Broody Hen - Yikes, she's not herself!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chixinrox, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. chixinrox

    chixinrox Out Of The Brooder

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    Our Silver Laced Wyandotte has been acting broody. We have a small flock 6 Hens, no Roosters. From what I have read, a broody hen will lay in the nesting box for hours, days even, then have that kind of creepy chicken growl and pecking at anyone coming near! She is being pecked at by the others more lately too. Now the others won't go into the nesting area, and they are all sleeping in different areas because of this.
    I have read a few methods to breaking the broody hen.
    I can't imagine having to dunk her in water, so went with the isolate her in a crate, where she can see the others, no bedding, just food and water.
    The water is spilled, food dish a mess, and she is extremely anxious. I would imagine this is the point, but is it? Her crate is placed where for the most part she can see the others, if they aren't in the run or laying (now that they can). They are all fairly young, none even1 yr yet. Never did stop laying this winter.

    Should I just leave her like this for the day, or put her with the others later this evening and see how she does? Kind of sad to do. Then I wonder will the rest of the flock pick on her more when she is put back.
    Thanks for any suggestions and confirmation that this is a method that should work.
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  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Broody hens tend to get picked on. Their change in demeanor can make the flock regard them as strangers. Try securing the feed and water bowls to the front of the crate so that she can not spill them. One day is generally nowhere near enough time to break broodiness.
     
  3. chixinrox

    chixinrox Out Of The Brooder

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    We have an extra cop...small. is there any reason I can't let her have her time in it? Separate from the others. Will she eventually give up? I can still put her out to forage...food and water.....but she can go through this hormonal phase? Seems natural....and she's bloodied her comb banging her head on the dog door crate! Had to cover it with the blue antiseptic to keep the others from really going after her.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh dear. The broody buster method is one of those things that will either break the hen or break you!

    It is really hard to watch them in there, and I know the pain personally - I have had 5 out of 6 of my hens go broody through the Summer, and some of them did it twice! Here is a picture of one of my girls (Red Girl) in her busterville cage:-

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    If it's any consolation, they do calm down the more time they spend in there. In cooler weather I would think she will be done in two or three days. In hot weather mine have taken up to 8 days!

    Have you raised the cage up a few inches so air can flow through underneath? That will help some. Also make sure she is protected from the elements - a tin sheet across the top if it is raining etc.

    Once she has been in the cage for a couple of days you can let her out to test her. She will either run back to the flock (Yay! Busted!) or back to the nest - in which case you need to put her back in the cage for a day or two more.

    You can also try blocking off the nest boxes after everyone else has laid their eggs for the day and let her run around a bit with them. As long as she can't hunker down in a nest she will be fine.

    I had one girl who was upset by the cage, so I used to cage her during the morning only, and then once everyone had laid for the day I'd block the nest boxes off and she would mope around with the flock, albeit on the outer.

    At night she would still sleep on the roost with them, but that meant I had to get up at the crack of dawn to re-open the nest boxes and re-cage her for the morning!

    Good luck with her. I think broody busting is one of those times in life when no-one is particularly happy, including us! It's a challenge to be sure, but you will come out the other side and she should reintegrate back to the flock with no issues, as long as she is near them in her cage.

    Krista
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd stick with the crate within the flock...they don't have to be able to see them all the time.

    My experience went 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 few bricks right in the coop and I would feed her some watered down crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day 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.
     
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I keep my broodies strictly in the sin bin until they are completely broken. They are in the middle of the coop where they can see the others, and while not happy they survive just fine.

    When you use the cold water method you dunk only their underside, not the whole bird.
     
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm usually able to break broodiness in 2 days/1 night of confinement in a broody cage or coop. The 1st day of confinement is the worst, as they seem desperate to get back to the nest. I would recommend putting something over the cage (or part of the cage) to block her from seeing the nest. During winter, I wouldn't recommend letting her stay broody, as hens diminish their food intake when broody, and tend to lose weight. This could be too hard on her.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  8. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2 Excellent post.
     
  9. chixinrox

    chixinrox Out Of The Brooder

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    All done getting her set up....this tough love stuff is ...well " for the birds"!!!... sad to see her so anxious. She is right next to the others. Partially covered and safe. In her in c comfortable cage setting. Hope this goes quick! Thank you all for the tips and advice.
     
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Good luck - you can do it [​IMG]
     

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