is my hen going to die from being broody?

bj taylor

8 Years
Oct 28, 2011
North Central Texas
she's a buff orp. this is her first time. she's got about 10 days to go before babies should hatch. she rarely comes off the nest. her comb is pale (was bright red). I fear she's starving & thirsting herself to death.

I try to hand feed her & she takes some on occasion. I try to give her water & she won't drink. I leave water at the front of her nest box, but don't know if she's drinking. she looks terrible.

is she going to kill herself trying to have these babies?


Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
May 3, 2009
New Jersey
Check to make sure that the nest and hen are not infested with mites. When they go broody, they generally leave the nest once a day to eat, drink, and poop. I have never had a broody hen die during a normal 21 day setting cycle, but have heard of hens going far longer than the normal cycle and becoming so debilitated that they have died. Most hens will quit the nest before allowing themselves to become that weakened.


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
I've never had a chicken die being broody, but it has probably happened. do your chickens free range or have a really large run? If so, put food and water on the opposite side of the yard than where the nest is, and hold her down on the ground for a couple minutes right in front of the food and water, then let go. Have a really special treat in your hand, and put it on the ground. Even if she just gets a little water and food, she will be better off. This has worked in my experience, but your hen could just be crazy dedicated. I hope this works, or you are able to somehow get her to eat and drink. Is she with other chickens or by herself? If she's by herself, i would try smoothing out the food on her dish, and making sure there was no food around the food dish. Usually when chickens eat, they make a huge mess, and scratch food everywhere. If there is food everywhere, then i guess that means she's eating. If she takes time to eat, she's probably taking time to drink.
Again-I wish you luck, and hope everything turns out okay.
best wishes,

Chicken Happy

7 Years
Oct 6, 2012
North Idaho
I have a grumpy bantam that will go broody. When she does, she is scary rabid (I am not scared of chickens - broody or not, but this creature gives me pause...I know she has suddenly grown fangs or is concealing knives under her wings). However, the first time she went broody - she did not snap out of it for more than a month. I made it a point to take her out to the water and dip her beak into it. It was her daily 'aha!' moment...then she would take water and food, then zip back to the nest box. If I just plopped her down by the water, food, or on the far side of the orchard, she would go straight back to the box. So maybe dip her beak and see? Good luck!

bj taylor

8 Years
Oct 28, 2011
North Central Texas
thank y'all so much for your replies. I think I will physically take her out to food & water & try to tempt her. i'm going to look for grubs, worms, anything protein to get her attention. I tried giving her swiss chard, which my other girls are gorging themselves on - not a nibble. I cooked her some scrambled eggs - not a touch.
she's got me spooked.


7 Years
Mar 18, 2012
Salem Oregon
Buff Orps are very determined setters. Put out something yummy and hydrating (my ladies love watermelon and cantaloupe) The hand carrying her off the nest and to the food a few times a day. It's for her own good.

Some one already mentioned checking for mites and lice. It's a good idea.

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