HELP!!! Overrun with Broody Hens!

Queen of the chickens

8 Years
Oct 7, 2011
Unionville, MO
I have around 32 hens, who were all hatched last Spring. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to have broodies, but since the only ones I have had in the past were Silkies, I really didn't expect to be dealing with broody brown Leghorns, Australorps and Polish. I have a Barred Rock in on the action, too. I think there are 5 trying to sit right now. Two Polish are sitting in the same nest box. What's that about?

I was going to have my hubby build a tractor just for Broodies, but I don't think it can hold that many. Can more than one broody share a crate/tractor? At first I was going to seperate the one within the coop in a dog crate but I only have one small dog crate, I was just going to let nature take it's course, but the broodies are getting run off their nests and then move to a different box, so we are getting not where with that. How long will this last? The Barred Rock has been sitting for well over 3 weeks. If I give her eggs now will she keep sitting until they hatch? I have chicks hatching today in the incubator, should I sneak her some of those? They are Polish chicks, so I would really like to give them to the Polish to raise, but I don't know if they have been broody long enough (only a few days). Also, one of the roos in that pen is rather aggressive. Not with people so much, but he kills mice. I worry that he would kill the chicks. Does that happen?

I guess I need to read some more about how to break a hen from being broody. The only methods I read about wither seemed mean or seemed rather complicated and required a special cage. Can anyone direct me to a good thread?
Well, they do say broody can be contagious but its never happened for me. Last year I had a BSL brood and right now I have a Sultan sitting on 3 eggs but that's it for me.

If I were you, I would separate the Barred Rock into her own little broody area, then sneak the Polish chicks under her tonight. She's been sitting long enough that she is ready to be a mama. But - it can be risky asking a hen to adopt chicks to it would be best to be awake before she is to make sure in the morning all is well.

Good luck!
I had that happen too. I have 8 free-range hens and 4 of them went broody within days of each other! Only one of them decided to brood INSIDE the coop though so I let her stay and gave her some extra fertilized eggs to sit on. The other 3 I had to keep removing from their nests because I can't protect them if they are outside the coop. Too many coyotes, raccoons, and critters...

But the point is...I think it can be contagious!
A neighbor loaned me a dog crate. I am going to try to move the hen today and give her eggs to set on. Then I will sneak the chicks under her once they all hatch. . .if they hatch.. . having some kind of humidity issues, but that's a whole other thread.
My mother used to order chicks and receive them through the US mail. She would get about 3 broody hens and put the baby chicks with the hens. She never had trouble getting hens to accept the babies. Each group of babies with their mother had their own little hovel. I have had trouble with large chickens pecking at Polish baby's heads if they are white. Caused a big bloody spot on their little heads, so be careful with that if the babies have white heads. When my hend get broody and want to monoploize the nests, I just put them all together in one cage and let them stay there until they stop clucking and bristling up.
Good luck with your chicks.
We moved the broody last night, but she is having none of it. When opened the crate so she could get to her food and water, she walked out and never came back. At some point this evening she flew over her fence and rejoined her flock. . . on the roost bar. Apparently she has had enough of being broody. What now? I have 9 chicks needing a Mamma. Do I dare try giving them to my other broodies who have only been sitting about a week? Is it safe to put the crate in the pen with the others? I am worried about the roosters killing them. Can the Mamma stop them?

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