How do you break a broody hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chick1043, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Chick1043

    Chick1043 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2011
    I have a Dark Brahma bantam hen who will not stay of the nest for the life of her. I had a plastic egg in the hen house that she was sitting on and took it out thinking she would think that there were no more eggs to hatch. She lays on nothing. I just take her out and go inside but when I go outside to check on them she's back on the nest. She puffs up and screams at me when I take her out. lol She's been like this for at least a month. I don't care if she is on the nest all day and her broodiness isn't such the problem but she won't eat because she's on the nest all day. She's lost a little weight too. She's not laying eggs anymore either. She's not even a year old yet. I have tried putting food in front of her when shes on the nest (before I started taking her off) but she barely nibbled at it...Thanks :)
  2. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Chillin' With My Peeps

    As odd as it sounds you want to cool her jets, so to speak... try dunking her in cold water, for a few seconds at a time. Or you can try putting her in a wire bottomed kennel or cage , so that she is getting air on her backside. It usually works if you can cool her chest, belly and vent.

    As you've noticed a broody doesn't want to eat and is generally pretty cranky to be around... I currently have two, so I understand!
  3. Chick1043

    Chick1043 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2011
    Thanks, I'll try that :)
  4. MarieNC

    MarieNC Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    I just went through this with one of my BOs recently. I put her in a dog crate (the metal kind with a door that swings open) by herself for about three days. No nesting material - just a towel. She complained loudly the first day, then sat on her roost the rest of the time. When I put her in with the rest of the girls there was a bit of re-establishing the pecking order, but she's been fine ever since.
  5. cooped up

    cooped up Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    I agree with the others here-- it does work.Give her access to food and water, but keep her away from the coop and nests.
  6. wildrose41

    wildrose41 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2011
    Yeah I have a broody hen, too. First time for her and I'm not planning on any more chicks; no fertile eggs. I have taken her off the nest several times today, but she's gone right back on. I put her in a sectioned off area in the coop where she can see the others and hopefully just want to get back in with them. I don't have a separate area or cage I can put her in, so I hope with no creature comforts, but food, water and a roost, she'll be her old self again in a few days.
    I don't understand some of you putting them into the sunlight when you want their core temperature to go down. If she's not better tomorrow. I'll try dunking her in cold water to see if that helps.
  7. minuteman_23

    minuteman_23 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 23, 2010
    get you an gel ice pack .I dont know if you have large breed or bantam. get a box small enough so she cant move off of the ice pack.close the lid .after one hour take her out ,no more broody hen.Have had 100 percent sucess with this method. make sure box has air holes. hope this helps
  8. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Just for the heck of it, last year I tried the ice packs on a broody. She happily sat on that cold pack until it went warm, then I replaced it with a fresh one, and she sat on it until it went warm. I concluded that a broody will happily sit on anything as long as she's in a nice dark nest box.

    I figured out that simply cooling the body temperature wasn't enough. You have to deprive the broody of the dark, snug nest, too. So I went back to the open mesh-bottom cage with a fan circulating air under her.

    Another facet of broody compulsive behavior is wanting to be alone. So I place the broody in her cage (with food and water, of course) in the middle of the run during the day. This seems to help break her as much as the cage does. She's still very much a part of the flock this way, and the pecking order isn't interrupted.

    At night, she sleeps in the cage in the garage with the fan going under her. My broodies are usually broken after two nights and two days of this treatment. I've found that a quick dunk in cold water or slipping the ice pack under her only interrupts the broody urge, but it doesn't cure it like the cage treatment.
  9. minuteman_23

    minuteman_23 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 23, 2010
    I guess different approaches work for different chickens. I did try the ice pack method to there nest didnt work. I tried all the other methods with no success.I even covered nest up for two days After I uncovered there { empty nest] went right back to setting.Isoalating them in a dark box with ice pack covering the bottom sure works for me within 1 hour.I have bantams ,easier to get temp down.
  10. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Having them in a wire bottom cage with no bedding seems to be what universally works best. Rare is the bird that doesn't break this way. I refuse to dunk them in water, that just seems cruel and most people report that it didn't work anyway.

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