Is she broody?


10 Years
Mar 22, 2009
This is the second day I've found one of my hens sitting on the favored laying spot in my small coop. She has definitely rolled the eggs under her and is laying on them. I just can't tell if she's trying to lay one herself or hatch the ones already there. I'm quite a new chicken owner. one of them was broken under her and she had yolk on her beak, so there is a third option as well--she was laying on them to hide her "snack" from me!

I was thinking of getting an incubator, but a broody hen might be a better option. I'd like to get some buckeye chickens and some guinea fowl this year. Should I try to let her set some inexpensive eggs first? How could I set her up outside of her small coop to avoid her getting picked on? Could I put her in a small corner of the coop in a cat carrier or something? Or would I be better served by shelling out for the incubator?

Thanks for your help!
A broody is a good way to go if you only want to hatch a few eggs... you can't go wrong. If you pick her up off the nest and put her on the floor, does she just sit there? Does she yowl at you and fluff up if you try to take her eggs away? Then she's probably broody. I would put her in the kennel by herself in the corner on clean bedding with a few eggs to test her out.
Make sure she gets off the nest to eat/poop at least once a day.

good luck!
I was recently wondering if I had a broody. Everyone said the way to know is to see where she sleeps. If she sleeps in the nest she is broody if she roosts she is not.
She doesn't get mad and fluff up. But I have to push her aside to get to the eggs and she's like a little brick. She doesn't get up until the eggs are gone. Then, once they're gone, she'll jump down and head for the treats.
Well, the roost method is a problem for me, Abooth. We were given our coop and our chickens. We've only had them for about a month and a half. The house doesn't have roosts. There is a floor, then a little, raised, wooden area, like an upturned box where they like to hang out most, according to all the droppings on top. Then there is the shelf above everything where they all lay their eggs--mostly in the right hand side. I'm not even sure where they sleep! But there are no roosts in there. We plan to build a larger coop this summer. Maybe that will make it easier to spot a broody.
I've got 9 month old Buff Orps and I'm on my second round of broodiness with one of them. The best way to tell is if you would describe them as a zombie or in a trance... she has this evil look on her face, and squawks if I move her out of the nest box... then if i put her on the ground, she just kind of plops there. A chicken getting ready to lay an egg is sitting upright and alert, a broody chicken is very fluffy and flattened out, trying to spread her warmth over all the eggs (even the imaginary ones she thinks she's hatching.) My trick has been to sit her on a snowbank outside the coop. After a minute or two she gets up, walks around and poops. Then I make sure she eats something and put her back in the run... eventually she finds her way back to the nest box. It's a real PITA having to go out and "break" her every day, forcing her to get up and about. At night I cover the nest boxes so she can't sleep in there- she mounds up shavings and makes a nest on the floor. I dont have the room or equipment for a broody breaker cage. Also, a broody won't lay.
I've had 4 hens go broody in the first year and none of them acts the same. Recenty I had a Dominique hatch 2 eggs. When a hen goes broody she'll just sit on the nest, morning, noon and night. You'll know cuz she won't get off if you go near her. She may growl and peck at your hand. Sometimes really mean sometimes not. But she will show you she doesn't want to be bothered. She may not have a hidden place. Then again if you free range she may. If she is in a coop she will most likely choose a nest. Mine always did.
The dominique was not the nicest and pretty nasty snapping and she hurt when she did. She also was the most defensive of moms and protective of her chicks. she would attack if you got near her chicks.
The CM is now w/ chicks but I took her early chicks and she never snapps.
The two Cochin bantams were ok, They snapped but not so much and were the nices of the hen to begin with. Letting you pick them up before going broody.

So you hen may have broken the egg trying to put it under her if the shell is weak. If you just leave her you'll know cuz she'll be on the nest everytime. She only gets off once a day to eat and relieve herself. If another hen gets in the nest she'll wait til they've laid their egg and get back on the nest. If you decide to move her to another private location and you should do it at night. In the dark as possible don't turn on the lights. I used a flashlight to see. You can switch eggs if you like but again do it right away, not two or three days later. I had one broody bantam who hatched 6 , 2 bantam and 4 standard.
The dominique had two of different breeds.
The marans had marans and Dels.
The first bantam squashed the first chick, they may not know what to do the first time.
The second bantam squashed a chick but not the other 4. Those she took care of as she was in a private pen large enough to move around.

So I hope this helps. Be patient and don't expect anything to go "normal".
1. if she stays on the nest and gets irritated if you bother her.
2. If she snaps and shows she's upset when you go near her, or try to touch her or the eggs.
3. If she's there morning,noon and night
4. don't freak if she stays off longer than you think she should she knows what she's doing, leave her alone.
5. she may look like she's in a trance. She is, leave her alone, she knows what she's doing.
6. don't try to help, leave her alone, she knows what she's doing, don't spaz if you lose a chick.
7. Look but don't touch. Unless you see a real problem. It will be ok.

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