How to stop broody hen?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Obrienm, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Obrienm

    Obrienm Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi , I have a gorgeous silver spangled hamburg who I keep for shows only, but she's gone broody! How can I get her off the eggs?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I have to do that today with 3 broody hens I have. Here's what I do based on advice from others on BYC. I put them in a pen (doesn't have to be very big...like a wire dog carrier) with food and water. The floor of the wire pen needs to be elevated off the ground so they can't build up the heat required for setting. Might take 3 or 4 days. Some folks go longer. Whatever it take to break the "trance" they seem to be when broody. Good luck to you!
     
  3. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally just let the "get on with it", they snap out of it eventually LOL.

    I've seen a lot of people mention putting an icepack wrapped in a towel underneath them, haven't tried it myself though. You can also keep shutting them out the coop, works for some but my goldtop is too determined for that haha!
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    If you are not going to let her hatch eggs it's better to break her broodiness a.s.a.p. Hens lose a lot of weight while sitting and it's not good to keep them broody any longer than needed. Good luck with her.
     
  5. Obrienm

    Obrienm Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks!
     
  6. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with Redsox and Sunni. I keep a large wire dog kennel for the purpose. It has food and water dishes that attach to the door and a double wire bottom that lets air circulate under the hen and lets the droppings fall through. It usually take 3 or 4 days. I let her our on the third day and watch her. If she heads straight for the nest box back she goes into the kennel.
     
  7. Obrienm

    Obrienm Out Of The Brooder

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    um, i'm thankful for your last reply, but that's just plain mean. Is there like, a command, or something you can do, you know, like click your fingers three times or something? Thanks!
     
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I wish it was that simple! During an average broody spell of 3 weeks "incubating" followed by raising chicks, a hen loses up to a 1/3 of her body weight. Breaking her broodiness in a few days is kinder than letting her sit and sit for weeks (or in some cases months) waiting for her to snap out of her broodiness IMO. The reason the wire bottom cage method works, is because a broody hen's body temperature is slightly elevated. When placed in the cage, with the air circulating under and around her it is difficult for her to maintain that elevated temperature, so she'll give up after an average of 3-4 days. No harm done to the hen. Other methods used for breaking broodiness is letting a hen sit on a bag full of ice and dunking her in a bucket of cold water. I personally prefer the wire cage method.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
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  9. lilypad

    lilypad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have to say, I take back what I said earlier about "letting them get on with it". I only experienced my first broody hen this year and the advice I was given was to shut her out of the coop after the others had laid. On another forum I was called cruel and heartless for doing this which made me feel awful so instead I left them to it. I now have two broody hens, one who has been broody for 2 months and one who went broody a few days ago (second time being broody in 2 months), reading up I wish I had stopped it sooner. One of my hens is so so thin and as she was showing no signs of giving up I have decided it would be best to snap them both out of their broodiness. They're also taking up the favourite nestbox which makes it difficult for the others to lay.

    I'm putting icepacks wrapped in a towel underneath them so they can't maintain a body temp high enough to brood, and then once the others have laid I'm shutting them outside and throwing some treats around so they get up and move around instead of sitting.

    Hopefully they'll snap out of it soon!
     
  10. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Sometimes letting them snap out of it by themselves can work, but it's not ideal. Some hens are determined and will sit and sit and sit until they about kill themselves. I remember my MIL had a determined broody that stayed on her nest for 3 months once. She just wouldn't give up. I've also heard of hens dying after really long broody spells. So it's best (and kinder) to break them if you don't want to/can't let them hatch eggs. Good luck with your broody hens and let us know if the ice packs works for you :)
     

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