what to do with a broody hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cookinmom, May 2, 2007.

  1. cookinmom

    cookinmom Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    I'm not having this problem now, but just had a question anyway. I will store whatever answers I get for future reference. Here's my question.

    After this weekend, I will have 9 pullets. At some time in the future I'm sure one or all of them will become broody. Since we will have no roosters, there will be no hatching of eggs. How do you get a hen to come out of being broody, when nothing is going to hatch anyway? Or do they know the eggs aren't fertile, and just not get broody?

  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    They go broody with or without a roo. [​IMG] You could always buy fertile eggs and put them under her. If you don't want to do that, I've found that removing the hen from her nest (over and over and over and over again) will break them. Some are more stubborn than others. I have a Silkie that is giving me nightmares right now. I'll boot her out of the coop and lock all the chickens out to free range so Elvira takes her mind off brooding. She tries to get back to her nest but will give up after a few minutes and go off with the others.
    I've been doing that with her for a couple weeks now. [​IMG]
  3. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Our Jersey Black Giant pullet, Lou, has been broody twice... once in December and once in February. Some people use an isolation cage. But we use our laundry/mud room as a chicken brooder and infirmary area.

    The first time she went broody, Lou was 6 1/2 months old. We started by just removing her from the nestbox whenever we saw her in it. We did this for 1 week. We know that as soon as we left the hen house, Lou jumped back up into the nest. We know, because whenever we returned, there she was.... After that first week, I brought her into the house to the chicken infirmary. I removed all bedding and nesting material and kept her there until she was no longer broody. She went broody Dec 30th and on Jan 14th finally was no longer broody. She didn't lay eggs again until Jan 26th. She lost some weight while she was broody and had pulled a number of feathers from her breast. (A semi-naked breast in NE Ohio in the middle of one of the coldest winters ever is not good.)

    Lou went broody again on Feb 24th. This time, I immediately removed her to the infirmary without any bedding or nesting material. She was no longer broody on Feb 28th and started laying eggs again on Mar 5th. She didn't lose any weight this time and didn't pull as many feathers.

    Here is a pic of Lou in isolation in January and a close up in February. I think she looks mad at me in the second picture, probably because she wanted a nest and I refused to give her one! [​IMG] The third pic is of Ida sitting on the nest area on the bench, in the laundry/mud infirmary on February 17. Ida was in for a check up, I thought she might have been egg bound, but I don't think she was, because she laid on egg shortly after I took this snap. (click on pics for larger image)




    Like CarriBrown said, going broody is a hormonal change and a male is not necessary for this change to occur.

    My recommendation would be to isolate her as quickly as possible so that it ends as quickly as possible. She will not only (in my opinion) be healthier for it, she will start laying eggs again sooner, and will go out to play with her friends more, also.

    Good luck!

    if edited, probably for typos...
    Last edited: May 4, 2007

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