Broody orpington, how to break the cycle?


Apr 25, 2016
Hi all,
I have a broody orpington. It's my first broody hen and I need to know how to break the cycle. They are, somewhat, free range... in the run overnight and for the first half of the day and let out in the afternoon. I realized that she was broody because she's always anxious to get out and explore. Instead she was in the nesting box and got all puffed when I reached under her. I've been using a flat paddle to gently lift her out of the box and take the egg(s). Once she's out of the box, and there's no eggs, she begrudgingly joins the others after about a minute of puffed up attitude. My question is how long do I keep doing that? Or is there a better way to break the cycle?


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Your hen is only at the front end of the broody cycle. Until she glues herself to a nest, stops laying eggs, and returns immediately to the nest each and every time you attempt to remove her, she isn't fully broody.

Wait until she reaches this stage, then set up a broody cage with an open mesh bottom and no nesting material in the busiest, most well lighted spot you can find. Provide food and water for her, letting her out of the cage periodically to poop and dirt bathe, careful to prevent access to the nesting boxes while she's at large.

As PD indicates, it should not take longer than three days and nights in the cage to break the hormonal cycle. However, some broodies require up to ten days, but that's rare. You will know she's broken when you let her out and she shows no interest in the nesting boxes.

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