Friday, May 07, 2010

Breaking Broody Hens


When hens go broody they have hormonal changes that tell them to stay in their nest and keep their eggs warm.

The broody hens stop laying eggs and sit in a nest to hatch eggs. Doesn't matter if there are eggs or if the eggs are not fertilized the hen will sit for three weeks or more.

These two hens have gone broody and are not happy with my method of breaking their broody spell. The Buff is pacing back and forth in front of the entrance to the coop nest boxes and making cooing clucking noises. The Australorp is strutting around and is all puffed up and making non stop angry clucking noises. Broody hens are scary!

Shutting the broody hens in the pen during the day so they can't get inside to the nest boxes while having feed and water available will hopefully signal their hormones to change. If this doesn't work my next trick will be to place them in a wire bottom cage with feed and water for four or five days. Keeping their tummies cool is supposed to break the broody cycle.

Sometimes I just give up and let them sit. But it's worrisome wondering if the hen is going to be ok and besides that... no eggs for a month is a bummer. I've tried putting a bag of ice cubes under a broody hen but that didn't work. The hen just moved to a new nest. I should have put her in a cage first.

There are lots of sites on the internet about Broody Hens. Here are two... Feathersite and The Poultry Guide. They both have helpful information.

I gave up on outside work today and decided to make some cookies.

PS: I tried to catch up on blogs and comments, but I may have missed some.
I apologize.

(May 7, 2009)

(6 eggs today]



~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Very interesting post Callie!! I see that you've only gotten 2 eggs today, not enough to share! :-) But I have seen on other blogs that people are having the same problem with broody chickens right now--Is it just the time of year or is this an ongoing issue??

Kateri said...

My solution to the my broody hen problem last year was to buy some fertile eggs off of craig's list and stick them under her. (She hatched them out without any problem.) I've heard both the methods. Will be interesting to see if they work.

Kateri said...

PS, I have to agree with you, broody hens can be scary. They are so hardwired to do set and raise young, if you try to interfere, they just go nuts!

diane said...


LindaG said...

Appreciate you sharing your experiences, and the website links.
And Kateri's comment about buying fertile eggs seems a good one, especially if you can find fertile eggs of a breed you like; though I suppose you could just eat the chicks after they grow up. :)

Jennifer said...

Good Luck Callie with breaking your broodies :) I've got 3 broodies right now and I'm thinking I may have a couple more before its over, lol. 1 has 5 eggs, 1 has 2 eggs, and the last one just started... I guess I'll give her 2 eggs today. It does stink about them not laying, I've only been getting 13-18 eggs a day now :(

Little Messy Missy said...

Good luck with the broody ladies. I just keep removing the eggs and as long as I see them eat and drink I just let mine sit.

Nancy K. said...

I've had some luck with taking them out of the nest box after dark and putting them on the roost. They won't fly off the roost at night. Usually after a couple of nights of that, they give up on setting.

or I give up on going out there and moving them! ;-)

Let us know how your method works...

Mike said...

You should come break our Dori, Fancy just got done after two months of broody. It's so irritating!