Closing nesting area to all hens to stop a broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Trozza, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. Trozza

    Trozza New Egg

    Oct 26, 2016
    I've got 4 silkie hens, all are laying (first season). One of the hens has become broody and I thought i'd leave her be, unfortunately now another one has joined her.

    I'm going to try and break the cycle and I've read there are varying degrees of aggressiveness to stopping it. I've tried putting her outside constantly, and closing off the nesting box (she just moves to the next one). I'm going to try preventing access for 3 days. However, I don't want to go to the expense of building another whole run for 50% of my chickens (or separate them). :p

    I'm wondering if there are any negatives to just closing off the nesting area to all four chickens for 3 days? I don't mind going 3 days without any eggs as long as it doesn't do them any damage.

  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Just put the broody ones in an elevated wire cage. Works like a charm on even the most determined hens.
  3. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2015
    New hampahire
    I have had 3 Broodies and the only thing that cured them was the wire cage. I bought a rabbit cage put food and water in it and then put a 2x4 on each side to elevate it a little. Leave them in there for 3 day straight without taking them out. It works wonders but because their silkies they will go broody again lol. If u close off the nests the others will find some place else to lay like outside or something. I wouldn't recommend doing that.
  4. Trozza

    Trozza New Egg

    Oct 26, 2016
    Thanks for the replies. I mainly purchased the chickens so they could be 'free range' within the confines of my yard so I'm less incline to go the extreme of caging them up. Although thinking about it, they are kind of "caging" themselves up for a month while they're broody... hmm perspective ay

    As long as some of the hens are still producing eggs I don't mind it too much, so if it's likely to be ineffective, i'll just let nature take its course (as long as they don't all go broody).
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Some members prefer to let them break their broodiness without intervention. I'd suggest keeping an eye on her, and keep counting the weeks that she has been broody. Extended broodiness can result in health issues, as the bird loses condition, weight and thus resistance to possible illness.
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Hens that brood for longer than 4 weeks are at serious risk of illness. They barely eat or drink while brooding. This can cause them to be weak and not able to fight off the slightest illness. If they don't snap out of it on their own, you will need to do something to break them. It usually only takes three days in a cage with food and water for them to break.
    1 person likes this.
  7. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    IMO, it's waaaay more cruel, to let them stay in this state, when it's so easy to help them get past it. A stubborn broody can go weeks, into months like that. Not eating or drinking properly, wanting to hatch something. Get a BroodyBuster together, and help her.
  8. You will need to break the broodiness....Not Healthy and the longer you wait the longer it takes for egg production...You may want to sell the Silkies and get breeds less prone to Broodiness. If all you want are eggs and Chickens to run in the yard...Silkies are cute, but are VERY broody.......

    I hope my info helped....

  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    You have silkies. You're going to have to figure out how you want to manage broody hens. It's pretty much what they're known for, so it's going to happen. A lot.

    Blocking off the nest boxes won't stop the other hens from laying eggs. they'll simply lay somewhere else.

    And chances are, the broody hen will simply brood somewhere else. If they can't get to the nest box/preferred spot, they'll pick any likely looking corner/bush/pile of screws, etc. Broodiness is hormonally controlled, not environment-driven.

    I would look on CL or wherever and pick up a wire crate or two. With silkies, they don't need to be very big. Food, water, no bedding/nest material. Just the wire bottom. Have a good place to hang it, or cinder blocks, etc to elevate it. You'll want the airflow underneath her, the cooler temps mess with the hormones that keep her wanting to brood. Typically, 3-5 days is all it takes, and they're back with the flock.

    I get that a lot of folks think locking them up is somehow cruel, but a broody hen is self-isolating, so I really don't see the difference. As soon as she's wanting to rejoin the flock, let her. It's not like you're keeping her in solitary or punishing her. Folks get confused sometimes and think they HAVE to keep the hen confined for 5 days---nope. If she's broke after 2 days, let her out. You'll just have to keep an eye on her to be sure she's not faking you out........
    2 people like this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees completely.

    2 people like this.

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