My Broody breaking routine

AllenK RGV

Chicken Addict
Jul 23, 2017
5,597
15,698
817
Deep South Texas Laureles,TX 10A
Hi all I just wanted to share how I break my broody's.

1) I try to keep a log of every egg laid in my nest boxes on the porch, so,
A) I know when to expect an egg.
B) I know who is sitting too long.
C) I know when to collect each and every egg as it is laid so no hen gets ideas about sitting on a clutch and...
D) I know when it is an appropriate time to check under a hen and look for broody behavior.

When I go to check a hen for egg vs broody behavior, first I approach with the cats food bowl, usually this pulls a hen who is recovering from egg laying off the nest. If I am greeted by a screech or puffing up of feathers then 9/10 this hen is going to need broke, but still wait 30 minutes for an egg as my hens get broken on day one, usually this does not even interrupt their egg laying schedule one bit. The longer you delay the harder they are to break, and you need to move on to chicken prisons which is crating them off with food, water, and NO nesting materials. Now I anthropomorphize and prefer not to need crating to break them when overdue for an egg +1 hour.

How I break them:

1) Accept the fact I am going to get hen pecked.
2) Insert my hand under the hen palm up and slide it down to the keel covering the hot part of their underside. Gently lift the hen off the nest cradling her in your hand. I usually spend 30-45 seconds on this step as it seems to induce a state of torpor in the hen and this state usually lasts as long as you cradle her. I have seen them still in torpor 5 minutes after I set them down. My feral hen who never lets me get close also goes easily into torpor.
3) I then take the hen to a cool pool or 12 inch bowl(my case) of water and set her gently in then apply pressure to the top side of the hen and get those hot bits of belly nice and cool. I make sure to wash the cool water in to her feathers.

After that I just observe my broody for 5 minutes to see if she requires a new soak later in the day if she returns to the nest. I do palpate the vent area as well if no egg has been laid when lifting and washing my hens.

My heritage breeds are almost always ready to go broody so I do feel a bit like a subject matter expert now in this task as it is a near daily task for me.

Please post your thoughts comments or ideas.

Allen
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
9,873
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SW MO
I put my broodies in a wire bottom cage for 2-3 days and nights, and that has worked for my hens. I currently have one in broody jail right now. In the basement where it's nice and cool.
Moonshine broody 9-27-19.jpg
 

AllenK RGV

Chicken Addict
Jul 23, 2017
5,597
15,698
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Deep South Texas Laureles,TX 10A
I currently have one not laying due to a 3 day prison stay for broodieness, and one who is off laying, or hiding the eggs in the yard. I still have one hour's work with the weedeater to rule out a hidden nest somewhere on the property.

Here is this weeks log file the *'s denote who needed a 2-3 minute belly washing, and that was it, obviously you can see laying is not delayed in these hens.
broody.jpg
 

iss1arg

Chirping
Apr 3, 2019
11
58
56
Winnsboro, Texas
Thank you for the article on broodiness. I've been lucky to only have 1 chicken go broody and have been able to break her. That was last year. This year I have a new chicken (6 months old) who has been broody now going on 4 weeks. At first she only had a few eggs and then she started collecting them from other chickens. One time I saw another chicken on the nest while the broody stood by watching. I thought was very creative. Any way, of the other 6 chickens it appears that only 1 is laying an egg. Is it possible that 5 of the chickens have stopped laying eggs while the broody? Granted, it has been hot here (very unusual for Sept), but They were laying very well in August when it was hotter. Any way to get the 5 chickens to start laying again.

The time frame for the broody is going on 4 weeks. I think the initial eggs were not fertile, I hope that I see some changes in the next week. Given that I found other chickens laying in the nest and that the age of the laid eggs are keeping her on the nest. Do you have any suggestions for how to proceed?
 

AllenK RGV

Chicken Addict
Jul 23, 2017
5,597
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Deep South Texas Laureles,TX 10A
Time to jail her in my opinion, keep her off the nest and preferably in a location you can cool down her hot belly like on a basement floor. In my case I put my broody hens back up on the roost at night and find out in the morning if they are broken or not by checking the old nest as they will always go back to it if still broody. Toss out all those old and ready to explode rotten eggs that she is sitting on. As a matter of fact, do not let her see eggs while you are breaking her. one final note 21 days is all it takes for a viable chicken to hatch from the egg.

Now on to my thoughts on the other hens "not laying". I would bet they still are just not where you expect to find them. Most likely you need to investigate every shrub or tall stand of grass for where they are hiding them. I'm willing to bet your broody hen is occupying everyone's favorite nest to lay in as well. Forcing the other hens to look for new nesting places. If you can rule out this is not the issue you may want to look under articles and look up "molt" it can stop laying in some cases.

post was directed to @iss1arg
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,094
138,333
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
My birds are confined and pretty easy to handle.
I don't keep hourly records on when and who is laying,
just a daily count when I gather up eggs at the end of each day.

First I ensure the signs are there:
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
If they are broody I unceremoniously pull them out of the nest and place them in the breaker crate or into the broody enclosure if I want her to hatch a batch for me.

If I don't want her to hatch out chicks......
My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest (or as soon as I know they are broody), I put her in a wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop or run with feed and water.

I used to let them out a couple times a day, but now just once a day in the evening(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two. Or take her out of crate daily very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate.

Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
upload_2019-9-28_18-23-53.png
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Premium Feather Member
Jul 31, 2018
17,870
141,715
1,592
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Hi all I just wanted to share how I break my broody's.

1) I try to keep a log of every egg laid in my nest boxes on the porch, so,
A) I know when to expect an egg.
B) I know who is sitting too long.
C) I know when to collect each and every egg as it is laid so no hen gets ideas about sitting on a clutch and...
D) I know when it is an appropriate time to check under a hen and look for broody behavior.

When I go to check a hen for egg vs broody behavior, first I approach with the cats food bowl, usually this pulls a hen who is recovering from egg laying off the nest. If I am greeted by a screech or puffing up of feathers then 9/10 this hen is going to need broke, but still wait 30 minutes for an egg as my hens get broken on day one, usually this does not even interrupt their egg laying schedule one bit. The longer you delay the harder they are to break, and you need to move on to chicken prisons which is crating them off with food, water, and NO nesting materials. Now I anthropomorphize and prefer not to need crating to break them when overdue for an egg +1 hour.

How I break them:

1) Accept the fact I am going to get hen pecked.
2) Insert my hand under the hen palm up and slide it down to the keel covering the hot part of their underside. Gently lift the hen off the nest cradling her in your hand. I usually spend 30-45 seconds on this step as it seems to induce a state of torpor in the hen and this state usually lasts as long as you cradle her. I have seen them still in torpor 5 minutes after I set them down. My feral hen who never lets me get close also goes easily into torpor.
3) I then take the hen to a cool pool or 12 inch bowl(my case) of water and set her gently in then apply pressure to the top side of the hen and get those hot bits of belly nice and cool. I make sure to wash the cool water in to her feathers.

After that I just observe my broody for 5 minutes to see if she requires a new soak later in the day if she returns to the nest. I do palpate the vent area as well if no egg has been laid when lifting and washing my hens.

My heritage breeds are almost always ready to go broody so I do feel a bit like a subject matter expert now in this task as it is a near daily task for me.

Please post your thoughts comments or ideas.

Allen
Can't argue with that.:)
I do it slightly differently as in I don't always discourage them from sitting on day one.
I often let them sit for three days. This ensures their egg laying function switches off.
This not only gives their reproductive system a break but gives me a chance to get a bit of extra high protein food into them. I don't need the eggs.
I take their eggs away and clean out the nest if they've gone broody in a coop and if they've nested outside I collect them at night once I've found them and put them on a perch in their tribes coop for the night. They usually go back to the nest the next day; some even sit in the empty nest for the day but normally their on their perch in the coop the next night.
The broody trance is a fascinating business. I've often written here how important it is to get a hen out of her broody trance so she will eat, bath and defecate out of the nest. The bathing is I've found really important.
The hand palm up kept very low is how I check the broody hens here. I've found if you're slow and steady you may get a half hearted peck or two but as long as she stays sitting you can count and remove eggs if necessary and once the chicks have hatched you can count them under her.
 

AllenK RGV

Chicken Addict
Jul 23, 2017
5,597
15,698
817
Deep South Texas Laureles,TX 10A
My birds are confined and pretty easy to handle.
I don't keep hourly records on when and who is laying,
just a daily count when I gather up eggs at the end of each day.

First I ensure the signs are there:
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
If they are broody I unceremoniously pull them out of the nest and place them in the breaker crate or into the broody enclosure if I want her to hatch a batch for me.
View attachment 1920529

I trust my incubator more than I trust my 1.5 year old broody hens. Just because I am paying some good money for decent stock. Should the power go out I'm already prepared with a 12v-110v power inverter and surge suppressors to keep it running and the fridge going in case of a hurricane.

I do monitor them all on that hourly basis as I can look out the window and see my layer boxes as my hens all prefer to lay under the roof of my 30x60' porch/carport. Add to that I can spot a broody within an hour of her getting herself into that state and the fact I have been retired since 2013. I did hit the big 50 last year :) Not trying to brag, just happy to be off the rat wheel of life.

Regardless, back to the point of this thread, I anthropomorphize and hate jailing them and for me a five minute fix works best and keeps them in lay. I only care about the eggs as I give them to a struggling family. My wife is a lacto vegetairian who one day hopes to become vegan. I enjoy regressing into childhood now we are empty nesters and being fed so eat what she feeds us until I go shopping on my own and then its breakfast tacos, burgers and fajitas with salsa verde for me!:celebrate
 

MANNA-PRO

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