How do you break a hen from being broody before she starves herself?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BlueMoon, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    I have thee broody hens that just won't stop.

    Two are on eggs that should have hatched between ten and three days ago. I need to pull the eggs, but they're in broody hen coop in our garage. So they'll need to be brought to the main coop too - any helpful thoughts on the best way to do this? Night time? After a big meal?

    The other hen is young, maybe only seven months old and she's been broody for nearly a month now. She's not on eggs. I am really worried she's not eating enough.

    Your expertise and gut instincts are desired - please guide us through a smooth transition!
     
  2. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    I guess you just take her off the nest and put her in solitary for a while, let her figure out that she's not a mama right now. I have a buff orp. who keeps trying to hatch a plastic egg.. i put it in the nest boxes to remind the ladies where to lay.. Esther insists on sitting on it, and will actually steal other eggs from other hens, and sit on them. She does this all day long until she lays her own egg, then she gets up to eat... and i steal all the eggs... then she wanders around, eats drinks, acts normal, until the next morning, when she gathers the plastic egg and any others and just sits...
     
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Put them in a wire-bottomed cage set up on sawhorses or cinder blocks, so they'll get some breeze up under their bottoms. Put food & water in there and keep them in there for a few days. Watch them when you let them out, if they return to their nesting spots, cage them for another day or so. Of they go back to their flock, their broody spell will be broken...until next time...

    The best time to do this would probably be after dark. I would think that would be the least stressful, they're more oblivious at night & may just wake up & think their broody spell was just a chicken dream.

    Or you could just replace their dud eggs with fresh fertile ones.

    I really don't think a broody hen will starve herself. She isn't expending much energy so she doesn't need much food while she's brooding. I think you can trust them to take care of their own needs. They are just fine when their chicks hatch, and have the energy to get up & run around after them the next day. But it seems the eggs your hens are incubating are not ever going to hatch, so either replace the eggs or put them in a broody-busting cage.

    Let us know how they do.
     
  4. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    We have dog kennels set aside as "broody breakers", as well as infirmaries. I put a white silkie in there on newspaper with food and water, and two days later she was up and screaming to be let out. Broody broken. You need to put them in an uncomfortable setting... no shavings, hay or anything to nest in.
     
  5. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you put them in that wire cage, where do you put the cage in relation to your coop? Can you put the cage into the run with the chickens during the day and maybe put it into the coop at night, so that they are still protected from predators? Or do they have to be off by themselves somewhere?

    I don't have any broodies, but it's always good to be prepared ...
     
  6. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    Mine's in my garage now, away from all other birds, but it used to be a box in the coop.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    My Broody Buster is a salvaged parrot cage on a metal stand that I keep in a corner of the chicken pen. I think it helps that the broodies are able to see & be seen by their flock mates. If you have predator concerns you can move the cage to a more protected area at night. Some folks hang their Broody Busters from the rafters.

    One tip to consider is to wet the feed in the Broody Buster, otherwise the hens fling it all out of the feed cups.
     

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