My Chicken

My Fav Chickens

7 Years
Nov 16, 2012
Sydney, Australia
This is my first time my Dad and I have had chickens and I have five of them. One of my chickens has been sitting on the nest the chickens share and her feathers are ruffled and she is make weird sounds. I think she is distressed because her stomach is bald. My Dad says she pecked them off but I do not know if he is right. I am really worried about her as I do not know what to do. She wouldn't move so I picked her up and put her on the ground. I put her on my lap, patted her and tried to calm her down and it works but when I put her on the ground with the the other chickens, her feathers ruffle up, she walks around for a few minutes and then runs as fast as she can back to the nest. I can't get all of the five eggs because I am so scared I am going to do something wrong. This is my first time having chickens and this hasn't happened before. Is she broody? What should I do? Can I take the eggs? Please answer because I am so worried!

Yay Chicks!

9 Years
Apr 15, 2010
Forest Grove, OR
Yes, she is broody. If you have a rooster and thus suspect the eggs are fertile, you could let her hatch the eggs. If you don't have a rooster or just don't want her to hatch chicks, you can break her broodiness.

If you have a small cage (like a rabbit cage) you could put her in that and elevate it off the ground. The idea is to cool off her underside (that normally would keep the eggs warm) and to keep her from the eggs. Of course, make sure she has food and water. Another way, is to keep your birds from going into the coop during the day and block off the nest boxes at night.

Some get over it easier than others. Whatever you decide, good luck!

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7 Years
Calm down. She's just broody. It's perfectly normal, and extremely common. If you have a rooster the eggs will be fertilized and you could let her sit on the eggs for 21 days and have chicks. If you do not have a rooster though, you should take the eggs away, otherwise they will start to smell and attract critters like rats and snakes.

She is going to hiss/growl, ruffle her feathers, and try to peck you. It is her instinct to protect her eggs. She will attack other chickens who try to come near her or her eggs. As for the bald spot, that is normal. It will feel like that because her feathers are ruffled, and it also helps keep the eggs warmer.

There's two things you can do now. You can choose to just let her be, but continue taking her eggs, or put her in "broody jail".

I usually use option #1, since the chicken tractor I would normally use as "broody jail" is usually full with other broodies, breeding pairs, show birds, roosters, mamas and chicks, or whatever else. I just let them sit on their nests, and continue to take any eggs away. Now, there's definitely some downsides to this: 1) Broody hens will not lay eggs. I have enough layers that one or two hens not laying doesn't really make a huge difference, but for a small flock like yours this would probably not be ideal. 2) They take up room. They use up a nesting box that could be used for a hen that's actually going to lay eggs. 3) They will take longer to break. With the broody jail they might be back to normal in a week, whereas when you do this, it might take a month or even two.

Option #2 is the broody jail. Basically you put the hen in a place she won't want to nest. Broody hens want a place that is dark, sheltered, and quiet place to hatch their chicks. You need to put her somewhere that is bright, open, and where the other chickens will go by often to bug her. I find our chicken tractor works best. It is two stories, the bottom is open and made of hardware cloth. The top floor is a bit dark, but the floor is made of wire, so they are not inclined to brood up there. If you can find or build something like this, that would be ideal, but a dog kennel would also work. However, if she's a big hen I wouldn't really want to make her live in something that small for a week. Some downsides to this method are: 1) Double work. Instead of filling one water, you're filling two. Same with the food. And the hen's smaller cage will need to be cleaned often. 2) Finding a suitable place to put her. An XXL dog kennel would work, but it would still be pretty tight for a good sized hen (I'm not sure what breed she is, but I consider something like a Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, or Sussex to be a good sized hen).

I do prefer this over just letting nature take it's course though, because she will be broken and back to normal faster, and therefore, she will be back to laying faster.

Best of luck,

~~Ms. B :)

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