Broody? Cheeky? You decide...


10 Years
Jan 10, 2010
West Sound, Washington
So last night I go down to the coop to put the girls to bed, and 1 of them is in the nest box. "Great" I think. 6 months of sleeping perfectly on the roost and now one decides that she's changed her mind...

So I reach in to move her and she puffs up, pecks me, and makes a low screechy trill noise. I've never had a broody girl before, but from what I've read, these are all sure signs.

This morning my wife lets them out and I ask if she saw the broody in the box.. "No broodies, they all came running out looking for treats." she says.

Hrm.. Perhaps just a momentary maternal flood of hormones or something I think.

Tonight I go down to put the girls to bed. Same girl. Same box. Sitting on 3 eggs and a golf ball. I watch her for a few minutes and she stands to re-arrange some eggs and settles back down in.

I reach in to move kick her out of the box and again she puffs up, trills, and pecks at me (they were warning shots, gentle on the back of the hand.)

I put her on the roost and she immedietly hops off and goes back into the box. I wait an hour until pitch dark, put her on the roost and she stays (at least while I was watching.)

Not sure how long she was in there this evening, but the box was clear of poop. She also laid an egg today (5 hens, collected 5 eggs).

I would say broody, except that so far it's only been in the evenings that she's getting in the box. I asked my wife to check her position before letting them out tomorrow morning to verify if she's gone back in there overnight or in the early morning.

Broody? Aggressive box sleeper?

Stats of hen:

Salmon Faverolles
Alpha Hen / Top of pecking order.
First girl to lay an egg.
6 Months 1 Week old.
LOL, maybe she just wants to give you a hard time? it sounds as if she is "going" broody. she is practicing and will get down to real business in a week or so but she wants more eggs and you keep taking them. they will do that for a few days until they settle in and are satisfied with what they have. it wont be long until she is laid out. she will take a recess for a bit. if you dont want her to sit and the others are laying where you want then remove the golf ball.
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I'm actually very excited to have a broody. I plan on ordering hatching eggs to add to our flock.

However, I don't want to spend a bunch on money for rush delivery and special eggs for her to decide that she wasn't really into it...

What are the chances that if I stuck 6 eggs under her she'd stay?
how long would it take you to get the eggs? you can put your eggs under her and if she stays do the order then replace them with the other eggs. they will sit longer then they need to til they hatch. an incubator is a lot of fun though. especially if you have the turner.
Oh no, not broody hen jail, lol!

I had a hen go broody, or at least that's what she wanted me to think. She got a boat-load of eggs and sat tight on them.....for two days. Then she got up, shook herself off, and wandered away!

The next one to go broody was different. She ripped out every feather from under her neck to her vent, and refused to budge. I knew then that she was serious. When I moved her, she ran back. If I tried to do it at night, she screamed murder and upset everyone else. I decided to 'test her' and gave her 4 plastic eggs. She stayed put for 4 days, which earned her 11 real eggs. Two exploded at Day 14, and only one hatched - but she loves her Peepers like there is no tomorrow!

Now I have my third Broody. She is stuck like glue to 10 eggs, and is due to be candled tonight. It's Day 9 today. She won't leave her nest and is in a nest which is way too high to hatch chicks in. I will move her once they start hatching I think.

You girl most definitely sounds like she is gearing up for a broody stint. What a pity you couldn't get eggs for her. Oh well. The best thing to do is break her of it if it is your intention not to hatch chicks. Gee they look miserable in those boxes though, don't they!

Good luck!

- Krista
I so wanted to let her hatch, but the cards didn't align to get eggs here in time. I even went to 3 grocery stores in hopes that they would have "fertile eggs" for sale (AKA Trader Joes, etc). I made her a special "broody box" inside the coop on the ground so chicks would could get in and out and she wouldn't be in the way of their favorite nest box. Our 2 large nesting boxes are about 1.5 feet off the ground. Not very good to hatch chicks in. After a whole lot of complaining, she settled into the new box and looked like she was intent on staying there.

Now I can hear her under our deck pacing and whining because she can't get into the coop and it's getting dark. Poor thing :/

My only question is: If I break a broody, does it affect her chances of doing it again in the future? I SO want new chicks here soon :)
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I don't think it would. Becoming broody is a hormonal thing, not a choice that the bird makes.

Some birds go broody once and that's it. Others are perpetually broody, and once the first hatch is off their hands, they are sitting on the next batch!

I would think that the odds of her becoming broody again are just the same, wether you break her broodiness now or not.

I gotta tell you, having a broody is not as easy as it sounds either! I was like "Oh, she'll just sit on the eggs and they'll all hatch out and we will have chickens everywhere in no time."


You worry about wether they will stay on their nests. You worry when they don't leave the nest to eat, drink and poop. You risk life and limb to get their eggs out from under them to candle. You worry the eggs will explode underneath her! You have the whole relocate or not relocate issue. You worry she will abandon her babies. You worry she will eat them! You worry about lice and mites, about snakes coming for the eggs, and about hawks coming for the babies. It is SO STRESSFUL!

But then they hatch, and the babies are so beautiful that they take your breath away. And you get the absolute honour of seeing a Momma Hen with her babies. She coos and clucks at them so quietly that we can barely hear it. She teaches them how and what to eat. And the best of all - when they climb under her for warmth, as they often will, she purrs like a cat. It is the sweetest thing ever.

- Krista
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