Can I encourage broodiness?


9 Years
May 15, 2010
I was wondering if that was possible. I recently lost my favorite hen to a hawk while they were out free ranging. I was thinking about buying some eggs for someone to hatch that way the chicks can be incorporated into the flock easier. Besides leaving eggs in the nest is there any other way to encourage broodiness? None of them have been broody yet.
If you have a breed of chicken that's inclined to broodiness, sometimes you can trigger it by letting eggs build up into a clutch (just stop collecting them for a while). I have three bantam hens from breeds that go broody, and that's all I needed to do to get all of them to set eggs for me last spring.

By the way, spring is the perfect natural time to do this. However, if you're going to buy hatching eggs, wait until you see one of your hens beginning to go broody before you go get the eggs. That way you won't waste fertile eggs if none of your hens decides to cooperate.

Good luck! The experience of hatching eggs under our own hens will go down among the most wonderful experiences of my life. It's truly amazing and awesome.
Aww, I'm sorry about the hen you lost. But I don't know if hen-hatched & raised chicks would be incorporated into the flock as adults any easier than brooder-raised ones. Also, if you hatch chicks you will probably have more roosters than you need, and will have to plan for that. Chicks take 18-20 weeks to mature, and most hens won't stay with them for that long. The hen is usually done with them after 4-8 weeks or so, and then the chicks still need to be kept separate for a while after that.

If you want more hens, you could buy sexed pullet chicks from a hatchery or feed store. Brood them yourself, and when they're about 10 weeks or so they can be given time to free-range with your adults, and start to get acquainted. They could also be housed next to each other to allow them more time to familiarize themselves with each other.

There's not a lot you can to do encourage broodiness, it's up to the hen and the voices only she hears in her head. Leaving eggs in the nest may encourage egg-eating, breakage, or other critters to the coop. If a hen feels broody she'll set on anything or nothing, golf balls, wooden eggs, an empty nest. It's more up to the individual temperment of the hen and her hormones that stimulate broodiness. Once a hen has started to go broody, there's a lot you can do to encourage that by keeping her in a quiet secluded place of her own.

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