How do you know that a hen is setting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by austrolover1, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. austrolover1

    austrolover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 14, 2015
    In the summer I'm hoping to have some setting hens. If the eggs are warm does it mean that the egg is being sat on or does it mean that it was just laid? Or will the hen be in the nesting box all the time?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    A broody hen will spend at least 22-23 hours a day on the nest, only leaving for a quick bite of food, drink, stretch, and poo. A warm egg is a freshly laid egg.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Look for them on the nest at night. Sometimes, hens will stay in the nest box after laying to rest, but only broodies stay on the nest at night. Other symptoms of a broody hen:

    Quit laying eggs
    Plucking belly feathers
    Puffing up and screaming at you when you go to check for eggs. (though some birds that are not broody can do this too, but it's more pronounced with broodies)
    Looking flat, like a pancake
    Making soft, clucking sounds (often called the broody cluck)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My test for if a hen is broody or not is that she has to spend two consecutive nights on the nest instead of in her normal roosting spot. I’ve had some hens show a lot of signs of being broody but they don’t always kick over into full broody mode, even the ones that spend most of the time during the day on the nest or walk around fluffed up and clucking. I’ve even had hens that spend one night on the nest but then don’t go back.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I agree with the above. I've wanted a broody so much I've put eggs under a hen that wasn't fully committed, and that doesn't end well. Some hens, it's from one day to the next, one day she's normal and not interested, the next BOOM you can't get her off that nest. Other hens take a while to be fully in broody mode, they practice and flirt with it and generally drive you insane [​IMG]. But the best way to tell is to check the box at night. If she's roosting in the normal spot, she's not ready for eggs yet. If she's in the box, looking like a pancake, for at least two nights in a row, you should be good to give her eggs to set on.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    Both these^^^

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