Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dwa, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. dwa

    dwa In the Brooder

    Jan 30, 2007
    How does a hen behave when she gets "broody"? Our bantam hen keeps looking for new, out of the way, places to lay her eggs. Is this just odd behavior or signs that she wants to sit on some eggs?

  2. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Some hens just like to lay their eggs where it is dark and quiet. Maybe she feels she doesn't have enough privacy in the nest boxes.

    But, if she is broody....

    -She will sit in the nest box all day, regardless if she has any eggs to sit on.
    -If you remove her from the nest box, she quickly returns.
    -Sleeps in the nest box instead of the roost.
    -Will get up long enough to eat and drink and release a broody poo. A broody poo is noticeable because of its horrific odor!
    -She will appear all fluffed up and will bawk-bawk in a deeper voice than normal.
    -May become aggressive with the other hens - or may be picked on by the other non-broody hens.
    -Will screech and peck when you approach her on the nest.
    -If she's been broody awhile, may appear to be in a trance (very like zen meditation look) [​IMG]
    -She won't lay any eggs after she has laid her clutch. So if you have removed her eggs, she may jump on another nest that has eggs in it. It doesn't matter if the eggs she is sitting on are hers or if they are even fertile. Going broody is a hormonal change in the hen.

    Our Jersey Black Giant has gone broody twice since December. Luckily, she never become aggressive with us or the other members of the flock. Unfortunately, some pecked her noggin pretty hard when she would leave the nest to eat.

    At first we tried just removing her from the nest boxes, but she would always return the minute we put her down. After a week, we removed her to our mud room, which we use an infirmary. If you want to break a broody, you can use a dog cage, give her no bedding and just feed and water and have patience. About 2 weeks after the broody spell is broken, she'll start laying eggs again.

    If you want to hatch chicks, get some fertile eggs under her in a separate area where the rest of the flock can't bother her and the chicks can be safely hatched.

  3. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Keljonma has said pretty much everything about broodiness diagnosis, but I will also add that they will loose the feathers on their breast. This lets them get more heat to the eggs.

    As for laying in different places, that's normal. You too can have an easter egg hunt all year round. [​IMG]
  4. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Quote:Good point, V Chic Chick!

    Also, I forgot to mention that the broody hen can lose weight from not eating enough.

    When our JBG went broody the first time, it was late December. We got brutal weather in January and she still hadn't feathered up. She had also lost some weight. I was worried about her, but she did better than I expected.

    She was just feathered again when she went broody in late February. The second time we moved her into isolation a lot sooner and the process went much more quickly.

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