Dealing with a broody hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DMJ1123, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. DMJ1123

    DMJ1123 In the Brooder

    19
    18
    27
    May 2, 2019
    Massachusetts
    For the past week or so I have been battling one broody hen. 2-3 times a day I'll remove her from the nesting box and put her back in the run with the rest of her flock-- where she'll proceed to eat and drink. Yesterday morning I blocked off her favorite nesting box. Since then she has resorted to hanging out in front of the nesting box instead (laying down). If I continue the current routine of removing her multiple times a day will she eventually break the habit? Or do I need to move onto other measures? I want to avoid closing up the hen house for the day because I don't want the other laying hens to start laying in the run.
     
    glassdragonfly likes this.
  2. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

    4,042
    7,035
    471
    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    I think it's time for 'chicken jail'. This is the most effective way to break them in my experience. A wire crate, raised up on some boards, blocks, etc. so that air circulates all the way around her, no bedding, just food and water. Put in the run so she's still with the flock and everyone can see and hear each other. She stays until she changes her mind back to being a normal chicken. Usually a couple days, but a stubborn one might take a week. I just cover with a blanket at night (assuming your run is predator proof).
    https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/6-ways-to-break-a-broody-hen/
    broody-hen-a-cage.jpg
    Broody1.jpg
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    23,702
    10,910
    707
    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    If you have the time you can keep doing what you are, it might work or it might not. The more often you interfere the more likely it is to work.

    I've never tried anything like that but go straight to a tried and true (for me) method. I lock a broody in an elevated cage with a wire bottom for about three full days, 72 hours. If she goes back to her nest when I let her out, I do it again. I do provide food and water but nothing that looks like a nest. As you can see it is a pretty popular method.
     
  4. DMJ1123

    DMJ1123 In the Brooder

    19
    18
    27
    May 2, 2019
    Massachusetts
    Thanks all. "Broody Judy" has been in chicken jail since yesterday afternoon. I read somewhere that if she lays an egg while in chicken jail that she is ready to come out and is no longer broody. Is that true?
     
    glassdragonfly likes this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    23,702
    10,910
    707
    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'd let her out and see what she does. If she goes back to the nest she needs more time. I trust what I see more than what is supposed to be true.
     
    coach723 likes this.
  6. DMJ1123

    DMJ1123 In the Brooder

    19
    18
    27
    May 2, 2019
    Massachusetts
    If she is still broody and not ready would you expect her to go back to the nest immediately? Within a couple minutes?
     
  7. sean_wonder

    sean_wonder Songster

    309
    940
    197
    Jul 9, 2016
    My Coop
    No, sometimes you can let them out for an hour or so and they'll sloooooowly gravitate back to the nest. Super annoying. I'd put her in jail for 3 days, release her, and if she ends up back in the nest by the end of the day, put her back in jail for another day or two.
     
    rosemarythyme likes this.
  8. dehowery

    dehowery Chirping

    98
    91
    89
    Feb 13, 2017
    alabama
    We had this same problem with 5 of our hens they all went super broody. We have found the only solution is isolating the hens in a seperate cage/kennel with only food & water for at least 3 days. Sometimes it takes longer, one hen took 5 days. No straw or any bedding, you just let them sit in their feces (you can clean them off after the broody has gone). Eventually they will stop being broody. Then it takes them another 1 - 3 weeks for they begin laying again. Prior to this method we tried doing the same thing you did plus putting them in cool water plus closing off the favorite nesting site. The thing here is to get the hens temp down to normal.
     
  9. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

    4,042
    7,035
    471
    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    If she goes back to the nest to lay an egg, you are fine. But if she camps out, then back to the broody cage for another day. Some broodies will steal eggs to sit on, so unless you know for sure it's her egg (easily recognizable) then finding an egg in the nest is not sure evidence she laid it. Some birds take a while in the nest when laying, some bounce out as soon as they are done. What is normal for this particular bird is what matters. If she's not going out with the others and acting like a normal hen, then probably more time in the cage. Often, if they are still broody, you will hear the buck-buck call from them when you approach, or the fluffing and pterodactyl screech, which will tell you they are still broody. 3 days is a good starting point. Some of mine will go out, scratch around for a bit, take a dust bath, and then when you turn your back they go back to the nest. There is no harm in keeping them in the cage for a bit longer to make sure they are done. If I find them in the nest and they are still there an hour later, pretty sure they are broody generally. And if the cage is open on the bottom, then droppings should mostly fall through, she shouldn't be sitting in her own droppings.
     
    aart likes this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    66,951
    61,850
    1,477
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yup.
    The 1x2 mesh is better than the 1/2" HC in pics above.
    You can also toss in a length of 2x4 to give the feet a break from the mesh.
     
    DobieLover likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: