Rhode Island Red - Novice Brooding Question


9 Years
Jun 14, 2010
I've read much information here on the site about what to do with a broody hen, but, since this is my first time dealing with the issue, I would appreciate it if someone would validate my behavior description as being correctly tagged as "brooding". I'm pretty confident in my assessment, but she's my favorite lady. I just want to be more sure.

She's the smallest, has the most personality, friendliest, and is clearly the "leader". We do not have any roosters. We have three hens, two boxes, and one box never gets used for some reason. The other afternoon (Saturday?), I went out to give them an afternoon treat of lettuce, and she was on the box. Tried to peck me. I let her be. I noticed a few tail feathers scattered about the yard.

She was on the box this morning. She was on the box this evening. I put on gloves, talked to her nicely, and got pecked about 10 times. She raised her tail feathers really high in the box.

After removing her, she screamed bloody murder. Mad as all get out. I picked her up and talked too her soothingly. I carefully palpated her abdomen, and there was no mass in there. I put her down. She took a sip of water, then pooped a normal looking (green, with a streak of white) poop, talking the entire time. She had four eggs under her that I removed. She appeared to be moving around normally and immediately went back to her box. I removed her again, she screamed bloody murder again, the other two hens were saying something back to her from the roost. I set her down. She went back to her box. I moved the two boxes around, with her in the "usual" one.

1. Did I just describe a brooding hen?
2. Having read the many suggestions, should I get something for her to sit on or cage her with food and water? If it's brooding, I'm more concerned about the other two being able to lay than anything else, since no one seems to like the "other" box.

Many, many thanks in advance. So sorry for what I will no doubt look back on as a silly question.
Sounds pretty broody. When she's out of the nest do the other chickens pick on her? Does she spread her wings out and act like a lunatic? That's what mine do. If there's no rooster, they won't be fertile so she's setting for nothing. That can be irritating. Maybe try to seperate her from the chickens and that d*^$*$^ bax for a while.
Yes this is broody. I have a BO that keeps going broody on me. Luckily I have 5 nest boxes and the one she is using does not get used much. I think she has told the other hens that it is her personal box! I keep taking her off the nest. In the past she eventually gives up and quits being broody. I really want her to get back to laying. She usually lays an x-large or giant egg nearly every day when she is not broody.

My technique for breaking a broody was taught to me by former North Dakota farmers (my in-laws). If they had a broody that they did not want to be broody, they would pick her up off the nest and carry her over to the water trough. They would completely submerge her except for her head and hold her in there for 30 seconds or so. It usually only took a couple of times to break the broodiness. I don't have a water trough. If (and only if) the temperature is in the mid 80's or higher I soak her down with the garden hose. I make sure to get her breast area wet to cool it down. This worked good last summer. The way or temperatures are going so far this year I may not be able to use this technique this year...
i wouldn't submerge a chicken like that... Carrying it around with me for a while though is something I might do.
Thanks for the responses. To address a few of the comments, (1) yes, she's a lunatic -- always spreading her wings and puffing up when she's removed from the nest, though she eats and drinks when I do remove her; (2) the others tend to leave her be and aren't picking on her, though she is the alpha of the flock; and (3) I've "dunked" her twice (I know some oppose this method), and she doesn't seem to mind. She also doesn't scream or peck any more when I try to pick her up. Fairly docile, though she's always been ok with being picked up/handled, though she still heads right back to the box.

One last confirmation of her broodiness -- she's plucked her belly. I may separate her tomorrow in a small, raised cage with food/water.

THE BIG QUESTION: She's hogging the two boxes (in one, and likely fending off the other), and the other two aren't laying right now. They don't seem distressed, but are they able to turn laying "off" when they don't have access to a box? Or will they soon be developing problems from being unable to lay?

Many, many thanks again.

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