To Brood or Not to Brood???


In the Brooder
Feb 27, 2019
North Texas
I've got a hen (unsure of the exact breed...but has some game in her) who has stopped roosting and spends nearly every minute of the day and night in the nesting box. When I remove her, she will take a few sips of water and return to the nesting box. She'll lay on a clutch if left alone, but does not mind too much if I reach in to claim them (a bit of noise and fluffing of her feathers). I can not tell if she's broody, or prefers the solitude of a nesting box. Additionally, if she is broody, I don't so really mind it, I'd need a good way to safely mark the eggs, so the family doesn't accidentally gather them. I'd appreciate any advice or thoughts. Thank you!

(The picture is before her self-inflicted solitary confinement to a nesting box.)


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it sounds like she is broody; how long has this been going on?
if she is, and you have a roo, and you want to hatch, collect some eggs, mark them with a pencil (e.g. a ring round can be seen from all angles) and pop them under her. Collect any others laid in the same box daily.
You might also want to break a couple of your other eggs open to check fertility before starting this, especially if your roo is molting; others have reported a big drop in fertility at such times.
Yes mark a ring all the way around the egg. Or I use my phone light to candle eggs under the hens. I have 20 silkies so I do this almost daily. I have 2 hens usually broody no matter the time of the year.
How old is she?
Has she been laying and now has stopped?

These are my go to signs...especially the clucking.
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
If so, then she is probably broody and you'll have to decide how to manage it.
Pretty much yes to everything posted above!! We have two roos, both quite active. The eggs we've been cracking for meals average around 90% fertile. We've marked her clutch and plan on candling them in about a week.

Now we're nervous how the flock will do with chicks.

Thank you guys so much for your help.

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