Broody Hen?


Feb 11, 2018
Duluth, GA
I’m a year into chickens and wondered if I have a broody hen and how do I know for sure.

Here’s a little info to start, I collect our eggs once or twice a day. I was gone all day yesterday so when I went out last night around 6:30 there was a hen on a nest. She made dinosaur sounds when I walked in. I was out about 20 minutes and she was still there when I was heading back in so I left her alone. My husband went out later to lock everyone up and she was still on the nest. This morning she wasn’t on there but there were a couple of eggs in the nest. What do I do? Leave the eggs there and see if she spends more time in there. I’ll be leaving for work in a bit and will be gone all day. If she isn’t broody, I don’t want to leave the eggs sitting. If she is, I wouldn’t mind her hatching a few eggs. Do I mark them? This is an area I’m completely clueless in.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
If she is, I wouldn’t mind her hatching a few eggs. Do I mark them? This is an area I’m completely clueless in.
It's a whole other learning curve!!
I'll paste a bunch of my notes, hopefully something in there will help.
I would not leave eggs in the nest collect them all daily,
reach right under her and take them.

First make sure she is broody.
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, doesn't she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
If so, then she is probably broody and you'll have to decide how to manage it.

When I have a broody I wait until she's been in the nest most the day and all night for 2-3 days...along with those other signs I posted.
Then I put her in the broody enclosure with fake eggs in the floor nest, she won't like being moved, but if she is truly good and broody she will settle onto the new nest within a half a day. Then I give her fresh fertile eggs and mark the calendar.
I like them separated by wire from the flock, it's just easier all around.
No having to mark eggs and remove any additions daily, no taking up a laying nest, no going back to the wrong nest after the daily constitutional. I would think this would be best if you're gone at work all day.

You'll need to decide if you want her to hatch out some chicks, and how you will 'manage' it.
Do you have, or can you get, some fertile eggs?
Do you have the space needed? Both for more chickens and she may need to be separated by wire from the rest of the flock.
Do you have a plan on what to do with the inevitable males? Rehome, butcher, keep in separate 'bachelor pad'?
If you decide to let her hatch out some fertile eggs, this is a great thread for reference and to ask questions.
It's a long one but just start reading the first few pages, then browse thru some more at random.

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 or run 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.

Aunt Angus

Jul 16, 2018
Sacramento County, CA
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks for asking this @beth1004. I am in the same situation, and I appreciate the advice.

What did you end up doing? I'd love to know. Did she stay truly broody? Will you have her hatch a clutch? Did you end up having to "break" her? I'm so curious!

My screeching pancake has been really b*tchy lately, yelling at any and everyone who approached her, even when she wasn't on the nest and just free ranging. She'd get all puffed up and cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck. Tonight, she chose to stay on the nest instead of roost.

Hubby says I should "break" her. If she stays this way for 3 weeks, I'm thinking I'll try to get her to adopt a chick. Maybe. She's pretty godzilla-ish right now.


Feb 11, 2018
Duluth, GA
I kept her in a crate as suggested by @aart. I put 4 ceramic eggs under her and left her be. She definitely wasn't leaving those eggs. After a couple of days, I put 5 of the amaracauna/barred rock eggs under her. She wouldn't leave them the first day. After her not eating/drinking/pooping for at least 24hours, I took her out to see if she would take care of business. At first she was a squawking pancake, finally she got up pooped, drank some water, looked for food and then headed back to the nests. Of course out of habit she went to the wrong coop and box, I put her back in the crate with her eggs. It was so sweet watching her get the eggs re-situated. I'm hoping we will have 5 first generation Easter Eggers hatch on Easter.
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