Pullet refuses to depart from nestbox...


10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
Central Ohio
Haven't seen this weird subject...yet....but has anyone heard of this scenario? We have three lovely BCM pullets, hatched April 2010...first pretty egg arrived 9/11 and all three were laying pretty regularly, until the last seven days. One of the three Marans now stays in one nestbox for most of the day. We take her out, she'll eat, drink, and next time we check, she's back in. When we check she puffs up her feathers and makes this bizarre, raccoon/dinosaur-like sound, but is not aggressive at all. I've checked her out physically, bright-eyed, shiny feathers, eating and drinking fine, and from what I can tell, no sign of being eggbound (no signs of any egg felt around her vent, no bulging, lumps, etc.). Any thoughts? Could she be eggbound? How can I tell? Am worried but have no clue what to do short of putting her in a separate kennel so she doesn't have access to the nestbox, but that won't explain why she's doing what she is. "Funny" thing is, now, a second Marans (of the three) is beginning to do the same thing in a different nestbox, she was in there most of yesterday afternoon, and again this morning. Aren't they too young to be broody? And they aren't laying on eggs, theirs or anyone else's for that matter. We have three 17 month old hens who are molting right now--any possible way this could be related or am I grabbing at straws? Any input would be greatly appreciated, and any suggestions on what we could possibly do also. Thanks for your help.
Desperate and Clueless:(
Those are signs of a pullet going broody... She wants to sit on some eggs!
Being broody does not depend on whether or not a rooster is around, whether there are eggs to sit on, age, time of year, or much else. It purely depends on when the hormones kick in. If she is truly broody, she will stay on the nest at night as well as during the daytime. I have not experienced it, but some people on this forum have reported a hen going brooody three different times before she is a year old.

I've had hens that spend a lot of time on the nest and are not broody. One speckeld sussex will stay on the nest about 2 hours or more at a time and does not always lay an egg while she is there. I've had hens that will fluff up, growl, and peck at me if I bother them while they are laying. I've had hens that think about going broody but don't. They spend a lot of time during the day on a nest, walk around fluffed up and growling, all that, then they just quit. I seriously doubt it has anything to do with your other hens molting, but I don't know exactly what is going on. If she spends two consecutive nights on the nest instead of roosting in her favorite spot, I'd consider her broody. Other than that, a chicken is going to do what a chicken is going to do. I can't help much.
If she stays on the nest 24/7 she has become Broody. Yes, young hens that have just laid for a few weeks can become Brooders!! Doesn't matter if there is a rooster around or not. Fertile or unfertile or setting on air they will want to set.
Thanks for all your input (insert exclamation point here...mine doesn't work...coffee on the keyboard issue)...really appreciate the reassurance that this is a 'normal' sort of thing. Only in year two of the chicken thing, for some reason or other my dd and I keep adding to our little flock of layers, up to, well, down to 23 now...we uderstand no two are alike but this is the first time we've experienced the broodiness we've read about, and the molting is new too. Sigh, will we get the hang of this? Darn it, really love those dark brown eggs and they hadn't laid enough to increase in size yet. Oh well, they are very funny birds (the BCM's), very personable and quite good flyers...and very vocal, so guess this is just another facet to their uniqueness. Thanks again.
One more question from my dd...."ask them how long broodiness usually lasts..." Is there a normal period of time before this passes?
The normal time for broodiness to pass varies from 3 weeks to 12 weeks; the first 3 weeks are the 21 days of egg incubation, and the last period of time is whilst Momma is raising her chicks.


For a broody without fertile eggs to hatch, broodiness can peter out after a while or just go on and on and on, while she wastes away being broody. (They don't eat as much and they get very little exercise.) I'm not a fan of "breaking" a broody - I think you should just give her some fertile eggs OR put some day old chicks under her so she can fulfill her desires to be a mother.

With baby chicks "installed" under a broody, the time period drops to just the Raising Chicks period of time.

Good luck!
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I realize that not everyone can hatch more chicks for many different reasons. I personally believe that if you cannot give a broody eggs to hatch or chicks to raise it is cruel to leave them broody. They do not eat or drink enough to keep themselves in good physical shape, which leaves them more susceptible to disease or parasites. They are also not laying while they are broody. Some broodies will stop after several weeks, but others will go on for several months. This link may help you if you decide to break her.

Break a Broody Thread

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