Need help with broody hen!


9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
I'm a newbie to chickens, have four Buff Orpingtons that are about 7-8 months old.

About a month ago one of them went broody, at least that's what I assume. She parks herself in the nest box all day; I've been taking her out of the coop several times a day and depositing her in the run, where she sits for a minute - then usually immediately eats or drinks.

I don't know if she is still laying; there is often an egg under her but I don't know if its hers. The others will elbow in, and literally lay eggs right next to her (there are two nest boxes but I guess sometimes they have a preference.)I'm removing all eggs from the coop twice a day. If I shut everyone out of the coop for the last few hours of the day she starts acting like a "normal" chicken, but then goes right back to sitting the next day.

How long does a chicken usually stay broody, and should I do anything about this? I'm a bit worried she isn't getting enough to eat or drink, and her comb is paler than the other chickens.



12 Years
Dec 28, 2007
SW Ont, Canada
You don't have a rooster? Her comb is paler b/c she is in brood mode. She will not be laying any eggs, the other girls are laying their eggs under her. Abroody hen will be broody for a bit longer than 21 ( the normal time it takes to hatch out eggs. her internal clock tells her how long it shoul dbe. Some people have had success breaking a broody. I have never really done it successfully, but then I just stick some fertile eggs underneath her and let her have at it. I am sure you can search "how to break a broody and get some tips--there are some like dipping her bottom in water to cool her down, or swinging her in a cage. But orps love to set, so.... Mybe get her some fertile eggs.


8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
Lancaster, PA
If you don't intend to use her, I would break her up. I do it by putting them in an upside down rabbit cage and setting it off the floor of the coop 1-5 inches, so the air flows up under her. If you can shut her out of the coop during the day, and put her in the cage at night so much the better. in a week or two she should be back to normal.

The eggs are most likely other hens. Occasionally a hen will lay into the first few days of broodiness, but then she stops.

The time for incubation is twenty-one days, but they will sit for much longer. I usually use them in about 4-6 weeks after they broody at the latest, and either set eggs and they will sit for an additional three weeks, or put chicks under them. It more depends on the hen, but from what I've seen they will sit about two months at a minimum if you do not do anything. And on the other extreme, some will sit for six-seven months, that is why if you are not going to use them, break 'em up.

Her comb turning pale is normal. She also will get skinnier the longer she sits. Another reason to break her up. Setting weakens them. I had one hen who sat on eggs for three weeks, and only got off the nest once. If you leave her on it is a good idea to provide her food and water at the nest.

Good luck! MW

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom