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Can hen prepare to go broody?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
We had 2 hens (a buff and a RIR) hiding eggs about 3 weeks ago. I found their spot and just put a nest box in for them because, well, honestly it was a more convenient spot for me than their coop haha!

A week later, I noticed I was still missing eggs and I was pretty sure the Rhode Island red had gone rogue again. Turns out she has, I found her spot this morning.

Is it possible that she is trying to go broody? That she is attempting to find a hidden spot and get a clutch of eggs ready to go? Do chickens give indicators that they are about to go broody? We WANT her to go broody, or any of them really. Can I help encourage her? Should I leave eggs?
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
I should mention that she is not staying on them. Just laying and then going about her normal business, though she has lately been spending her free time a little more separated from the flock. Not totally separate, but she will wander to her own parts of the yard often.
post #3 of 3

Yes, indeed. There's a pre-broody stage that lasts a week, maybe more in some hens. There definitely are indications.

 

I notice a hen going broody will be muttering the popping sound I like to call the broody cluck. It sounds like a pop corn popper. They only make the sound when the broody hormones are beginning to stir.

 

I also note that they are becoming more irritable by the day, making the other hens and rooster annoyed with them. They also are shedding feathers from their breast and those can be seen in the nest after they lay an egg.

 

They won't sit on the eggs until they've laid the final egg. By that time, they're fully broody and will be in that "trance" where they lay the last egg and remain on the nest from then on.

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