How to Break a Broody Hen

nuchickontheblock

Songster
9 Years
May 16, 2010
652
12
133
south portland, maine
I had 2 hens that were broody one right after another in November and December -- it was getting cold here and we worried about them alone in the wire cage on the porch without anyone to snuggle with, but it didn't take long to break them. Just 3 - 4 days. We did cover the cage overnight, though with a blanket; and one night when it was going into the single digits we put the poor little thing in the back cellar way which is cool, but not freezing. They were very happy to be back with their friends after that. It did take a couple of weeks for them to restart laying again.
Good luck!
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and yes put food and water in the cage. Someone had suggested mushier food, which is a good idea, because when they drop the pellets, they drop out of the cage and the poor bird is looking for "where did it go?"
 

mirsy09

Chirping
9 Years
Jan 3, 2011
42
0
85
White Rock, BC
Thanx for the hint about mushy food. I will set it up in my spare stall in the barn.... its not too cold in there. Its a buff orpington and apparently the orpingtons are bad for being broody
 

Peregrine

Songster
10 Years
May 28, 2009
107
1
111
North Georgia
I didn't have time to read the whole thread, but I was wondering...

Can you break a broody hen just by removing the egg she lays?

I'm assuming the hen will lay an egg a day for a few days until she builds up a batch to set. If you take away the egg every day, will she just keep laying until she gives up?
 

jndorsey

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 14, 2010
47
0
21
Central VA
No, just removing the eggs won't break her once she gets it into her mind to sit on the nest. I have an Egyptian Fayoumi (not known for their laying ability or broody nature) who just went broody on me over the weekend. My other hens have never shown any interest in sitting on the nest, this is probably the fourth time this one has done so in the last year. I saw a personality change in her late last week, next time I see it coming I'll get her into the cage for a day or two and see if I can avoid the brooding altogether. I hate leaving her in the cage b/c she tends to knock over the water and pace so much she tears up her otherwise beautiful tail feathers.

Meanwhile, she's still funny when she broods, as her usually timid personality does a 180. She turns into such a monster we go from calling her "Diddabird" (used to be "Little Bird", but it's morphed over time) to GrendlHen or simply The Beast when she gets this way. My husband and seven year-old are a little afraid of her when she's like this, I just laugh at her which makes her even madder. I have video of her reaction when I go to take the eggs out from under her, will post here if anyone wants to see what it looks like when a hen needs an exorcism.
 

mirsy09

Chirping
9 Years
Jan 3, 2011
42
0
85
White Rock, BC
Hi- I've now learnt to take them out of the coop and put them into a stall in my barn for a couple of days. There is no place for them to "sit" in a nest there. I keep this stall with a couple of birds that may need a little attention.... if the others are picking on them, or they get broody or I have one just one eye. This really works well. I am getting some baby chicks soon and if I do have a broody one then, she will be useful to keep them warm.
 

Peregrine

Songster
10 Years
May 28, 2009
107
1
111
North Georgia
I have a broody hen I'm trying to break. Since I free-range, after all of the other hens have laid their eggs I close up the coop so she can't get back in to the nesting boxes. I just started doing this today. Will this work, or will she just make a nest under a bush somewhere?
 

jndorsey

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 14, 2010
47
0
21
Central VA
It might work, might not. Problem is if she finds eggs elsewhere (if any of the others lay somewhere else) she'll just sit on those. I've no idea how or why the cage works, but I do believe it has something to do with air getting to their bellies. I know last night after I let my others out, I took the GrendlHen off the nest, removed the eggs, and put her up on a perch. She stayed there for a bit, then started hollering and ran out of the run with the others. She was out for a short while, then I realized it was awful quiet (she's very vocal) and went back out to find her on the nest. Again. So I moved her. Again. Guess where she was five minutes later? ;-) Getting the idea? Gonna put her in the cage this weekend. Meanwhile my father-in-law says to keep the cage covered, yet others have told me to NOT cover it, as throwing a cover over it makes cozy and "nesty" for them. I've never covered mine but at night if it's very cold and I've had to cage her in the garage.
 

new2thischick

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
39
0
22
Mendocino coast
SOOO EXCITED I think I actually broke my first broody hen.... After reading this post last night I was determined to break my broody hen.. She was sitting on imaginary eggs and was very serious about the situation.. I took her off the nest 4 times today and she ran back to the nest each time..

Anyhow I have my 5 week old chicks outside under a wire cover so the 1 yr old hens can get used to them being around.. This time I set my broody hen on top of the wire cage.. She was looking down at the chicks and doing her mumble thing.. She sat there for about 5 minutes.. jumped down ate some treats i had out for the girls ran at the other hens .. did her disgruntle dance..
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That was an hour ago and she hasn't ran back to the nest. If anything it was nice to see her get off the nest and eat and drink something..

Thanks for the post.. i hope it worked..
 

new2thischick

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
39
0
22
Mendocino coast
Well it didn't work.. she has planted herself right back in the nest.. I have been taking her out every time and placing her on top of the chicks cage.. Today she was extra grumpy.. Now my other hen is showing signs of wanting to be broody..

I think I am gonna have to do the cage thing you recommend.. her poor flesh is turning red on her chest where her feathers have come out.. I know she can't help it, but I don't want a sick chicken on my hands.. I wouldn't know what to do.. keep ya posted..
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