What if I DON'T try and break a Broody Hen (on non-fertile eggs)


7 Years
Sep 18, 2012
I've had several broody hens in the past and it's been great because I've either put fertile eggs under the hen or put day old chicks at Day 21. Both those times we wanted more hens in the flock so this was a great way to do it.

This time, we have a broody hen but we don't want chicks. So, we have all the normal problems of a broody hen sitting on all the other hens eggs and making it hard for them to lay (since they all want to lay in the same box) broken eggs, etc. It's a real pain. But, at this point, we're about two weeks into this, and I really don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to break her.

What can I expect will happen from here on out if I just let her go through her broody stage? By day 21 she'll be expecting eggs to hatch, obviously they won't, and then what? Will she just give up eventually and start laying again or keep sitting waiting for them to hatch past day 21?

I feel bad for not "fulfilling" her hormonal obligation to be a mom, but we can't deal with more hens in the flock at this time.

They don't have an internal clock that tells them to quit at day 21 or 23. Some will "give up" after a few weeks, and some will stay broody for months. When broody, they eat less and don't get much exercise. Complications can develop, such as health problems related to poor nutrition and too little exercise, all the way to the extreme of starving to death. It's a good idea to break them - if you can. Some are much more stubborn than others. When I have a broody, whether she is setting on eggs to hatch them or not, I at least lift her off the nest and prod her til she eats and gets some exercise, at least once a day. If she's hatching eggs, this probably isn't necessary, but I believe it's a good idea when she isn't. Probably the best method is the cage method.

Thanks. Today I just keep taking her out of the nesting box and putting her outside the coop, in the yard. She can fly back in, but it's not easy- the fence is high. I figure eventually she'll realize being out is nicer. We'll see.... Either way, I have to put her back in at night so maybe while she's sleeping I'll put her on the roost and she if that helps break it too.
More thoughts appreciated...
I have a bantam cochin that goes broody just about every two-three months. I have no roo and am not allowed any more chickens so she will not be hatching any eggs. Because it happens so regularly I have had the opportunity to try lots of things. Sometimes I will let her be for a week to see what she does and she has given it up quickly one or twice. For the most part she will sit for 4 and once as long as 8 weeks (this was the time I decided to just start breaking her). The issue is that during this time they hardly eat anything and don't move around and do not take care of themselves. She started to look terrible.

Broodiness is a hormonal compulsion so just shutting her out or putting her on the roost is unlikely to break it. Every bird is different and if she is a first time broody she might not be as crazed, but my super broody cochin will just go make her own nest somewhere hidden if she cant use the good one. See what happens but generally, it's not a matter of comfort. What the wire-bottom cage does is keep cool air under her bum so she literally can not nest and create the right environment to hatch and her brain will decide ok this is a bad and unsafe situation for us to do this and stop.

Good luck!
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I see. I get it. I don't have a wire cage but I can put an ice bottle in the box....

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