Broody Hen not eating

picklestheduck

Songster
Oct 16, 2021
249
632
156
Hey yall so my brahma hen recently got broody for the first time, and has not been out of the nest at all as far as I have seen. She doesn't come out in the morning, and doesn't get food or water that I've seen. My sister said she saw her out once but that's the only sighting of her. She also hasn't been laying eggs....is she not broody and is something wrong? I know being broody is normal for them, but this is my first time and I am unsure. She is currently laying on two ceramic eggs and two old duck eggs that have been hidden and found weeks later. I'm concerned for her. Today I took some soaked food into her and put a bit in the end of her beak and she swallowed. She didn't fight me much but maybe she just didn't want to leave the eggs? I'm not sure. I left the food next to her and I will check later. Help!
 

picklestheduck

Songster
Oct 16, 2021
249
632
156
Broody hens are secretive about leaving their nests. Don't worry, she won't starve from being broody. Do not feed her on the nest as she will defecate in the nest and foul it.
Ok thank you. If I'm not going to let her hatch eggs, should I break her of her broodiness?
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
1,563
3,278
336
Iowa
Once a hen goes broody they will stop laying eggs and will usually only get off the nest once a day for a quick 10-15 minute eat/drink break. Many hens tend to take this break when they feel safest and no one is around, but if she doesn't get up at least once a day then that is cause for concern. If you would like to break her from this current broody streak you can put her in a wire dog crate with food and water setting the crate up so the air can flow underneath her. You will also want to provide a small block of wood or something for her to perch on while she is crated.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
30,066
32,226
971
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Hey yall so my brahma hen recently got broody for the first time, and has not been out of the nest at all as far as I have seen. She doesn't come out in the morning, and doesn't get food or water that I've seen. My sister said she saw her out once but that's the only sighting of her. She also hasn't been laying eggs....is she not broody and is something wrong? I know being broody is normal for them, but this is my first time and I am unsure. She is currently laying on two ceramic eggs and two old duck eggs that have been hidden and found weeks later. I'm concerned for her. Today I took some soaked food into her and put a bit in the end of her beak and she swallowed. She didn't fight me much but maybe she just didn't want to leave the eggs? I'm not sure. I left the food next to her and I will check later. Help!
I have had plenty of broody's over the years. I have a couple right now. They do stop laying. I have had a broody not get off of her nest. I did go out once a day and make her get out and block the nest box for 10 to 15 minutes at which time she did eat, drink and poop and as soon as I unblocked it she was right back on it. All of the eggs did hatch. They will sit on most anything, a fake egg and in my case a golf ball. I do make them get off the nest every day when I go out to collect eggs and they do squawk and growl at me but do get off with a little coaxing. If your broody isn't sitting on any viable eggs I would make her get off every day and remove the old eggs. They may get in the habit of sleeping in the nest boxes and pooping in them and then you may get poopy eggs. Good luck...
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,291
23,586
907
Southeast Louisiana
Before a hen even starts laying eggs she builds up a reserve of fat. I've butchered lots of pullets, hens, cockerels, and roosters, the difference in fat between the girls and boys is tremendous. The reason the girls get the fat is that is what they mostly live on if they go broody. That way they can stay on the nest most if the time instead of being off looking for food. They will loose weight while broody but that is not a problem, it's just fat put there for that very purpose. The way we keep them they can go to the feeder and fill up when they come off the nest. In the wild the food is not available like that, they have to search for it. That fat does provide enough for them to live off of.

I've seen a broody hen come off her nest twice a day and stay off for over an hour each time. I've seen a broody come off once a day and only stay off for 15 minutes. Both had great hatches. Often I never see the broody come off the nest but since she is not pooping in the nest I know she is coming off. Broodies should know instinctively to come off of the nest to poop so they don't poop in the nest and mess up the eggs. While they are off they will probably eat and drink, they may take a dust bath, but their real purpose is to take care of the eggs. You can get a hen that is messed up as far as some of those instincts go, with living animals anything can happen. But I generally trust my broody hens to know more about being broody than I ever will.

I let my broody hens hatch with the flock. Part of my daily routine is to check under them for any eggs that don't belong after the others have laid. it doesn't hurt them to toss them off of the nest at this time. If they are committed broody hens it will not break them from being broody. When I do that they squat on the coop floor for several seconds and then either run off to get food, water, and maybe poop or they move back on their nest.

After several weeks a broody hen will use up all her stored excess fat. Most will break from being broody then if not before, but a few don't. If you are not going to let her hatch eggs or raise chicks I think it is best to break her as soon as possible. It's just kinder to her. I break mine by putting them in a wire bottomed elevated cage so air can get under her. I provide food and water but nothing that looks like a nest. After 72 hours I let her out. If she goes back to her nest she goes back in that cage but usually three days is enough.

Breaking her will not prevent her going broody again later. It hasn't mine. Some go broody often, some only occasionally, and many will never go broody.

I think I've answered all your questions. If not, let me know. My main suggestions are to trust your broody and if you are not going to let her hatch or raise chicks break her from being broody now. It's the kindest thing to do.
 

picklestheduck

Songster
Oct 16, 2021
249
632
156
Thank you that is extremely helpful!!! This morning I locked her out of the box for a while and she started eating and drinking like crazy. I set her outside and she acted like she got her freedom back. She started squawking her head off excitedly and flapped her wings and just ran. She looked a but unsteady at first and stiff but she did better the more she ran around. I will definitely break her now.
 

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