Breaking a broody hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by my5hens, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. my5hens

    my5hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2011
    My Sheldon has gone broody all of a sudden. She snarls at the other girls, she sits in the egg box all day and if I go in to check on her she screams at me. She wont eat or leave the box so I think its broody behavior. I tried to lift her to see if she was laying on eggs and she bit me.

    There is no rooster so why would she be sitting on her eggs like that? They aren't going to hatch.
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    Remember, chickens don't operate from logic or reason. Chickens act the way they do because of instinct. Going broody is a hormonal response likely linked to a hen laying X number of eggs. Your Sheldon is unaware that her eggs will not hatch or that she has been deprived of male companionship.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hormones determine broodiness. If the hormones are light enough, the hen may never go broody. If the hormones are flowing mildly, the bird might be a bit broody, but can be broken of it. If the hormones are really coursing, there may be no stopping a broody. They will set on a pile of rocks in attempts to hatch them. Some broodies will set on nothing at all. And it has nothing to do with having a rooster or not. The birds hormones don't know eggs are not fertile. All the hen knows is that she has urges to hatch eggs. She will set on invisible eggs if she has to.

    And yes, they growl, bite and cluck. There are methods you can do in attempts to break a broody, however I have found that stopping them from following thru with their urges causes depression, listlessness AND a lack of eggs. If I just let them do their thing, setting on nothing, many times it only takes a week or so to get bored and get off the nest. Many times they will get back to laying quick, however they soon return to their broody states shortly after. I have never been able to break a TRULY determined broody.
  4. luckylee

    luckylee Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2013
    Middle Georgia
    I have one of my RIR's that is a bit broody and she growls and clucks at me and pecks once in awhile.. She is usually sitting on 2-4 eggs when I go collect eggs. Well, she does let me reach under her and take the eggs, sometimes more reluctantly than others. Today was too funny.. She let me get two eggs from under her and I thought that was all. Well, she looked at me and clucked a few times~ raised up her body and literally rolled another egg my way. Like she was saying~ hey you forgot one... Had to share that silly moment with you all.. She will set a lot of hours a day sometimes..

    Let me ask.. We are getting some biddies the middle of February. Do you think we could slide 6 of them under her when taking out the eggs and letting her raise them? or would that not be a good idea.. how old should the biddies be to do something like that? We have a smaller coop we could put her in to do that as well.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    You can slip babies or eggs under any bird that is broody and see what happens. However just because a bird goes broody, doesn't mean this make they a GOOD broody. She may not sit full term, she may hurt or kill the babies at hatch or not take care of them properly, not take care of herself, etc.... So only time tells as to whether a hen makes a good momma. But you don't know until you try! So if you have a bird that is broody at the time you have babies, go ahead and slide them under her. See what happens. Watch them carefully to make sure she doesn't hurt them and be ready to use your own brooder should she not take to them. :)

    Edited to add: I just noticed it is you Sharon. :) [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

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