Breaking Broody Hen in Wire Box - Won't Sit Down

awakening2

Hatching
Apr 14, 2015
8
2
9
I've been reading all things 'broody' since our Buff Orpington turned into a mini- TRex and went broody, about one week ago. She had it pretty bad, even pulling out her feathers. We are now trying to break her by putting her in a wire box, as many people have suggested. Her body temp is much cooler than it was and I think we're moving the right direction; however, my concern is that I don't think she's sitting - at all. Is that common for hens in a broody box? Or should I be concerned? She drinks a little water and is eating a little bit. We went from one extreme to another - ONLY sitting to not sitting at all. I appreciate any advice from those of you with experience. Thanks
 

ryanhodapp

Songster
9 Years
May 5, 2010
682
35
176
St. Louis
I guess she doesn't like the wire on her bottom. Where do you live and what are your temps?

Can you raise the wire box any off the floor and then Blow fan on the bottom, not to much. I've also heard of putting ice on her bottom too. But it is winter and I don't know if I would do any of this for long.

It usually takes my silkies about 3 days to break depending on weather. Warmer weather takes longer.
 

awakening2

Hatching
Apr 14, 2015
8
2
9
We've brought her in the house, because it's quite cold outside. She's in a room with a tarp under the cage, which is lifted off the floor about 4 inches. The room is about 68-70 degrees. Her body temp is so much cooler than it had been that I think she's coming out of it, but don't want to rush it and have her go back into full-on broodiness. Do you think I should put a towel in the wire box so she can sit down? I'm hesitant to put anything in there that she will 'nest' on, but also want her to be able to sit down. Thank you for your response!
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,756
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Does she have something to roost on in the broody buster cage. She will not be overly comfortable standing on the wire all the time, so make sure there is something to roost on even if it's just a bit of tree branch or log on the wire floor. I think you are prolonging things by bringing the cage in the house. If you don't have room to put the cage in the coop, perhaps a garage or shed would be cooler. You really need to break her as quickly as possible if you are removing her from the rest of the flock otherwise you will have reintegration problems.

Definitely don't put a towel in there as it will just give her something to nest on. Chickens hunker down rather than lie, so providing her with something to roost on will allow her to hunker down comfortably without trapping heat below her.

Good luck with her and I hope you have her back to her usual self soon.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,527
79,405
1,462
Wisconsin
You should have left her outside, bringing her in will make her hot and stressed, I would put her back outside, it can't be that cold, chickens are quite hardy, especially a heavily feathered breed like an Orpington. She should have a roost to perch on. You don't want her sitting down during the breaking process, my will stand or pace, caught early enough three days should be enough, up to five if left broody longer.
 

awakening2

Hatching
Apr 14, 2015
8
2
9
Thanks everyone! I find all of your suggestions quite helpful. We'll move her into the cool garage, give her something to stand on, and let her wait it out. Really appreciate your help.
 

JeanR

Songster
10 Years
Jul 6, 2009
434
177
191
Montana
Body temperature of a hen is normally about 104f. Setting hens temperature is LOWER, about 99f. General info about lowering the temp to break a "setting hen" is reversed! Not to worry about temperture at all, as Mother Nature will raise the temp as she changes hormones from Set to Back to Laying again. Main thing is to have NO nesting material. The wire cage, food and water is fine, does not have to be elevated, except a space to collect droppings. Some hens take only a day or 2, others up to a week. And some dear ones just try to tell you that they really want to hatch some chicks! They can be valuable when you want to hatch!!
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,776
34,280
1,122
Colorado Rockies
I agree, moving her into the house was not the best thing. And it generally takes just three days to break a broody. The thing to do to see if she's broken is to do the "nest test". That she's standing instead of sitting, may mean she's out of broody mode. Release her into the run, not the coop. Watch her over the next few hours. If she runs back into the coop and glues herself to a nest again, it means she needs more time in the broody cage.

And it's best to set the cage up right in the middle of the most activity. You want to keep a broody from being in a dark, quiet, warm, comfy nesting environment. Plus, keeping her in with the flock will make re-entry easier since she won't be out of sight of the flock. Isolating a broody is the last thing you want to do.
 

awakening2

Hatching
Apr 14, 2015
8
2
9
Thanks! Reading about broody hens and having one, for the first time, are very different. I couldn't believe the change in our sweet girl! The cage worked and she's back to her normal self - minus a ton of feathers!
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,756
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
It's sad because you are missing out on the very best bit about broody hens...... watching them rear chicks!

My first broody raised 14 chicks to 6 weeks old in a free range flock, How she coped with me fussing and all the hazards of my stable yard and not lose one of them I don't know, At 6 weeks she cast them off and having been an adoring, attentive mother for the whole of that time, she suddenly turned on them like a fiend, chased and pecked them until they got the message that they were on their own and that day she started laying eggs again. She has successfully raised 3 broods since then and I no longer fuss now but just let her get on with it, sit back and enjoy the show because she clearly knows what she is doing better than me. Watching her teach them to dust bath is the very best chicken TV there is, especially with such a large clutch.. Hope you are able to let her experience being a mother at some point, for your entertainment as well as her fulfilment. In the mean time, well done for breaking her of it now.
 

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