Why won't my hens be broody?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 14, 2009
Waverly, Ohio
I have 5 hens (1 Australorp, 2 RIR and 2 RIW) and 1 Australorp roo, they are about 2 yrs old but none of the hens will sit for me. I wanted to some chicks but not one of the hens will sit on the eggs. Anyone know why? I have 2 RIR that looks like the roo is mounting them than the other 3. The Australorp hen doesn't look like the roo touches her and wherever she goes he usually follows, I've also noticed she is kind of bossy with the other 4 ladies, is this normal for her to act that way and for the roo to keep picking on my 2 RIR?
Roosters have favorites, just like at least one other species I can think of. With 5 hens some may get more barebacked than others.
The hormones need to kick in giving them the urge to raise a family. Sometimes it never does. It's an individual thing. Some breeds, like your Aorp, Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, Silkies tend to go broody more than others. Some like leghorns and other Mediterranean breeds are supposed to be non-setters.
I had 2 orpingtons, one went broody often and the other never did. I had a black Leghorn that went broody often and raised 3 clutches for me. You just never know.
I think adding some fake eggs so there's always something in the nest may help.
You know, hatcheries don't want their hens going broody so they would cull a frequently broody hen. The chicks would then be from the non-maternal hens.

If you want to improve your chances, get breeds known for broodiness and get them from a breeder who keeps some broody hens to raise chicks.
I agree with debid. Most hatchery birds sold for egg production have had the broodiness bred out of them. If you want some birds specifically for brooding, breeders are a good bet, or you could get a couple bantam hens. I have a bantam old English game that goes broody every summer, as well as some standard game mix hens that also go broody. None of my hatchery egg layers have ever gone broody, though.

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