1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How to ENcourage a hen to go broody

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mptclinics, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. mptclinics

    mptclinics Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2013
    We have had layers for a couple of years now. I am ready to start allowing the hens to raise their own chicks, rather than to continue purchasing chicks. However, in 2 years of having chickens -- of all sorts of breeds and ages, hens and roosters -- we have never had one even threaten to go broody. Some of our breeds are well known for their tendency to go broody, but we've had no sign at all. Is there anything we can do to encourage one to go broody? The only thing I can figure is that, perhaps, we collect eggs too often? We live in a rather cold environment, and we have young children in charge of egg collecting. Between those two factors, we collect eggs multiple times a day, so it isn't like we ever have piles of eggs laying around (Except for the fake wood egg in each nest box). Should I try to just leave the eggs and only collect at the end of the day? Should I separate a hen or two from the rest of the group? I am quite clueless here. Thanks!!
  2. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2013
    Fort Collins, CO
    Leave fake eggs in the nest. They will go broody when they feel they have a sufficient clutch. When they do so replace the fake eggs with real ones.
  3. mptclinics

    mptclinics Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2013
    The nests always have 1 fake. How many should I add for them to give it a second thought?
  4. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    You said you had "all sorts of" chickens for two years--do you have 2 year old birds, or do you replace them?

    I'm in the same boat, I'm waiting for one of my current birds to go broody. I've had birds I've given away go broody after I got rid of them--most notably Marans, but I guess some of my former Brahmas did too.
  5. mptclinics

    mptclinics Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2013
    Sorry for that confusing statement. We have ordered from a hatchery twice, and been given many of all different ages (for both meat and layers). At present, I have 20 hens. We harvested our last rooster due to his turning aggressive, but I will be getting another rooster after an upcoming move, when I am ready to encourage a layer to go broody. Of the 20 hens, some are hatchery chicks, some were hatched by a friend, and some were given to us as adults. We think there are 4 ranging from 2-3 years old, 6 that are heading toward 2 years old and just finished their first molt, and the rest were hatched this past spring--one group in May, and one in June. They are the ones just starting to lay. The oldest group are RIR's, Buff Orps, and another I was told was a white leghorn, but due to her size, I think she is a closer to a White Rock. She has also been consistently good at laying through this winter. Of the mid-aged girls, there are 3 Lt. Brahmas, a Silver Spangled Hamburg, an Australorp (we think), and a RIR. The remaining younger girls are mostly crossbreds, though a couple appear to be full Americana and full Austrolorps. I was told the other lines that were mixed included Marans, Orpingtons, and some unknowns. Lots of fun, but all consistently not interested in brooding so far! Hope that clears up the confusion. Thanks!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Most of those breeds are not spectacularly broody. If you really want a hen to brood, look for a silkie, cochin, game hen.....something along those lines.
  7. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wouldn't go out an get anything new as Brahmas and Orpingtons are known for broodiness as well just not as extreme as the breeds listed above. Before I went in search of a bird I would set 4-5 fake eggs in a nest and see what happens. I have also heard of people who get a few day olds and then hens go broody then sneak them in at night but have not tried that yet. I suppose it is similar to "baby fever" in people lol
  8. mptclinics

    mptclinics Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2013
    Thanks. I will try the eggs first this summer. If it doesn't work, I will be sure to order a couple of "broody" type hens in my next order if necessary.
  9. Allicoop

    Allicoop Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 30, 2012
    Western Australia
    Both my hens have gone broody within 10 days of when ive stopped collecting their eggs. I just left them where they laid. One when broody when she had laid 7 eggs and the other after she laid her ninth. Works like a charm
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Mother Nature is the only one who can encourage a hen to go broody. Some of the "broodiest" breed hens never go broody. One of my RIR hens went broody at age 3, totally to my surprise, as RIR hatchery hens are reputed to be about the least broody of breeds, next to leghorns.

    My broody hens have been Cochins, brahmas, and bantam EEs.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by