broody hen, any ideas?


In the Brooder
Jul 21, 2016
hey BYC,

a couple of days ago our hen became broody,
we are struggling to keep her out of the coop but everything seems to fail. we put a large board over the nesting boxes at night so that she can't sleep in the boxes but this morning it fell over and almost crushed our hens! we've put her in a enclosed box with food and water but she panicked and tried to escape. we can't keep the nesting boxes closed in the daytime either because our laying hens get stressed out. any suggestions?
Pen her separately away from the coop, preferably in a wire bottom crate for 3-5 days. She will try desperately to get back to her nest. You will have to ignore that behavior. Release her in 3 days to see if she's broke, if she heads back to the nest than back to the crate for two more days. The wire bottom elevated off the ground a bit will help her underside cool down which breaks broodiness, a solid bottom crate can allow them to sit tight and stay warm so use a wire bottom especially if she's trying to sit in the crate. Give her food and water in the crate. The sooner you catch them the quicker they break.
Oldhen is right. It's futile to try to keep a broody out of a nest by any other means than a open mesh bottom cage. A broody is of a single mind - to get to the nest at all costs.

This past week I was dealing with two of my most intensely persistent broodies of my flock simultaneously. It was no picnic. I've had two hens go broody at the same time before, and I was able to put them both in the same cage, but these two are violent and hateful and fight when put together.

The first broody was on her seventh day in the cage when the second one went broody, so I took the first one out and put her in the "jail" and installed the new broody in the cage. The jail didn't work so well. She just hunkered down and created a "nest" on the floor of the run.

So I threw in the towel and got three fertile eggs and let the first broody start sitting on them. A few hours later, she had switched nest boxes, abandoning the eggs. So I told her she was fired and I got the new broody out of the cage and put the first broody back in it. Then I put the eggs in the nest box the second broody likes, and there she sits now like a stone Buddha.

Meanwhile, the first broody finished out her "sentence" in the cage, and after two more days, she was finally broken.

Most broodies take three days to break. These two of mine are the worst case scenarios. The record is ten days in my flock, held by the "Buddha" who's now sitting contentedly on three eggs.

By the way, forget dunking in cold water. It does not work. But a fan set up to blow air under the broody, ruffling her bottom feathers, really does help to hasten the process.

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