Permanently broody hen? How long til it's unhealthy and how do I break?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Fraunie, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Fraunie

    Fraunie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2012
    Elfin Forest
    I have an australorp who has been sitting on a golf ball and or eggs other chickens have laid for about 7 weeks now. She is very thin, almost no feathers on her chest (where the eggs are). I remove the eggs daily and scoot the golf ball out of the nesting boxes, but sure enough, by the end of the day she has moved the ball back in her box or has moved to where she has found another egg. She has always been very broody, laying about 2-3 weeks then broody for 3, not laying for 3, repeat the cycle....

    Would getting her fertile eggs stop this madness? If she has been broody for so long, is there a danger she will abandon the eggs before they hatch? Will she commit suicide by way of longing for motherhood????
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Being broody and sitting for too long can take quite a toll on a hen's body. They don't eat much, so they lose weight, I can't remember exactly, but I think it's around 20-25% of their body weight during the 3 weeks they'd normally sit. Have you tried breaking her broodiness? There is a method I hear works well: place the hen in a wire cage with only food and water and leave her in there. A broody's body temperature goes up a bit and when she's in the cage it's very hard for her to maintain that, so she gives up. On average 3 days in the cage seems to do the trick. Good luck with your hen, hope you get her sorted.
  3. Sphinx

    Sphinx Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    I think that given how long she's already been broody, I wouldn't give her eggs at this point. If she'd only been broody up to 3 weeks, I'd consider it, but I think her stamina/health can hang on for another three weeks.

    I've heard the cage technique.

    I've also heard that if you take a broody hen, and put her in cool water up to her neck (keeping her upper neck and head out of the water of course) and hold her there for a couple of minutes, that will also drop her body temperature and break her of her broodiness. I don't know where you live, but if you live in a cold climate and do this technique, I'd probably keep her inside til she's dry so she doesn't freeze to death outside while wet.

    Good luck!

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