How to tell a Broody Hen?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by growinupinfl, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. growinupinfl

    growinupinfl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    I don't currently have any broody hens or at least I don't think I do. My girls just started laying eggs a few weeks ago. After reading stories of hens hatched in March going broody, I guess it could happen. How can you tell if your hen is broody, Is their any forewarning signs that they are about to go broody? With winter coming on will they instinctively know when to not hatch eggs? Is their a temperature where I should not even let them try? If one of my hens does go broody, will she hatch any eggs. If you can tell she is going broody is it recommended to isolate her before she starts to sit? Ok that is enough questions in a row... Any answers would be awesome..

  2. SarahIrl

    SarahIrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    West Cork, Ireland
    Well my one to go broody this year (and only one) simply started to sit. She went from a sleek welsummer bantam to a frizzle if I went near her and growled like a dog. Liked her ten minutes eating drinking and a bit of a scratch in the mornings then bang, back on the nest. It was a bit late in the year for my liking but she has been lent out to hatch eggs elsewhere.
  3. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2009
    Hi Christal,

    Answers...but with living organisms no answers can apply 100% of the time.

    Most broody hens spend longer and longer in the area where they are laying and then just don't leave that area at all (with or without eggs under them). She will fluff out when you come near her and make a low squawk/growl noise (some will peck you if you try to move them). She will lose feathers and pull out feathers from her breast/belly area so her skin contacts the eggs. They stop egg laying. The broody usually only leaves her eggs for periods of under 20 minutes once or twice daily to eat/drink/poop.

    My Brahmas have all gone broody within the first few weeks of egg laying. Not really a good thing as a)They are not full sized and brooding takes a lot out of them. b) Pullet eggs are not as good as mature hens eggs for incubating.c)They are like 'teen mums'...some very good, but in most cases it would have been better to wait.

    With regards to temperature, most hens go broody during Spring and early Summer....the chicks hatch in a warm period. It is harder for hens and chicks who go broody when the temperatures are dropping, but they can and do manage....I've had chicks survive and thrive with thick frost about.

    If you have a broody set any old place (and they do), make sure she is really broody, staying on the eggs for all of the day and only leaving for short breaks, before moving her to her own quarters (or finding some way of isolating her within the main coop from the others).

    Good Luck,

  4. bigdawg

    bigdawg AA Poultry

    Jun 28, 2009
    middle tenn
    my darn silkies go broody anytime 365 days a year. they sit more than they lay
  5. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Trust me, you'll know if you have a broody — she will act like she's possessed by the Devil!
  6. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    If one acts like she is trying to turn your hand bloody when you try to get the eggs then come back after dark. If she is still on the nest an not roosting then she is broody. Give her the eggs you want her to hatch and mark them.

    Florida? I would assume you could hatch all year long.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010

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