breaking a broody hen, bad idea or what?


8 Years
Apr 12, 2011
Portland, OR
I found one of my hens on a pile of eggs in a secret nest, I didn't even know she had began laying.. well.. I went to remove her and pick up the eggs and my rooster was having none of it, he's never been aggressive with me but he charged me, I kicked him, not too hard I didn't hurt him but just enough to get him away from my body, he charged back and I did it again and then I took off running into the house. Bad idea messing with his hen's eggs I learned. We've since been back to normal, gave him treats and he wasn't aggressive. My question is: what do I do about breaking a broody hen? I didn't even know she was laying eggs yet, shes 5 months, let alone had a secret stash of 15 eggs. Is it dangerous to the hen to forcefully remove her off an egg pile? Is there better ways to go about it?



Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
Hello! It's not dangerous to take away the eggs if you don't want her to hatch them. Other hens may be laying there too, so all the eggs might not be hers. Some people will try and break a broody by putting her in a wire cage, with no bedding (just food and water), for about three days. If you can suspend the cage somehow, so air can go underneath to cool her body, this is idea.....

I personally don't believe in dunking broodies in cold water, and I've heard of people doing that! ....That's just plain cruel, I think.

I just take the eggs away daily, and put the broody hen outside repeatedly, until she finally stops being broody. They can be broody for a long time though.


Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
Do you have a run or do you just totally free range?? If you have a run, I might keep her in there for a few days to make sure she doesn't just find another hidey spot. If you don't have a run, then I'd opt for the dog cage/kennel thing. It's easy when they go broody in the coop nests - because you can just keep giving them the boot outside. But that may not be an option for you.


9 Years
May 16, 2010
south portland, maine
There are lots of threads about broodies here, if you go to the search area at the top and put in breaking broodies. Most of them are under the behaviors and laying section.

I have 2 out of 3 hens that go broody on a regular basis and one sometimes has a hidden nest. If you do not want more chicks, you probably should try her in a wire bottom cage. Usually it takes mine about a week to get out of that hormonal state. When I have not dealt with it fairly agressively (just put them out of the coop/nest box area 4-5 x/day to eat, drink, run around and poo) it seems to take a long time for them to get back to normal. I have one that was broody for 6 weeks this summer. She was not interested in food or water and barely moved when she was out of the broody place - she was very pitiful. Next time I even think she is starting, she is immediately going into the cage. I think if you can start them before they get too tranced out, it is easier to break them. Good luck.


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