What happens if I don't break a broody hen?


6 Years
Sep 22, 2013
Carrollton GA
I have a Cochin hen that has gone broody. It has been well over a week of her nesting box obsession. I have thrown her out of the box several times a day. I took out the fake eggs I had in the nests. Today I changed the straw in the boxes. And- of course- back she goes. Now this would all be well and good if I could hatch chicks. But we are moving in a couple months and I really don't need to add to the flock before the move.
So what happens if I do nothing more? I know she's eating and drinking cause I see her when I dump her out of the box a couple times a day. I will continue to do this, but I really don't want to go to some big effort to break her from being broody. Prior to this she was laying an egg a day, so I am missing those eggs, but I'll live. Will she eventually get over it? Do I HAVE to break her?
She will eventually get over it. The main reason I try to break it, is the loss of egg production and the ocuping of the nest space, causing other impatient hens to lay on the coop floor.
There are other reasons to break her of it, including that it can seriously damage her health. She won't eat or drink enough, and can badly lose condition.

There is more you can try to break her of it. I use a dog crate, with the plastic tray at the bottom removed, and place it on four bricks so she is standing on wire, and cool air is coming from underneath. She couldn't sit and get all warm and snuggly. I gave her food and water in two trays that hooked over the wire. I let her out after one day - she went straight into the box to brood, so I put her back into the crate for another day. That worked, she had worked out this wasn't a nice time to be having babies.

I did feel mean, but I wasn't hurting her, but in fact preventing her from possible worse things.

All the best
I never said those were the only reasons, just my main reasons.

Personally, I've never had a broody hen deteriorate to a physical condition that she did not recover from. They just don't seem to be dumb enough to kill themselves trying to reproduce.
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No, you don't have to break her, and yes, she will eventually get over it. "Eventually" can be a few days to a few weeks, depending on the hen. I never bother to break them, I just take them out of the nestbox once or twice a day to dip the beak in water a few times just like you do with a day old baby chick. I do this just to be sure they don't get dehydrated. Usually when I do that, she snaps out of it long enough to eat, drink, and dustbathe on her own accord.

If I have one that does not spontaneously eat after I dip beak in water, I take her out of the coop and put her with the rest of the flock. That has always been enough to get a broody eating and drinking. She might run back to the coop after a few minutes, but I'm fine with that as long as I know she's eating and drinking.

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