Broody hen issues

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vr1967, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. vr1967

    vr1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2016
    Liberty, MS
    One of my BOs went broody recently, and has taken over my "egg box" (roll out community box) not allowing the others to lay.

    I tired moving her to the nest box, several times, evening moving her at 10pm last night, and when I left for work at 4 am, she was back in the egg box.

    I have no issue with her being broody, and planned to slip more eggs under her. She had none in the egg box, and I put two under her in the nest box. I've moved some of my others this way when they went broody, and they had no issue with the move.

    Short of building a new place to keep her, what can I do?

    She just started laying about 2 weeks ago, I've checked her for sickness, etc, but she is just acting like a broody hen.

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Unfortunately those finicky creatures known as hens have habits and favourite nest boxes is one of them! lol What I would do with this stubborn girl is put her in her own box and close it off, so she is stuck in there, until she's settled. Give her some infertile eggs to amuse herself with until she is committed to the new box, then swap them out for fertile eggs. Make sure she gets out once a day to stretch her legs, grab a bite to eat and drink some water, then put her back in her box, until she goes there by herself, which could take a few days.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My suggestion is to build a new place to keep her. It can be in the coop if the coop is big enough. You need room for a nest, food, water, and a small bit of room for her to go poop. Broody hens instinctively should avoid pooping in the nest but they do not instinctively avoid pooping in food and water so expect to have to clean up a bit. Or build a fence (including a top so she cannot fly out) around the nest box. Keep food and water in that. These areas don’t need to be very big, just enough room for a nest, food, and water. You don’t have to let the hen out until the eggs hatch.

    It’s possible the hen will not accept the move and will break from being broody. When I move a hen I find it best if the nest if fairly dark. I generally leave the hen locked in the dark nest itself all day after the night move, letting them out of the nest late that evening to go poop, eat, and drink. I don’t consider that cruel, a broody spends practically all her time on the nest anyway and she is living off of fat stored for the purpose. It being dark seems to help them settle down.

    Sometimes a hen will accept a move like this without a problem, sometimes the hens insist on going back to the old nest. Most hens, whether broody or not, will allow other hens to share the nest. But sometimes a hen, broody or not, will insist on keeping the nest for herself. I don’t see a whole lot of options for you other than locking her away from your roll-away nest.
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Totally agree with @sumi

    I have an old cupboard/sideboard in the hen house for this purpose. Broody gets her own nest in there where she has peace and quiet. She gets let out once a day for a broody break whilst I am doing chores and I keep the door shut so that other hens can't go in and lay whilst she is off. When she is ready to return, I ensure there are no eggs in any other nest box and open the cupboard. Sometimes the broody will choose the cupboard nest with the eggs from the start and other times they will go back to the old nest and need to be physically relocated to the cupboard for a few days before they figure it out. Once she is back on the nest and fastened in, I know that she is safe on her eggs for the rest of the day and I'm not going to come back to her sitting on the wrong nest and her eggs cold. She still remains part of the flock as they see her every morning at feeding time, but she has her own nest and eggs with no disturbance from other hens. Best of both worlds in my opinion as the chicks are raised within the flock still, so no integration problems. I drill a few holes in the cupboard door so she is not in complete darkness and that also provides ventilation. An old cupboard/bedside table is usually very easy to come by and often free as people just want rid of them.

    Good luck with your broody.
  5. vr1967

    vr1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2016
    Liberty, MS
    I think we got her. I moved the nest box over by laying box (it's on a stand) and we put her in it with a extra pad I have from the egg box. We put a piece a lattice in front of her so she could get air and see other chickens if need be.
    I removed lattice at 4 am when I left for work. Wife said she is still in there. We put 3 eggs under her.
    Going to give it a day or so and try to ease pad out and have here on the bedding.

    Thanks for the input
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by