Breaking Broody Hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by I Love Layers, May 20, 2016.

  1. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 25, 2015
    North Dakota
    I have 2 broody silkies that are broody right now.
    Most of the time I would let them be but they have put me over the edge.
    So for the first time ever I am going to break some broody hens.

    The most common method I've heard of is putting them in a wire bottom cage, with food and water of course, and leave them I their until they are not broody anymore.

    Anyone else know of any other ways to break the broodies?
    And when do you know when you've broken them because I tried it once the hen wasn't acting broody and I let her out and she was broody the next day
  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I think the best method is the wire cage suspended off the ground. The idea is to cool the breast down.

    I've heard people that will submerge the hen in a bucket of ice cold water (cover just the breast) to cool the bird down. Another idea is to block the nest boxes off as soon as the rest of the flock is done laying for the day so they can't get into the nest box the rest of the day and night.

    I honestly have not had much luck with any method so I don't even try anymore. I have a Speckled Sussex and a Maron that I know have been broody for over two months, if nothing else they are persistent.

    Good luck breaking a silkie hen from being broody. That gene is ingrained in them like the gene to grow feathers. Its the reason I've only had a couple silkies one time in my 40 years of raising chickens, they brood way to often and all the time.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    In my experience, the method you mention has worked for me - but to be honest, i think that the issue of being isolated and not allowed to do normal chicken stuff with the rest of the flock is as much a contributory factor as anything else to breaking their broodiness. With my broody (I only have one) 3 days usually does the trick, but there's no way to know whether its worked or not until you let them loose - if they return to the nest, then put them back.

  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The theory behind breaking broody is to cool them down to help discourage the flow of broody hormones, and deprive them of a dark, quiet place which also discourages the flow of hormones.

    I place the hen in the open mesh-bottom cage and I place a fan to blow the air under her, further cooling her. The cage is placed in the middle of the run where all the chickens are eating and coming and going and socializing. The broody is forced to focus on the flock activity and it keeps her from sinking into the "broody trance".

    Several times a day, I let the broody out of the cage to poop and eat and take a dirt bath. When she's finished, if she remains out with the others instead of heading right for a nest, I know she's cured. If she heads for a nest, I know she's still broody and needs more time in the cage. The shortest time it took to break a broody in my flock was two days. The longest was ten days.
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