My hen has been broody for a long time, is she okay?


In the Brooder
Apr 13, 2015
Our hen, Hennifer, has been broody for well over a month. I heard that they usually went broody for only 21 days. Is it normal for them to stay broody this long. Or is there some other problem I'm not seeing.
She seems to be healthy, and she comes out about once a day to get food or water then heads straight back to her nest. No visible weightless that I can see.
Our other hens, Chickoletta, and Ming-Ming are out and about as usual. They roam around our yard basically 24/7. with plenty to do, So why isn't Hennifer out there with them?

P.S Ive tried taking Hennifer out of her nest,which is sometimes a struggle because she doesn't want to leave the nest, and placing her on the other side of the yard. She will stay out for a little while, maybe 20-30 minutes. Then she heads back to her nest as normal.

P.S Again: We were wondering if she is broody then should we get some fertilized eggs from our neighbor and allow her to hatch them?
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8 Years
Aug 29, 2012
The 21 days is because that's how long it takes for eggs to hatch and once they hatch they get off to tend to the chicks. If you don't have fertile eggs under her then there is no signal for her that the time is up so she will just sit and sit, slowly loosing more and more weight and condition.

You could put fertile eggs under her now as you suggested but personally I wouldn't because by the time you add another 3 weeks for them to hatch she is going to have been going without proper food etc for a long time. She will always get broody again. Plus hatching eggs is all well and good as long as you are prepared for the possibility of roosters hatching and nobody wanting them or just wanting for eating.

So you need to break her broodiness and there is one golden rule you must follow or it won't work. The hen cannot be allowed access to the nest at all, 24 hours a day for at least 3 days (maybe an extra day or two if she still wants to go back). Just taking her on and off during the day or letting her sleep in it means it will not work. It has to be zero 24 hours a day.

If you follow that rule the rest doesn't really matter much, you can put her in a small seperate cage or we just fence off the end of our run with some plastic wire and tomato stakes. Doesn't matter how you keep her off, just that you do.

This is our broodie area.

Good luck!
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Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
If she's been setting for more than a month it may take longer than a few days to break her.
Not sure what your climate is or what your coop setup is,
but if you're in a cold climate I would not advise allowing a broody to hatch in winter.
I've done it successfully, I had extra room to separate broody and chicks, but it was a pain to keep water thawed.

My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

I let her out a couple times a day 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.

Nipple water bottle as added after pic was taken.

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