Hi everyone,

We have what we think might be a broody hen. She stays in the nest most of the day, but doesn't lay. Think that she is also hogging the nest box so that other hens can't lay! Haven't had an egg in days. (We have two nest boxes but they all lay in the one of course)

What should we do? How do we know that she's broody and not sick or something?


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Raised neck feathers and grumpy squawking when approached is a sure sign - I call them 'Huffy Puffy's '. If she has been there for a few days, the others are sitting on her to lay and then she is gathering the eggs under herself, she is broody. To stop this you will have to move her off that nest and either make her another nest in a safe darkened place and put fertile eggs under her or if that is not what you want, put her in a draughty cage with no nesting material and water only for at least 3 days then let her out, if she goes back to the nest box she is still broody. Some breeds, bantams and cross breeds in particular, are really persistent and this state can go on for a couple of months if you dont break the brood cycle. They will not lay whilst broody, so you will have to decide if you want her too or not and manage her accordingly. If you want her to sit move her to the more appropiate place for her to sit at night and you have more chance of getting her to stay on the nest you want her on then. I have had hens that have been in the naughty cage off and on for up to six weeks before they get the idea they should get off their butts - I'm too soft and generally let them out after 3 days so they have a feed and jump straight back on the preferred nest and the whole thing starts again. We sort of forget they are laying to continue their species not purely to give us eggs and it is a really strong desire for some birds. Good Luck.

If you want chicks you could let her sit on some fertile eggs.

Otherwise you need to put her off the 'cluck'. My mum used to put them under a wooden box on the back lawn and keep them there until they stopped clucking.

We had success by taking blocking ours out of the nest box for a day or so.

There are various other methods you can use. You can Google them or I'm sure people on Ooooby have lots favourite tricks they can tell you. 

The guy I bought my brown shavers from suggested the box thing but also suggested that you get a bucket of cold water, hold the chook and dip her butt into the water for a couple of minutes. Take her out for a minute or so then put her back in the water for another couple of minutes.

He reckons it works pretty well and gets the job done quickly. It seems to be something to do with the temperature of the egg system and if you can get that down you have a better chance of her coming back onto the lay.

Good luck, let us know what happens. Keep this as a diary please.

Hmm, thanks guys. Definitely diagnosed as a case of broodiness now. We took an egg out from under her and shooed her out of nest, but not without much kafuffle and clucking. We were out there for a couple of hours so kept kicking her out of nest. Tomorrow we'll devise a way of keeping her out of the nest and access for the others, but it sounds like this might not solve the "problem." In which case, anyone need any eggs hatched?




ps. might have to try the dipping bum in cold water trick! if not only to confirm that it's not a practical joke on the chooks :)

LOL sounds like a broodie hen to me.

Take her out of the hen house tonight (once its dark) , and put her in a box (wine/beer box will do) with some nesting material in it, put the box in a safe  darkish place and put a lid on it so she can't get out.  In a couple of days, or so, put some fertile eggs under her.

Meanwhile the other chooks will restart laying where they are supposed to.

MY hens are taking turns to go clucky ducky'as thats what they sound like no wonder they say to us females you are all clucky haha mine cluck all the day.I just kick them out as much as i can and go with nature as they will stop but u get no eggs but to me they are just a bonus.Th eonly thing is they lose there pecking order and get picked on The broody ones oh and i always watch to make sure they feed and drink and give them special treats.
My girls too go broody far more often than i would like.  I put them in an old freezer basket (the wire type) with a fridge shelf for a lid so it is literally a cage all round and put her on some wood in the garage.  The other cage I have made is also from 2 wire baskets put together with plastic ties.  She needs to be on wood other wise she can get chilled off the concrete.  She has food and water in her cage and is in there for at least 4 if not 5 days.  The little ones (bantys) seem to get over themselves quicker than my big girls.  You can tell if they are no longer broody as they don't do the fluff up when you add food and change the water and then I leave them for another day to make sure.  You can soak them and do other horrible things like hang them in sacks but this way it is humane and safe for the chook.  The pic shows my cage.  If you leave them broody I have found they loose far too much condition and don't go into winter so well.
Good news, egg strike was over by last Friday. All we did was enclose broody bertha in the bottom part of our chicken tractor so that she couldn't get up to the nest box. It only took a couple of days and she got the message. Turns out a built in broody chicken extractor is an added perk of the 'Chicken Ark' by Catawba designs!



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