So you have a broody, but she's not really hatching eggs, huh? Well, this is the article for you! No one wants a grumpy, hoarding, growling, puffy, no-laying hen hogging up a nestbox ESPECIALLY if you're not gonna get a cute little fluffy reward. So, you need to break your broody. Here are some tips on how to break her. Here are five methods on breaking a hen.
- The 'Ice Pack' method
- No more nestbox!!
- Operation: Color eggs- with Sharpie
- A nice breeze
- A cold bath
1. The 'Ice Pack' method
I like to use this method. It is simple, and all you need are a couple ice packs!!! Broodies' undersides are warm for the chicks, and your goal is to try and cool it down-- this will most likely break the hen. So, for the Ice Pack method get two-three ice packs and place them under the hen. Swap them out for cooler ones once they start to thaw so that the hen always has a cold Ice Pack under her. Some hens are easier to break then others, so this method usually works for hens that are easily broken. My hen, Buttermilk, brooded right on the Ice Pack-- she's a toughie to break. So, just slip ice packs under your hen and wait!! Make sure to swap out ice packs for cooler ones when necessary.
Some people can't do this since an extra only wire cage is needed. Isolate your hen and place her in a cage with no nesting area. Give her food and water. Wait a couple days with her in the wire cage. The air circulates through the holes in the cage cooling her stomach down. This is a very effective method, but most people can't do it since they don't have a spare cage. Remove hen when she is broken.
3. No more nestbox!!
In most coops you can block off your whole nesting area. Sometimes even the whole warm area. Force your hen to stay outside with the others. I did this and it worked for my Barred Rock. But once again, Buttermilk defeated me and went on brooding outside. Keep the warm area blocked off for a couple hours, up to a day. Mind you- if you want to spare all your eggs you'll have to check on your hens very often to see where all your eggs are because they will get trampled in the run. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your eggs to break your broody.
4. Operation: Color eggs- with Sharpie
This is a simple method, all you need is a Sharpie and some eggs. This is a method for hens that are easily broken- not hard-core brooders. Color your eggs with Sharpie. (Use store bought eggs if you don't want to ruin your fresh eggs.) Make sure that there is a good amount of Sharpie on the egg. I've heard that hens don't like the smell and will stop brooding. This isn't the most effective method, though.
5. A nice breeze.
All this method uses is a spare fan. Get a spare fan, and plug it in where it will reach out to your chicken coop. (You may need an extension cord.) Point the fan up to where the hen is brooding giving her a nice breeze. It should cool down her underside, which is your goal. This is also not the most effective, but a simple method. Wait a couple hours with the fan going on the hen and see what has happened.
6. A cold bath
This method is also a *usually* effective and easy one. What you need is a five gallon bucket (a shorter, wider bucket is ideal though)- or something to fill up water, but not very deep. Then, take a hose and fill up the five gallon bucket about halfway. Make sure that it's cold, but not freezing cold. Put your hand in there to check the temperature, and if it's too cold, add some warm water from a sink. Then, take your broody hen and dunk her in the water-- all that is necessary is her body, so don't dunk her head and neck. Let her sit in there for about half a minute to a minute and then take her out and dry her well. Also, this method is tricky for a flighty hen that is not easily handled. This may take a couple days to completely break her.
I hope that you have found this article helpful!!! Some hens are very persistent and cannot be broken. In that case, you'll just have to wait it out- she'll stop brooding eventually. Good luck!!!