Friday, May 07, 2010
Breaking Broody Hens
by Callie on Friday, May 07, 2010
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.
(May 7, 2009)
(6 eggs today]