How to Break a Broody Hen

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

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    So, it's not cruel to force a broody to lay an egg in a cage?

    I'm just a huge softie. I have 6 hens in my yard and they are pets. I have one who goes broody every 5-6 months. Normally, I wouldn't care. Except that another hen bullies her and draws blood.

    The last time this happened, I put the broody in a wire dog crate in the garage with food and water and a wire bottom. I did lay a 2 by 4 in there on it's side just to give her something other than the wire floor to stand on. She's an 8lb BO and I thought her feet could use the rest. I'd let her out to free range w/ the other hens in the afternoons and prevented her from getting back into the coop. Took 3 days and then she was over it. And you could tell she was over it.

    Anyway, she's gone broody again. I've had my suspicions for the past 5-6 days that she was going broody but she was still laying eggs and the bully wasn't drawing blood. Yet. But then yesterday afternoon, she's fully broody and the bully is up to her ways so into the dog crate she went last night. But she's squawking and making an awful racquet in the garage and I'm afraid she has an egg to lay and I'm not sure what to do.
     
  2. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    From my LIMITED experience, you don't need to force them to lay an egg in a cage. In fact, that isn't the intent AND I don't think they WILL lay an egg while they are broody, wrong part of the "chicken mommy" cycle.

    What you are trying to do is get her to STOP thinking she is hatching eggs (ignoring the fact that there are no eggs under her anyway). Theory being if you get them up off the ground and up off anything they can nest in (like a wire bottom cage, no bedding) they get over the broody thing.

    I now have 2 broodies [​IMG] One Partridge Chantecler and one of the Faverolles (broody before) started a few days ago. Now that I recognize it, I tossed both in the broody box pretty quickly and put it on top of the roosts. The PC is a hard case, the Faverolles took about 2 days. Then the OTHER Faverolles, who had been laying eggs quite nicely, went broody again. She is in the box as of yesterday morning.

    It took about a week after they were out of the box the last time to start laying again.

    Leave her in there for a day and let her out the next morning.
    If she charges back to the nest after a short time and gets all hissy, back in the box for another day.

    Bruce
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    Okay. Thanks. I wasn't going to force her to lay in the cage. But she laid in her nest yesterday so I wasn't sure if she was FULLY broody today and done laying eggs or what. I did let her out this morning when she started cackling in the garage and she charged back to the nest.

    Guess I'll go fish her out and put her back into the dog crate which is in the garage up on 2x4s to get air up under it. I have a tarp under to catch the droppings just to make clean up easier on me.

    Some have told me to put the dog crate back in the run so she can see the other hens. But she freaks and desperately tries to get out. She's much calmer in the garage so I'll keep he in the garage.

    I ALMOST brought the crate in the house last night. I was feeling so guilty for her being out there all alone. This morning I was feeding her some strawberry tops when she dropped a "broody doodie". OMG, I have a very poor sense of smell from having multiple sinus surgeries and the smell was soooo bad even from 6 feet away that I almost passed out.
     
  4. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I know others disagree, but NO CHICKENS IN THE HOUSE! Newly hatched and brooding CHICKS yes, full grown birds, NO. [​IMG]

    Sounds like my Fav that went broody most recently, Unless I credited her with an egg laid by another bird (I have trouble telling the Fav eggs from the PC eggs sometimes), she laid 9 days straight. I figured she was just making up for the 24 days straight that she did NOT lay. Then went broody. Almost as if she decided 9 was a good number to hatch, even though none stayed in the nest more than a couple of hours. She isn't even trying to hatch the plastic egg in a different nest.

    You can try (if you are around) to keep tossing her out of the nest today, then tonight make sure she is on the roost when it is dark. Maybe if she is just "kinda sorta" broody, a night off the nest might be enough?

    Bruce
     
  5. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    I've got her back in the dog crate.

    I don't care that she's broody. The only reason I'm breaking her is that another hen is beating the $#%# out of her. She did this before. She's so docile and calm but she does not want this hen to go broody.

    I took the broody out of the nest and set her down so I could close the nest box lid and the bully came booking across the yard and before I could scoop up the broody, she jumped her and started wailing on her. I had to physically push her off and hold her down while I scooped up the broody.

    One but broody is no longer broody, all goes back to normal.

    So we'll keep her in the dog crate in the garage. The garage is predator safe and the temperature is right. So I feel better having her in there than anywhere else.
     
  6. chattykathy306

    chattykathy306 Out Of The Brooder

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    I posted already today about my Welsummer. I am new to chickens, so I don't know if she is broody or if there is something very wrong with her. She has spent much time on the nest, but laid no eggs. She stayed in the coop all day today. When hubby got home, he picked her up and put her on the lawn. She shows no reaction to anything. Now, she is just sitting out in the yard. She makes no sound. Just acts very lethargic. We could do anything with her, I believe and she would not object. Could this be "broody?"
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Spicegirls, if you go to chicken shows you'll see all sizes of poultry living in wire cages, and many hens laying eggs with no problems. They don't need a fluffy cushion of straw to lay in, they stand up almost vertically when they're pushing out an egg. It's not cruel at all.

    The idea of the Broody Buster is to change their mood, having no bedding & lots of light & airflow are opposite the conditions they prefer for brooding.

    BOs tend to be a broody breed, have you considered making separate accommodations for this hen so she can brood without being bothered?

    ChattyKathy, have you figured out what is going on with your hen? Broodies usually stick tight to their nests, but if moved will screech, squawk, and peck at you. If taken off the nest they usually will try to go back to it. They also will have a bare patch on their breasts on each side of the keel bone. If your hen is just laying in the grass, she may be ill instead. I hope she feels better soon.
     
  8. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

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    I do have a separate coop and run that I used last year when I let the broody be a mama. Worked great. But I have 6 hens and that's my limit. I'm a city dweller that just wants a few hens for the fresh eggs and pest control. So I can't let her be a mama every time she decides to go broody. And I hate to let her be broody for weeks and possibly months if I'm not going to let her be a mama. So breaking her seems the most humane thing to do.

    It just breaks my heart to stick her in a dog crate in the garage and listen to her call out to her flock mates.

    But the deed is done for this round. Took four days and nights and she's over it. She's back out in the run with her sisters and all is right in their world. So now I know the signs and I just need to buck up and put her in the dog crate next time and work through it.
     
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Some folks do indulge their broodies with fertile eggs and then give away/sell the chicks when Mama is ready to go back to laying. Or there may be other poultry keepers in your area who would love it if your hen hatched eggs for them. She could set any kind of chicken egg, or duck, goose, turkey, or guinea hen.

    If this hen frequently tries to go broody you may want to swap her for a more production-minded hen. Otherwise, bust her broodiness right away, rather than waiting around.
     
  10. Egrant97

    Egrant97 Out Of The Brooder

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    I may have to try this, it could beinteresting getting her a wire cage, she doe not like to be handle/touched at all!!!!
     

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