pellets from the food container. Also the cross breed for a silky and a serima is a frizzle but you will hope to get a Frizzle hen because they are actulay the best hen and because the frizzle's crow sounds like a brocken violin.


Amanda, 9 June 2016

I have just had an Australorp gone broody and comments above are useful. I opened the nestbox hatch and poured a small amount of water over her head to try and rehydrate and break the broodyness. it seemed to break the torpor that she had entered and she crossly moved onto a perch in the house. I then opened the back door of the house and she grudgingly went out. she is now eating her favourite corn with her mates outside and I am hoping that she will now stop.....


Cornerstone, 21 March 2015

We have a broody bantam, very aggressive, so we moved her to a separate box, but I love her being there. Her male partner died a few weeks ago, so I know her eggs won`t be fertile. I just bought 6 eggs from a local breeder and swapped her eggs for these others. One week to go!


Chloe, 21 September 2013

when my chook went broody we bought some fertilised eggs for her and they hatched within the 3-4 weeks!!


Linda, 10 September 2013

I had an ISA Brown go broody. I kept removing her from the nest box and also removed eggs. It was a very hot day 99 * and I found her dead in the nesting box. I tried to make sure she was drinking every time I found her sitting gaping. I think she just got dehydrated. Broke my heart.

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