Broody Chicken....

Wilmer Gehman

Jun 7, 2017
I have a Easter egger named Michigan and she has gone broody! (Sadly:() She plucked the feathers off her breast and often feels very warm. She also doesn't lay eggs anymore. She always tries to get to her nest and sits in it even if there are no eggs to sit on! I tried putting ice cubes in her nest, and holding her in cold water and shutting the coop door so she can't get in. I have read several opinions on this and am not quite sure what to think. If you have any suggestions to help stop this "broodiness," please don't hesitate to post them!
Take away every single egg...
Block off her 'broody spot' so she won't get in...(Temp)...

Separate her. Try one of these!
I hope this helps! Good luck!

-The Angry Hen
I always take out the eggs under her and shut the coop door, Only when all the other chickens are done laying eggs. She has access to her nest basically all day, because the other hens need to get in to lay their eggs.
It is natural and this year i am having hens that do not normally sit like Bardrock and Roadisland hens refusing to give up trying
Been an odd year for me have never had so many of my transitional egg layers be so determine to brood
Wire dog cage elevated off the ground so air can flow under it.
Lock her up for a few days.
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

Sounds like you are really stressing that girl out... ice on the chest, brrr! :eek:

Seriously though... A broody hen does not care how many eggs are or aren't under her. And some have way more determination than others. If a hen goes far enough that she plucks herself, it shows commitment and those ladies usually get chicks or egg here at my place. I have had girls set on an air nest for 30+ days before I employed the broody breaker. Still took 3 days or so before it was successful.

Broody breaker... wire bottom cage elevated (I use 4x4). I provide food and water though they don't get it while in the box so even just a couple times a day is fine. They often knock it over anyways. I place the breaker in a high traffic area, outside with the flock during the day time and in the coop at night making sure there is plenty mix of sun/shade. I test to see if broken by opening the door. If they run back to the nest clucking, they aren't ready yet. Also, broody being hormonal, I think making it bright should help. The boxes are a dim, calm, comfy place to brood. And light triggers the egg laying hormone, so in theory at least, it might help.

A broody won't lay eggs. Their hormones have told them there are enough eggs and it's time to raise some chicks. Because broody's limit their intake they likely do not have enough energy/nutrients to lay eggs during this time. Their bodies lose condition also from not moving too much. You will notice they are shaky. Even after they are done raising chicks it can take them a short while to start laying again. Even if you break her right now you might not get eggs for another two weeks. I bought a dog crate from amazon just to use as a broody breaker. But ended up using it as a broody breaker, brooder, quarantine, holding pen for processing, time out box, transport for new hens... best investment, thinking I might by 1 more )because I have too many broody's to break)! This might not be the exact one, and I don't consider it to be predator proof. But I do remember paying about $30 and it does fit my 60 ish pound dogs. Have even broke 2 broody's at the same time with the separator. They come in many sizes and one was only $14 including shipping I think!

If you want chicks, think about getting her some. I have successfully adopted a lot of feed store chicks to my broody hens, during the middle of the night. The oldest chicks so far have been 6 days and even that is pushing it a little. We are trying to get some slightly older silkies (10ish days according to tail feathering I think) under a hen right now, waiting to see the result. We almost confiscated them last night but after bringing them in and seeing they weren't starving or dying of thirst despite me seeing her peck one when it was out and not seeing them out much, we decided to still give her a chance (our first experience with this specific hen). The chicks were very unhappy to be out from under the broody. :love

Now, not to drum up any fear... I did break one (non production breed) girl who upon starting to lay must have had a very large egg inside her. Being my first egg binding experience I acted too slowly and she passed. :( I do not know if she would have become bound if returning to lay herself after raising a clutch. A few of my girls put out especially large egg after returning from molt. I believe they were 88, 92 and 102 gram eggs compared to the norm of 60-65 grams. :barnie

Fun to hear it is an EE since they aren't know to be broody. I have a hatchery BR raising 9 chicks right now! It's a bit too many for her, I have to drop extra feed for them. :)

If you don't want chicks, breaking her is the humane thing to do, even if it *seems* cruel to have them in the cage. How long has she been sitting already? But if you do give them to her, know there is a chance she may fail and you may have to raise the chicks. Nice thing about broody chicks is they are already integrated into the flock and maybe you are ready for some fresh layers. ;)

Thanks so much for all the great info! My hen has been broody for about 2-3 weeks, and yes she was shaky. The info on the cages helped. I think that's my best bet. I noticed she is getting thinner. but when i shut the coop door she knows she won't be able to get in and goes out to dust bath and runs around with the other hens. If I get chicks for her, how old should they be? Will the rooster hurt them?
About the cages..... I looked them up on Amazon and they had some kind of tray on the bottom. Can you take the tray out?

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