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Questions on my method of breaking a broody..

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by klmclain1, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    I have my first broody - Bonnie. I've read a lot of the prior posts on how to break her - and I just want to know if overall I'm doing the right thing. If not, please let me know!.

    Two days ago, I got a wire dog kennel (Large) out and set it up on 2x4s. I put a piece of hardware fabric on the bottom. Then I put in a quarter piece of split log, food and water...and put a partial covering on top with a tarp. It's located under a big tree right next to my chicken tractor.

    I moved her in there (after much screaching and growling). After 24 hours - late in the afternoon yesterday - I let her out to free range with the girls for a bit. She immediately dove into a dust bath and luxuriated for 1/2 an hour. Then she hung out with the girls a little while. But, I kept my eye on her and after a total of about an hour, she was back in the tractor on the "nest" again. So I took her out and put her back in the kennel for another 24 hours. Repeated the same thing this afternoon and she did almost exactly what she did yesterday.

    First, am I making a mistake by letting her out for a bit each day to free-range with the others?

    Second, when will I know that she's sitting on the nest to actually start laying again vs. being broody?

    Third, might she lay in the kennel when she's done being broody?

    Thanks for any help!
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011

  2. Snegurochka

    Snegurochka In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I think if you keep her locked up 24/7 it will be easier for her to forget about brooding. With my hens it always takes a few days, at least, to break them.

    You'll know if she's still broody because she'll have her feathers fluffed up to keep the heat in, and she'll be more likely to growl at you when you reach for the eggs.

    In my experience it takes a while for the hens to start laying again, so I wouldn't wait for an egg to appear in the kennel. Give her 4-7 days in the kennel, then let her out and see what she does, and return her to the cage ASAP if she looks like she's still broody.
  3. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    OK.. that's what I'll do! Thanks for the information.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You're employing the method I use to break my broodies, and I also let them out of the cage for frequent breaks. It in no way prolongs the broody spell, in my experience, for them to get out of the cage, stretch their legs, take a dirt bath, and visit with their mates.

    I place the cage inside the pen during the day so they can still be with the others, and at night, I bring the broody and her cage into the garage with a fan blowing all night long on her underparts. It's the addition of the fan that I would recommend to you, and I attribute to it the breaking of my broodies in less than three days time.

    The final test is to return the broody to the pen and if she can remain out with the others and not make a bee-line for a nest box, she's then considered broken. It will usually take another couple days for her to get over her irritability and "broody clucking", but she will no longer be fixated on nest sitting. She usually resumes laying in seven to ten days.
  5. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    Should I remove the 1/4 split log piece?? She roosts on it.... I also had no idea it would take so long to resume laying!

    Thanks to both of you for the info! I am still in awe of all there is to learn about chickens!

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