Broody Hens ~ Some Facts To Help You With Your Broody

By roostersandhens · Dec 31, 2013 · Updated Dec 31, 2013 · ·
  1. roostersandhens
    Here are useful facts when owning a broody hen.

    Some Breeds That Make Good Broody Hens
    Orpington Australorp
    Cochin Easter Egger

    There are other broody breeds, the breeds above are just suggested breeds when in search of a broody.

    Breeds That Rarely Go Broody
    Rhode Island Red
    Leghorn Barred Rock
    Rosecomb Polish

    Here is a good link for non broody breeds:

    Should I Let My Hen Brood?
    1st just decide whether or not you want more chickens. If you want more chickens then you have to decide, do I hatch my own in the incubator, Let the broody hatch, order chicks from a hatchery, or get full grown hens. Chicks always seem to be much happier with a mother, so I would vote broody. Chicks being raised and hatched by a mother hen is more natural. If you want certain breeds of chickens, you can order hatching eggs and give them to your broody. Some broody hens will accept day old chicks. Remember this is risky, because the hen may kill the chicks if she doesn't accept them.

    I Have Decided To Let My Hen Brood, What Now?
    Your broody hen is going to need to have a nest separate from the rest of the flock. You can put together a dog crate with bedding, and put her in there. Maybe put the crate in the garage. But, she can't be with the other chickens. Then once or twice a day your broody will want to take a break. She must come off and eat, drink, and poop. Some hens won't come off the nest, so you must take them off once or twice a day. I have had 2 broody hens, one I had to pull off once a day, the other hen came off on her own. But, they must take a break. Some hens will just sit and never come off, and eventually starve, get dehydrated and very sick and sometimes die. Caution: When taking a hen off the nest, she may have tucked an egg or 2 under her feathers. So check her belly area before taking her off. The eggs will fall out from her feathers and crack. So be careful. In 21 days you will have a broody with chicks! (if you have a chick who is struggling from an egg and absolutely needs help getting out, or he/she may die, then carefully follow these instructions: )
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Chicks Hatched Now What?
    The hen will take care of them. All you need to do is supply the hen and her chicks with chick starter and water. The hen won't mind eating the chick starter. Do not let baby chicks eat laying pellets, because they don't need the added calcium. Keep the hen and her chicks separated from the rest of the flock for about 2 weeks. Then you can put the hen with her chicks with the others. The hen will protect her chicks. You can always put her and the chicks in a crate inside the coop at first so the chicks can get to know the others. You do not need to take the chicks from broody, and I highly suggest you don't.

    Breaking a Broody
    If you have decided you don't want your broody to brood here are some ways to break a broody. This is a technique that I find works on less serious broody hens. Like the ones who weren't that into the idea of being broody. (this technique mainly works on free-range chickens only, depending on the size of your coop) You pick up the hen from the nest, and carry her far from the nest, chances are she won't return, but many do. I would try that twice if it doesn't work the 1st time. If you continue to do that more then 2 times it becomes mean. The best way if that doesn't work is to put her in a wire bottom cage for a few days. (with food and water of course)

    Identifying a Broody Hen
    A broody hen will sit in her nest and when you or another hen comes up to her she may fluff herself up and make a growling noise.
    She will sit there and sit there. If you free-range your hen may find a nest in a bush or anywhere private.
    [​IMG] (Not my picture)
    This hen has layed in a tree trunk. I have had a broody sit in a bush for 21 days! Your hen may peck at you if you try to touch her.

    Enjoy your broody (or don't if you don't want a broody) and here are some helpful links:
    Sorry I went crazy finding links for the readers! :)
    Good Luck if you get a broody hen!
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

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  1. mebuff daisy
  2. Mountain Peeps
    Wonderful job!!
  3. roostersandhens
  4. One Chick Two
    Good article!
  5. roostersandhens
    When I had my first broody, she left the eggs for 1 day (the second day) and the eggs still hatched! She hatched 10 chicks! My other broody hatched 3 chicks. So they all have a different idea and how many is a good amount! :)
  6. KayTee
    Thank you for your really informative article roostersandhens. I totally agree with your list of broody / non broody breeds, but having said that, all hens are individuals, and there is always an exception to the rule! My only broody hen was a production red (similar to RIR). According to all the information I could find online, these hens are bred for egg production and almost never go broody. Yeah, right! - I had her from point of lay for just over a year (before she decided to go walkabout and get herself run over), and in that time she went broody four times! Twice I managed to break her (wire bottomed cage for 2 or 3 days), and twice I gave in because she was much more stubborn than I was, and put day old chicks under her after 3 or 4 weeks of brooding (second time was longer as couldn't find any chicks!) She was absolutely the best mother in the world to her adopted chicks - defending them against everyone and everything, and raising them as her own!
    Two things that I would like to add from my own experience:
    1). My broody had to be taken off the nest, (she wouldn't move at all), so I took her off at least 2 or 3 times a day, and in the very hot summer I made sure to give her a bowl of food next to the nest (with a lot of moist 'treats' like tinned sweetcorn) and water when she was on the nest (using a syringe to drip water on to her beak), to avoid dehydration. (Time consuming but essential, as she wouldn't stay off the nest for long enough to eat and drink properly).
    2). If you can't break a broody hen, and don't have fertile eggs for her to sit on, then putting day old chicks under her after 21 days brooding can have very good results - my girls are living proof! (But you should always be prepared to raise the chicks by hand in the event that your hen decides to reject them for some reason)
  7. roostersandhens
  8. chickenboy100
    Nice! I like it, good job. :D

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