Broodiness questions

black_cat

I got a puppy!!!!
May 21, 2020
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I don't have chickens but have some general questions about broody hens. Is it bad for them to be broody if they're still getting enough food and water? If they go broody on eggs that aren't fertile, what will happen? If you can't give them chicks or fertile eggs, what should you do for them?
 

Rooster Runner

In the Brooder
May 15, 2020
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Having a broody hen is completely normal. If they sit on fertile eggs, they will make chicks! If they sit on non-fertile eggs, nothing will happen! If you take away the eggs they will leave the nest, and come eat. If you leave the eggs, they will not leave the nest. If you can't give them eggs, chicks, etc. Just leave them be. They won't sit in the nest if there's nothing to sit on!
 

Overo Mare

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I have broody hens sit on absolutely nothing all the time. They don't need eggs to go or stay broody.

The best thing to do with a broody, that you don't intend to use for hatching, is to break them. It's not good for them to sit for long periods of time. Especially if it's for nothing.
 

Rooster Runner

In the Brooder
May 15, 2020
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Hmm. . . I had a hen that wanted chicks before. She only sat on eggs though. If I took the eggs, she left the coop. Chickens all have their own personalities though. So one will most likely be different from the other.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Although it's rare hens have starved to death while setting or gotten parasites (more common) or other health issues.

I see no reason to let a hen stay broody if you're not hatching. She's cranky, the other chickens are cranky, and it's just a headache to deal with for a net result of no chicks.
 

Overo Mare

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I have a hen that went broody, I put her in a small cage for a couple days, when I let her out , she went right back to the nesting boxes,
What is the best way to break her? I dont have fertile eggs for her to hatch,
The best way to break a broody hen, is to put them into a "broody jail". Dog crates work great (and conveniently fold up for storage when you don't need them), but anything with a wire bottom will do. I've built some and I have dog crates I use. For the dog crates, I cut a piece of HC to put on the bottom.

Make sure the jail is large enough for the hen to move around a bit, and for food and water. Some people may put a 2x4 in for a roost, but its not necessary. Set it up about 8+ inches off the ground, so that air can circulate underneath her. I like to keep my jails in the main run/coop if possible. It makes reintegration easier and less dramatic.

Place your broody in jail and leave her there for a few days. Let her out to socialize and dust bathe every evening with her flock, and watch where she goes when she's done. If she makes a b-line for the nesting boxes - toss her straight back into the slammer.

Keep doing this every day until her normal behavior has returned, and she ignores her "nest". One good indicator is that once they are broken, the broody time bomb clucking will stop.

The best thing to remember through all of this is patience. I've had hens break in a few days and I've had hens take a few weeks to be broken. I currently have 2 in jail. I will attach a picture of one of them shortly so you can see the setup.

20200611_090326.jpg
 
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junkman56

Songster
Sep 7, 2016
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The best way to break a broody hen, is to put them into a "broody jail". Dog crates work great (and conveniently fold up for storage when you don't need them), but anything with a wire bottom will do. I've built some and I have dog crates I use. For the dog crates, I cut a piece of HC to put on the bottom.

Make sure the jail is large enough for the hen to move around a bit, and for food and water. Some people may put a 2x4 in for a roost, but its not necessary. Set it up about 8+ inches off the ground, so that air can circulate underneath her. I like to keep my jails in the main run/coop if possible. It makes reintegration easier and less dramatic.

Place your broody in jail and leave her there for a few days. Let her out to socialize and dust bathe every evening with her flock, and watch where she goes when she's done. If she makes a b-line for the nesting boxes - toss her straight back into the slammer.

Keep doing this every day until her normal behavior has returned, and she ignores her "nest". One good indicator is that once they are broken, the broody time bomb clucking will stop.

The best thing to remember through all of this is patience. I've had hens break in a few days and I've had hens take a few weeks to be broken. I currently have 2 in jail. I will attach a picture of one of them shortly so you can see the setup.

View attachment 2188435
My cage is very small, small dog cage, no hardware cloth on the bottom, should I put her in a large dog crate ? Your crate looks pretty big
 

Overo Mare

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My cage is very small, small dog cage, no hardware cloth on the bottom, should I put her in a large dog crate ? Your crate looks pretty big
That crate is a medium and she's a bantam, so it's probably a little misconcieving. She's got a little more room than what's necessary in there.

What are the dimensions on your crate? If you have a LF hen, you may want at least a medium.

She will need the hardware cloth (or something similar that feet don't go through) so she can move around properly in the crate without hurting her feet and legs.
 

MANNA-PRO

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