What can I do to get a Broody hen?


In the Brooder
Dec 18, 2016
I have a dozen hens and a rooster. The hens lay mostly in only 2 of the6 nesting boxes. They appear to fight over those2 nests. I wonder if the fighting over the nests keeps the broodiness at bay. I'd like to have a been hatch out chicks. Any ideas?


6 Years
Jul 19, 2015
North Central Florida
It's unrelated.

The only thing you can do to encourage having a broody is to have a breed that is inclined towards broodiness, which are typically certain bantams and others that have not had the broodiness bred out of them. What breeds are your hens?


Jan 3, 2016
My Coop
My Coop
Mine only seem to want to use the same box(es) but it hasn't stopped my clucky girl(s) be clucky. It seems more a personality thing, on my observation of my flock.


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Mar 9, 2014
Northern Colorado
I would agree with SunHwaKwon.

Some breeds will be more likely then others to brood.
Knowing your breeds will help. You may or may not ever see a broody even if you have as breed that tends to be broody.


Crossing the Road
Apr 4, 2017
Sandusky Ohio
I have a very crabby broody hen right now and I can't wait til she comes out of it and goes back to her sweet self. Maybe I could rent her out to you. :lau


Nov 1, 2015
New hampahire
If u had a broody it wouldn't matter about the nests. I have too many broodies but I also have silkies which are notorious for broodiness and I also have a standard size Cochin that is also broody. These 2 breeds go broody often. They will sit on eggs no matter who lays them. You can try to encourage broodiness but you cannot make a hen broody


Jan 3, 2016
My Coop
My Coop
One of my new chooks (hatched end of last year) has already gone clucky. She seems to have come out of it now, but she got my other girl started again (the one on the right in my avatar, I got her eggs last time, because she wouldn't get off the nest). It seems like she's always in there. She seems to have a very strong maternal drive, that particular girl.


In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2017
To encourage broodyness you can put fake eggs in the nest. I think when the hen sees them all the time it will start, or encourage her broody self :rolleyes:

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
11 Years
Mar 19, 2011
NW Oregon
Being pushed out of a nest box can discourage the moderately broody types, especially if it is a hen that is on the lower end of the pecking order. Look for any hen that is constantly trying to stay in the nesting box and who is usually clogging the works up for the rest. That can definitely start box squabbles. She might be contemplating brooding but is disturbed by the more dominant hens pushing her from one box to another. Putting her in a quiet, isolated nest, with a fake or dud clutch of eggs might entice her to settle and brood....or not...she will need to have the genetic make up for the proper amount of hormones.

For those, it does depend on the type of chickens you have.

If you have commercial laying breeds such as Production Reds, Barred Rocks, Red Sexlinks, White Leghorns, it is very unusual that one of those will go broody as broodiness has been genetically selected out of them for the high egg production wanted by the hatcheries. It can happen, but it is uncommon. (If I have had a commercial broody, it has been with Black Sex Link).

Squabbling for nest boxes in those breeds is simply the pressure of pecking order over the "golden" box and the incessant need to lay.

If you have more "heritage" type or breeder quality breeds, then yes, broodiness can be present. My breeder quality Marans are very broody prone as were my Welsummer as is my Marans-Isbar. My larger fowl tend to brood seasonally (in spring/summer).

If you really want to consistently brood, year round, and regularly year after year, I recommend contacting a Silkie breeder. They almost always have a hen or two that is annoyingly broody, has hatched broods, but for one reason or another is not needed by the breeder (as in how many brooding Silkies can one keep). You typically get a hen that is not picture perfect for standard, but an excellent brooder and mother.

I wish you the best of luck in finding/obtaining a brooding hen. They are awesome. Once you get a successful broody, you will never go back to artificial hatching. My brooding queens are worth their weight in gold (Thank you currently to Rosie, bantam Cochin, Vivi, Buff Silkie, and Olive, Isbar-Marans...and all the Silkie queens over the years).



Jan 3, 2016
My Coop
My Coop
OP, sorry to intrude in your thread, but Lady of McCamley, how many eggs can you put under a silkie? Mine aren't very big. Last time I got too many eggs, but 2 of my girls teamed up for the job and they are bigger than my silkies. You wouldn't be able to hatch many at once under a silkie, would you? Do silkies "co-parent" like my girls did?

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