How long do hens stay broody?


9 Years
Jul 5, 2010
I am sure this has been asked before, but I didn't see it when I scrolled through some of the threads. How long does a typical hen stay broody? I have a Black Sex Link that has been broody for almost 3 weeks.
We don't really want her to be broody, but figured we would wait it out unitl she breaks from it...I hope it is soon!
Well, if she were sitting on eggs, she'd sit for three weeks to hatch them....21 days. Some are pretty persistant and will go a week or so over before giving up. You can break her by putting her in a wire cage and hanging it off the ground, this will keep her underside cooler and help break the broodiness.
Unfortunately, some hens stay broody until their desires are met: chicks hatch.

Three weeks is the normal incubation time, and then after chicks hatch, the broody hen raises her chicks for as much as 6 weeks, sometimes more. Sometimes less. After she decides the kids can go it on their own without her any more, she will start laying again.

But really broody hens will brood and brood and brood, on golf balls, faux eggs, round rocks, sometimes on NOTHING, because they want to be mommies so badly.

I strongly recommend you find her a couple of day-old chicks to sneak into her nest and UNDERneath her, overnight, so she can be a mommy without expending any more time brooding.
Thanks for responding! I keep taking eggs from underneath her, if she happens to jump up in a box that has egss in it, but we are sure not prepared for her to be a mommy! Not this time of the year. If it were in the spring, different story, but We wouldn't be able to house them all winter! If I would use a wire crate, I wouldhave to separate her from the rest of the crew, is that ok to do? I mean, i would have to put her in the garage, which is far away from the coop.
Well, I have a hen who is raising four chicks she hatched one and a half week ago, and she's keeping them in the covered kitty litter box in which the eggs were laid and she brooded, INSIDE the coop. Not separated any more than that... she's taken the chicks out for the first time two days ago, and each day since. She's very protective; I don't have her totally segregated at all.

And YOU don't have to brood chicks hatched by a hen - she does ALL that work for you. Even over winter. There are lots of chickens with chicks right now; I see one of a flock of "nobody owns us" on a particular street where I take my lunch breaks during the week. She's got 7 chicks she's shepherding all over the place. They'll all get under mom to keep warm, even in the coldest temperatures.

Think about it. Just two little chicks, why couldn't you house Momma with 'em over winter in the coop?
We are doing it right now, too. I had a hen (only about 6 months old) go very broody in August. She was broody for about 3 weeks before I got her some eggs to sit on. She successfully hatched out two chicks without being segregated. At this point we do have her and the chicks segregated, as the other hens want to use that nest box to lay in, and they also want to eat the chick starter (somehow they are convinced that it is great stuff, and are willing to go to almost any lengths to get it). My husband put up a little bit of deer fence in the coop, with a little ladder to the nest box and a waterer and feed dish. It works fine. If you have any inclination to have any babies at all, it might be worth quickly researching if you might be able to find any fertile eggs on Craig's List or if there is anyone working at the feed store who has fertile eggs they may be willing to let you have for a small price. We got four for free, and a predator took two, so we wound up with two chicks. The idea of getting just a couple of babies to put under her would also work. Sometimes the best path is the one of least resistance----letting nature prevail, and allowing her to have the babies her body tells her she needs to have.
Hi I have a bantam that is broody. I have tried to encourage off the nest but she just goes back again. I have tried putting her in the broody hutch to see if she will still remain broody there so that I can get some eggs for her but she just paces up and down getting agitated until I put her back in her own house then she just sits in the nest box again.
I really don't want any more chicks this year because of limited housing but would be interested in the idea of putting two chicks under her but what if she rejects them?
Yep, I have a broody Australorp, I ordered some fertile eggs and the hatchery said they were out of my choice eggs, so I ordered some baby chicks that are on their way.
In the meantime, I received an email from the first hatchery and they notified me the fertile eggs just became available and were shipped out, I did not read the email in time to cancel my order.
I want the breeds in the egg order more than the chick order..I'm so confused! I guess I'll give the chicks to broody mama and incubate the eggs...maybe my Red Star will be broody when they hatch! LOL! I'll be up to my eyeballs in chicks!
Any suggestions? How long do fertile eggs last?
I have a young Wyandotte who has just gone broody for the first time - how long will she stay like that? It's winter and we're not getting any babies for them to sit on until Spring...
I had a Buff Orpington go broody for about 5-6 weeks. I didn't do anything to break her, just kept taking her eggs (despite her squawks of protest). I didn't think she'd ever stop, but then, one day, she just hopped off the nest and rejoined the flock.

Ours was broody in the winter too, and just as an FYI (I have no idea what things are like where you are), our broody girl did end up with some Northern Fowl Mites while she was sitting around and not dust bathing like the others. She's all good now! Keep an eye on your girl just in case!

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