Broody hen dilemma.

Cbelle2019

Hatching
Nov 16, 2018
2
0
2
I’m new to looking after hens. We inherited one ( she later died) then got a couple more for company. Young layers. Now one has been broody for over a month. I followed some advice to put a blown out egg under her. The other hen lays most days and she gathers this under herself also. I remove it when I can. I also gently get her up each day for a stretch, food and water. But I’m wondering now if I should try something different. It would mean clipping a wing and keeping her out of the laying area. Or is that too cruel after all this time? Will she stop brooding of her own accord? I would appreciate some advice on this.
 

Dona Worry

Crowing
Jul 5, 2018
1,526
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Vermont
If you clip her wing to keep her out of the laying area, how will she start laying again?
There is plenty of advice on breaking a broody here. I've never done it myself, but people recommend a week in a wire bottom cage, a cold bath or temporarily confining away from the nest.
Or you could get her some fertile eggs and let her be a mom.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,610
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Catalonia, Spain
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I’m new to looking after hens. We inherited one ( she later died) then got a couple more for company. Young layers. Now one has been broody for over a month. I followed some advice to put a blown out egg under her. The other hen lays most days and she gathers this under herself also. I remove it when I can. I also gently get her up each day for a stretch, food and water. But I’m wondering now if I should try something different. It would mean clipping a wing and keeping her out of the laying area. Or is that too cruel after all this time? Will she stop brooding of her own accord? I would appreciate some advice on this.
Hello Cbelle2019
Welcome to BYC.
As a start, you need to take away all the eggs and stop her going into the nest box.
If this means the other hens have nowhere to lay eggs make a temporary nest box.
I'm not sure why you would want to clip her wings?
If the above doesn't work then you may have to put her in a bare wire cage (dog cage or similar) that is kept off the ground so air circulates underneath. The point of this is to lower the temperate of the hen. Once this happens the desire to sit should switch off.
Keep her in the cage and take her out to eat, drink and stretch a couple of times a day.
 

SueT

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 27, 2015
9,575
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4 weeks is too long to be broody. It can be life threatening since they eat/drink little. Hens have been known to sit until they die. Get her off the nest asap and into a wire bottom cage so air can circulate under her. I have had it take 3-6 days in the cage to break the broodiness.
Welcome to BYC, good luck, let us know how it goes....
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,886
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Finger Lakes, NY
What @SueT said. Get her into a wire crate....don't give her any bedding or she will make a nest. Put her food and water in there. Keep her there until she breaks. Keep the wire crate in the coop with the other chickens if you can, so they can still see each other. The object is to keep her from nesting, and cool down her belly. She will run her body down if you let her keep sitting without hatching. Don't clip her wings. There are easier ways.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,290
20,144
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Southeast Louisiana
Four weeks of being broody should not be dangerous to the hen. Before they even start laying they store up excess fat just in case they go broody, even the non-broody breeds. That excess fat is what they mostly live off of while broody. That way they can spend their time on the eggs instead of out eating and drinking. They do lose weight while broody but that is just excess fat put there for that purpose. Do not feel guilty, you have not harmed her by not breaking her yet.

But yes, it is time to break her. Some can go too long if no eggs hatch. I use the raised cage method. Put her in an elevated enclosure with food and water but no place to make a nest. Usually keeping her in there for 72 hours without letting them out breaks them but sometimes it takes longer. I generally let them out after 72 hours and see what they do. If they go back to the nest I put them back in there for another round.

Mine go broody so often I have a cage built to use as a broody buster, two actually. They are also used for other things. Many people use a wire dog cage, not the plastic dog crate. You can either hang these or put them up on blocks. I don't know what you have available or can come up with.

Good luck.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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Welcome to BYC!

My broody breaker notes:
If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.
My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop with feed and water.

I used to let them out a couple times a day, but now just once a day in the evening(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two. Or take her out of crate daily very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate.
Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
upload_2018-11-16_9-2-15.png
 

Cbelle2019

Hatching
Nov 16, 2018
2
0
2
Oh! Thanks everyone for your speedy and informative replies! I’ll definetely source a wire cage. I was going to clip her wings because she flies over the fence to nesting area when I tried the method to keep her off the nest. But I can understand the value of the wire cage now. They nest and lay in the same boxes. They never took to being on a perch. Followed the original hen that was here who slept on a table then in a box with straw.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,203
126,253
1,807
SW Michigan
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They nest and lay in the same boxes. They never took to being on a perch.
Sleeping in nests is not allowed here...they can be 'manipulated' into using roosts(perches) to sleep instead of nests.
Roost higher than nests by about 12"...block nests an hour before roost time.
(there's more, but would need to see pics of coop/roosts/nests.)
 

MANNA-PRO

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