Is My Hen Getting Broody?


11 Years
Jan 12, 2009
Kentfield, California
I'm new to hens -- have 4 under one year - no roosters.

I'm wondering about my Brahma who is the youngest and just started laying last month. The last two nights she has gone into the coop earlier than the others (who wait until the last second before night falls) -- when I checked to make sure they were all in, I saw she was down in a nesting box. Since she hadn't laid an egg that day, I figured she was just laying late. She came out in the morning but no egg. Didn't lay an egg yesterday either. She was out all day but once again went in early last night, I found her in the nesting box again last night, and she was still there this morning -- I have the feeling she's not planning on coming out.

As far as I know, she's sitting on one fake egg. She wasn't happy when I reached through the little egg collection door -- I thought maybe I could get her to move out -- she just gave me some high shrill "cheeps" -- please leave me alone!

I am wondering if this is what going broody is? I really don't want any chicks (the 4 laying hens is all that we're prepared to handle right now) so won't go out to find fertile eggs for her to sit on. Would really like to change her mind about this so wonder if it would it work to just pick her up and move her out of the nesting box and remove that fake egg (she's gone into the same box both nights, but two other boxes have a fake egg or two in them too)? I can't get to her that easily but will figure it out -- find someone with long arms!
Or should I leave her there and put food and water close and just let her sit on the fake egg till she decides she's done? I'd hate it if days and days and days went by, especially since I'm not around all day every day to monitor her. I'm also a little worried because my New Hampshire Red sometimes picks on this one and she's at a disadvantage just sitting there (nesting boxes are on floor along one wall and the three go from door to door of this small coop).

I don't quite know what to do, hope someone can give me some advice. Thanks!
Since posting this a while ago, I've found some of the discussions about broody hens and have some ideas what to do now, but I have some further questions, and wonder if I actually do have a broody hen.

First of all, the hen has come out of the coop at last -- I think she was there about 15 hours going in at dusk last night. She hasn't laid any eggs for about 3 days, altho I vaguely noticed she would go in to the nesting box and spend a longer than usual time in it during the day and then come out, but no egg left behind.

Could something else being going on with her? She seems to be eating and drinking water and has now flown up onto a favorite tree branch where she spent a lot of time yesterday too. Could she just be changing her behavior in some way? Do hens sometimes decide that rather than roost at night they prefer to sleep in a nesting box?

It sounds like she's being broody to me.... especially if she's not happy when you reach through the egg door. I have two broodies right now and her behavior sounds similiar.
I tried the water dunking and it actually seemed to bring my australorp out of it but not my Maran. I just keep taking the eggs an shoving her out of the nest box, then when it gets later in the day I close the coop so she can't go in there for a few hours.

Good luck these are my first too so I'm not an expert on what to do.

Thanks for the reply Nancy! I haven't read about the water dunking -- I can't pick up this hen and I have the feeling that would doom any future "close" relationship with her!
She's pretty shy and skittish. Anyway, my maintenance gardener Ramon is here and he laughed at me and said oh just leave her alone.....he thinks we Americans worry a bit too much about our animals and should just let them work things out! He could be right, but.......

My girl isn't laying any eggs and I've removed the fake egg she was sitting on the past two nights. So nothing to remove from beneath her if she returns. I had gathered that when they go broody that they're not necessarily even laying eggs and actually stop laying, just want to set.

I really am wondering, too, if she didn't just decide she preferred sleeping in the nesting box rather than on the roost with her sisters who fight every night about who sits where on the roost! But I suspect that it's maybe not that but beginning broodiness, if there is such a thing!

Once the other girls have laid today, I'll try closing that area off until bedtime as you suggest and see if that makes a difference or not. At least keep her from going in early. We'll see......


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