How to Break a Broody Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sunny Side Up, May 13, 2009.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Pemphredo, I wish your hen the best of success with the eggs. But next time you're trying to break a broody set the wire-bottomed cage up on blocks or sawhorses so there is a good airflow up underneath her. The set-up you show looks like she's on solid plastic flooring, not as much air flowing up there.
     
  2. pemphredo

    pemphredo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What she was on was a plastic shelf. well it was too some shelves but I separated them. It has LARGE holes in it. the holes are each about the size that a tennis ball could fit through them so it was real airy. when she would poop it would fall straight through.
     
  3. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! When I had a broody hen in cold temps, it actually helped out some. Just like someone else mentioned, I would go down to the coop around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and take the broody out of the nest box and cover all the nest boxes with a piece of plywood so no one could get in. Then I'd take the broody and some scratch out into the run. Broody and her friends would eat and scratch for a while and then when Broody returned to the coop, she couldn't get into a nest box so she would either re-join her friends or go up on the roost. Either way, the cold air is all around her. Then in the evening, I'd go back down and make sure she is up on the roost and not in a corner on the floor. If it was really cold out, it would usually do the trick in one night, but definitely in two. Just have to get down there bright and early to uncover the boxes for the other girls. :) Good luck!
     
  4. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    BOTH of my Faverolles are broody. Haven't gotten an egg out of either one since Feb 17th and if I guessed wrong, one hasn't laid since Feb 8th. Standard broody behavior. Won't leave the box. Flatten down and growl at anything near, run back to the box within minutes of being taken out for morning treats. So, I made a broody box. As with most of my "chicken stuff" it is made from bits and pieces I had around so it won't win any awards. It is 4' long and 18" wide. The 1/2 hardware cloth bottom is poultry stapled to the top of 2x4 (size) boards and it has 3 cross members that are only an inch deep to support the wire so there should be air under it.


    [​IMG]


    Here are some of the other girls checking out the "inmates".
    The one closest is the top girl. I think she is saying "See? I TOLD you to get off the nest or something bad would happen!"
    My daughter thinks she is saying "Hey girls, look, we got a zoo!"

    [​IMG]


    However, I wonder if I need to stick it up on the roosts so there is MORE air under them and in the process ticking of the girls that are doing their job - laying eggs - by hogging their favorite part of the roost - against the side wall. Not much different than when the Favs were hogging the favorite nest boxes for the last 2 weeks. Though one day Persephone apparently was having none of it. The Favs were in the middle and right box mid day. When I went back out later, they were both in the right box and there was a green egg in the middle box.


    Update 3/4/2013 - One day and night in jail did it for Anais. Didn't even look at the nest box today. Clemence was ready to go back in (though not NEARLY so agitated about it as before last night) so she is spending another 24 hours in the can. Solitary this time. And the answer to my question about height off the ground: at least for Anais, 3+ inches above the shavings was enough.

    I was concerned they would be hard to break since they've been stubbornly trying to hatch shavings for over 2 weeks. The "broody buster" box is a miracle!

    Bruce
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  5. pemphredo

    pemphredo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    YAY my broody hen that I got fertile eggs for... 3 of the 10 eggs have hatched...3 more are hatching... they are a couple days early but doing great.[​IMG]
     
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Bruce, some hens will need more height/air than that to change their broody mood, but as you see, others don't need as much convincing.

    Pemphredo, congrats on the chicks, that is the other way to break a broody!
     
  7. primehellcat

    primehellcat New Egg

    I have a broody Australop and have just put her in "time out".
    I have a question though - would a broody chook put the others off laying?
    Our other 2 have also stopped laying, also we have introduced 3 more to the family that are point of lay.
    Up until the 1 went broody, her and the others were giving 3 eggs per day regardless.
    Any ideas???

    Regardless
    Kerry aka Primehellcat
     
  8. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    Maybe in Florida. I suspect it is faster when the temps under the girl are running closer to 0F than to 32F [​IMG]. That said, if I ever have another go broody, I'll probably stick the cage up on the roost or at least raise it higher, just in case.

    Not in my experience. Some of the girls just went to another nest. One apparently shoved a broody out of the nest so she could lay. I would have loved to hear the fuss the broody made. Both broodies were growling at anything that came near them in the nest.

    Could be they were put off by the new social dynamics of having the 3 new ones come in. They will settle that and get back to business soon enough.

    Hopefully "time out" includes air under the bird. Near as I can tell, that is KEY.

    Bruce
     
  9. Rhode Island

    Rhode Island Out Of The Brooder

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    Australia
    It worked! Thanks to whoever came up with the wire cage method!
     
  10. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Chicken Obsessed

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    NW Vermont
    Maybe we can get some data so future "sufferers" can decide what they need to do.
    For example, MAYBE mine were pretty fast even though they were close to the ground because it is quite cold in early March in Vermont compared to southern states where their own body heat might be enough to keep them from getting cold if they are only 3" off the ground and it is 60F.

    1. How long was she (or they if multiple) broody before you used "the method"?
    2. How long did yours take?
    3. What was the general temperature when they were in the cage?
    4. How far was the cage off the ground?
    5. How many days after she "broke" did she lay her first "post broody" egg?

    Here is my 'data' (as best I can remember it):
    1. Two weeks. I REALLY should have gotten on this faster. But I didn't have time to make the cage. It is ready for the next one though [​IMG]
    2. 1 day for one girl, 2 for the other.
    3. Mid twenties Farenheit
    4. Only about 3". On the floor of the coop with the shavings moved away.
    5. 9 days for 1, 8 for the other. They both laid on the same day

    Bruce
     

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