Does a broody need a rest after four weeks with no hatch?

Mrs. Mucket

9 Years
May 3, 2010
Pacific Northwest
I'm afraid my banty Silkie broody's eggs are not going to hatch. I can give her some new fertile eggs to replace them, but is it best for her to have a break before starting another round? I'm okay either way, letting her hatch chicks or breaking her broody cycle.
I think the answer depends on your chicken. Some broodies get off the nest and eat and get some exercise a lot more than others do. They're also even more prone to lice/mites when broody. At the least I'd check her thoroughly for this, and see if I could tell whether she's lost weight. Maybe carry her a good distance from the coop and see how she walks back. Check her breast or keel bone and see if she feels thin or bony to you; compare her to your others, if you have other Silkies.

I've given new store bought chicks to a broody who's been on the nest a month or so, just to get her off the nest and moving again. I did give eggs to a long time broody once, when I was new to all this, and it worked out fine, but she would get off the nest and get outdoors any time I went to the coop, so she was eating and getting exercise fairly well.

Another thought is, breaking a broody works better on some than others. It may be that eggs or chicks are the only way she'll stop.

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