What Exactly Is a Broody Hen and How to Stop It?

What Exactly Is a Broody Hen and How to Stop It Blog Cover

Your hen is squawking whenever you approach her and she won’t leave her nesting box, what’s wrong, is she ill? Far from it and chances are she is just broody and wants chicks. If you aren’t planning on having chicks this can be problematic because the hen in question will stop laying eggs.

Whatever the case, you can be certain that if you want chicks and need a broody hen there won’t be one in sight, however the day you don’t want a broody hen is the day you get one!

Certain breeds of chicken are more likely to turn broody, read our guide on chicken breeds if you want to know more about this.

Let’s take a look at how to spot a broody hen and want you can do to stop her being broody.

What Is a Broody Hen?

A broody hen is a hen which wants their eggs to hatch. She will sit on top of her eggs (and others which she’s stolen) all day long in attempt to hatch them. Clearly, if there is no rooster involved then the eggs won’t be fertile and she can sit on top of the eggs for the rest of her life but they still won’t hatch!

There is no exact science to exactly what makes a hen go broody- it’s a combination of their hormones, instinct and maturity.

Broody Hen Laying On Eggs
Broody Hen Laying On Eggs © Norman

If you’ve never seen a broody hen before you might be wondering, how do you know if a hen is broody or not? Believe us, once you’ve seen the signs you will be under no illusion about having a broody hen.

  • She will stay in her nest all day- and we mean all day, she won’t even go back to roost with the rest of the chickens at night.
  • She will normally become very territorial over her nest- this includes puffing her feathers out and squawking at anything that tries to get near her.
  • She will peck and try to bite you if you try to move here so make sure to wear gloves if you do need to move her.
  • She may also pick out her breast feathers so the heat from her body is passed through to the eggs.

If you want to raise chicks then having a broody hen is perfect- they’re natures best incubator after all. However, if you don’t want chicks then having a broody hen is problematic. Not only will your broody hen stop laying, but worst of all she can cause other hens to also turn broody- say goodbye to your egg production!

You can leave her to ‘brood’ and after 21 days (which is when chicks would hatch if the eggs were fertile) she should snap out of it, however in our experience they won’t and they need to be ‘broken’.

So how do you break a hen out of her broodiness?

How to Stop a Broody Hen?

The best way to stop a broody hen is for it to have never happened in the first place and there are several things you can do to reduce the chances of your hens turning broody.

The first thing to do is remove the eggs out of the nesting box as soon as they’ve been laid. Secondly, don’t allow the hens into the nesting box after they have laid their eggs that day. Now unless you are around your girls 24/7 both of these options are not very practical and you will probably find yourself with a broody hen at some point- so what do you do?

Well you have lots of options and you can break her broodiness without doing any emotional damage to her so don’t worry! Let’s look at some of the easier options which should work in most cases.

  1. Remove her for the nesting box

Pick the broody hen up out of her nest and drop her off with the rest of the chickens in the pen. You can do this the same time as you’re feeding them for maximum effect. Also as we previously noted, broody hens can bite so make sure to wear gloves when you’re doing this. Keep an eye on the hen because she might go straight back to the nest box. Repeat this step several times each day to try and ‘break’ her.

  1. Block off the nesting box

If she keeps returning to the nesting box after several days, it’s time to up the ante. Remove her from the nesting box, like you’ve already been doing, except once she’s out block the specific nesting box she’s staying in- just nail a piece of wood to the entrance. Also remove the nesting straw out of the box to further dampen her spirits just in case she does break back in!

  1. Make her roost again

If she’s still broody you have one stubborn girl but don’t worry, we still have some more tricks up our sleeves. Just as its going dark and your hens are going back to the coop to roost, take your broody hen from her nest and place her with the other chickens roosting. Chances are she won’t be brave enough to risk moving in the dark back to the nesting box.

Broody Chicken Happily Roosting Again
Broody Chicken Happily Roosting Again © Norman
  1. Use frozen vegetables

At this point we’ve always managed to break our hen’s broodiness however, other backyard chicken owners haven’t been this fortunate so what else can you do? I’ve heard several people have placed a bag of frozen vegetables underneath their hen. They do this because when a hen is broody their body temperature rises so reducing it (with the frozen vegetables) will sometimes send a message to their brain that they aren’t broody anymore.

  1. Bring out the ‘Broody Buster’

Surely at this point your hen isn’t broody anymore? If she is, there is one option left- the broody cage! Don’t worry its less dramatic than it sounds…

For this you will need a cage with a wire bottom to it. You can use a dog/cat carrier and cut the bottom out and replace it with chicken wire. Make sure the cage doesn’t have anything in there except food and water- this means no bedding.

Place the cage on a raised base with either blocks or pieces of wood and then put the hen in here for around 3 days (if she lays an egg before this, let her out as she isn’t broody anymore).

Also make sure to keep the cage somewhere with lots of natural daylight.

After three days let the hen out and watch her, see if she goes back to the nesting box or if she socialises with the rest of the flock. If she socialises well done, you’ve broken her broodiness, if not, place her back in the cage for another 3 days.

We have never used this method though, we would rather our hens stay broody than place them in a cage but it’s a personal choice.

When Do Hens Go Broody?

It’s hard to say exactly when a hen will go broody and you certainly can never predict it and you also can’t make a hen go broody. It’s a combination of their hormones, instinct and maturity. One thing to note is you almost certainly won’t see a young hen going broody during their first laying season.

However with all this being said, your hens are most likely to go broody in the spring as they need the warm weather to raise chicks- it’s quite rare for hens to go broody during very cold winter weather.

Another important note to make is certain breeds are much more likely to turn broody than others. Quite a few hens just don’t get broody and a great example of this is hybrid hens. They almost never turn broody because they have had this instinct bred out of them. However other breeds such as Cochins, Buff Orpingtons and Silkies can get broody multiple times each year!

Buff Orpington Chicken Breeds
Broody Buff Orpington © Elias

As you can imagine, hens which don’t often go broody can change their mind halfway through and will leave the nest- clearly if you want chicks this isn’t ideal so bear this in mind when selecting the breed of chicken you’d like.

How Long Will Your Hen Stay Broody?

Left unattended your hen will normally stay broody for around 21 days (this is how long eggs take to hatch if they were fertile). After 21 days she should stop however sometimes she won’t and she will need ‘breaking’ using the methods outlined above.

However, if you use the ‘breaking’ methods above your hen should only stay broody for a few days.

Once they return to normal the egg laying should start again within several days, however sometimes it can be up to a month before she starts laying routinely again (when she does make sure to read about storing your chickens’ fresh eggs). If you don’t want chicks then we’d recommending trying to break your hen’s broodiness straight away. Don’t let her brood for the full 21 day cycle…

If you do let her brood make sure to check her condition as she won’t be moving around or taking dust baths so she might get mites or lice. Also force her to eat and have water at least once a day.

Have you had experiences of dealing with broody chickens? How did you stop their broodiness?

Blog Cover Modified From Daniel Hall

Comments

  1. Chrissie says

    I have 6 hens, one, Flecks, went broody after laying her first 4 eggs! She went broody again 9 weeks ago and I could not break her. Luckily she is a very docile broody, and has never minded being picked up and moved etc. Finally I decided to let nature take its course – but after 5 weeks I had had enough.

    As I had noticed some red mites on the coop I decided to clean both coops thoroughly, which meant shutting her out, whilst it was drying, – I then had the thought of leaving the roof off the nest boxes, replacing it with a grill – which let in all natural light and breeze. Flecks rushed back to the coop when I opened the door – but would not go into the nest boxes as it was too bright, and the grill being 2″ wide squares made her feel vulnerable I think.

    Every day after they had laid all their eggs, I removed the nest box lids and replaced with the grills. After two days Flecks had given up being broody and went back to socialize.

    Now the next time she goes broody I will know to remove the nest box lids and replace with the grills, if I can do this as soon as she starts she should change her mind quickly (hopefully).

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      This sounds like a great idea- thank you Chrissie!

      Going broody after her first 4 eggs is pretty bad luck isn’t it- what breed is Flecks?

      Claire

  2. Clara says

    Hi
    I am going to be incubating eggs taken from a brooding hen. I know it’s 21 days usually but will they now hatch quicker because they have been sat on for ten days? Thanks?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Clara,

      If your hen has been sat on them for 10 days then they will not need incubating for a further 21 days. Just subtract the difference from the hen, so they will need 11 days in the incubator.

      Claire

  3. Jack says

    My rhode island red use to be really nice until she started brooding but thanks to your tips my chicken red is back to normal thank you 🙂

  4. Valerie says

    I have a hen that refuses to come out of her box 2 days we removed her and got all the eggs and she went right back in now 2 more days later I took her 1 egg and refused to let her back in she decided to go to a different box.

  5. Mary says

    My 8 mo old Buff Orpington first went broody at 6 mos. By taking the egg from her immediately every day, she changed her mind. At 8 months she went Broody again. I decided to let her and gave her 2 extra eggs. Now she’s the proud mama of 5 1/2 Buff Orpington, 1/2 Americauna chicks.

  6. K says

    I have one hen, Doodles. I believe she is broody 2 days won’t leave her eggs. Is she brooding because she instinctively needs someone. Can you purchase fertilized eggs where you know the sex?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi K,

      She is brooding because she wants to be a mom – it’s perfectly natural 🙂

      Also, no you can’t purchase eggs where you know the sex.

      Claire

  7. Lucy says

    If I get fertilized eggs for my brooder, will the chicks be able to stay with the flock once they’re hatched, or will they need separation and all the appropriate chick attention (incubation, etc.)?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Lucy,

      They won’t be able to be placed straight in with your flock because they won’t have a mama hen to look after them.

      They will need the usual chick attention 🙂

      Claire

      • Sherrie says

        So just wondering about the answer to lucy question.. If you put fertilized eggs in with the broody hen when they hatch. Wouldn’t that hen protect them from the others. Or couldn’t you just separate all of them without having to do incubation and taking mama away from the chicks. I was actually thinking about doing this for my hen but i don’t want to take babies away from mom

        • The Happy Chicken Coop says

          Hi Sherrie,

          If you put the fertilized eggs in with the broody hen and she hatches them- then yes she will protect them.

          However you can’t hatch them separately in an incubator, then when they hatch place them with your flock- they wouldn’t survive!

          Hope this helps.

          • Karl says

            Just buy some chicks and put them under the hen early in the night. By morning she will take them as her own. You don’t need to wait 21 days as chickens can’t count. I am putting some turkey chicks under mine. Even ducks can be put under your hen. Beats running an incubator.

  8. Sally P Castles says

    Good grief! I thought our Rhode Island Red, “Strawberry Blond,” had egg impaction, and I was just about too bring her inside to give her a warm molasses sitz bath! But she does not seem too be straining nor does she seem worn out and sickly like the hens I’ve treated for egg impaction. But she DOES exhibit every single one of the characteristics of a broody hen! Poor thing! All she wants to be is a mom! Guess I’ll have to find a rooster! Thank you for the great information!

  9. Sherrie Gast says

    So one of my girls has been broody for about a week. I know they won’t hatch as we don’t have a rooster. My concern is she hasn’t moved out of the box that i have seen. So im worried she isn’t eating or drinking. How long can she go like this?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Sherrie,

      Hens can be stubborn things and can go like this for weeks! You need to follow the advice in the article and get her out of the coop so she can drink and eat- otherwise she might get weak…

      Claire

  10. Michelle Jackson says

    We have 3 Peking Bantam chickens that are a year old. Over the past few days we have 1 chicken who won’t leave the nesting box unless we pick her up and throw her out . When we do she makes loads of noise and then seems a bit withdrawn from the other 2 chickens. As soon as they go in for the night, she’s straight back in the nesting box for the night. We have no rooster but does this mean she is broody?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Michelle,

      It certainly sounds like it! Does she spend her daytime inside the nesting box as well or just in the evening?

      Claire

      • Michelle Jackson says

        Hi, she’d spend all day in there if we let her. We do throw her out the box about 3-4 times a day, and this has been going on about 2 weeks now. The other problem we have now is when she does come out, the other 2 chickens attack at her. Is this normal?

        • The Happy Chicken Coop says

          Hi Michelle,

          Yes she’s certainly broody then! Have you tried the advice mentioned in the article?

          Hmmmm I wouldn’t say ‘normal’ but it is to be expected if they haven’t socialized with her for a while…

          Let me know how you get on,

          Claire

        • Katy Ferris says

          My girls also attack my broody when we take her out. I just squirt them with water when they chase her and it seems to work for a little while 🙂

  11. Misty Slemp says

    I have a hen that hatched her chicks yesterday! I was wondering why her feathers were missing on her chest and underside. How long will it take for her feathers to come back in and is there anything I need to do to help her heal?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Misty,

      She will normally pull her own feathers out so she can be closer to the eggs when she is broody!

      Now her eggs have hatched just give her a few weeks and they will grow back,

      Claire

  12. Emily says

    i have three hens who havent laid eggs in over a month! two of them were broody for the past month but i have one who i think is too scared to lay. please help me, thank you

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Emily,

      Are the two hens still broody?

      Sometimes when there are broody hens in the nesting box, the other hens will lay eggs elsewhere in ‘secret nests’. Have you seen them?

      Claire

  13. stephanie says

    I have a buff that has been broody 4 times in the past month And half. I have broke her 3 times but she just goes back broody so this time i am just letting her sit. I do get her out of the nest when i feed and she will go eat and then back to the nest. What do you do with one that keeps getting broody?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Stephanie,

      They sure can be stubborn when they want to can’t they! Unfortunately you need to keep doing what you’re doing and ‘breaking’ her each time.

      If you don’t want to do this then you can get some fertilised eggs and have her hatch them- that will certainly stop her going broody!

      Claire

  14. Maddi says

    My Americauna hen has been broody for about 2 weeks now. We’ve tried blocking out her regular nesting box but she just goes to another. I have tried taking her out but she goes right back to the box. She doesn’t even get off to eat. I feel like if I don’t get her back to normal she’s going to starve herself. Can that happen?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Maddi,

      In extreme cases it can happen- but it’s rare.

      I would try moving her to a crate now to stop her being broody.

      Claire

  15. Katy Ferris says

    I have four hens and I have one girl that has gone broody three times! She’s a two year old amberlink. God forbid we have one normal chicken; she went broody twice in the first laying season, has been broody in summer, spring, AND winter, and won’t break for a month and a half despite our greatest efforts. Every day we take her out of the box at least ten times and put her up on the roost. Because our nest boxes are close to the roost, the darkness isn’t really an issue for her. We only have two nest boxes and the girls will either lay in one that they have claimed or somewhere in the yard. Of course, my only two that lay lay in different boxes (one of my hens laid a lash egg recently so she has stopped laying 🙁 and the other is obviously broody)! So, I can’t really block off the nest box. One time I tried, however, and she just plopped down right in front of the box! I have tried everything that’s mentioned except the broody coop which I really don’t want to have to do :/ any advice?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Katy,

      If you’ve tried all the suggestions in the article except the broody coop I can’t think of anymore suggestions sorry.

      I know the broody coop isn’t nice but it’s certainly effective!

      If you’re really against this method have you tried the cold water method we talked about in the article?

      Claire

  16. Kande Moore says

    I have 2 blue americaunas,1 has been broody for 2 months now. I liked your idea of taking them out of the nest boxes( there are 4 boxes), but with them locked out, what about the other 10 chickens that lay their eggs in the boxes? HELP!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Kande,

      ‘Locking up’ the nest boxes only really works when you have a few chickens- I don’t think its practical when you have a flock of your size.

      I would try the frozen vegetables or the broody buster!

      Claire

  17. Jenna George says

    We have 2 hens. and DD is the one that is currently brooding. This has gone on more than a month now. I am just finding this website and will be trying the frozen veggies this weekend. I would block the roost, but Ethel is still laying. Do I still block the roost or just try the frozen veggies. I

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Jenna,

      The frozen veggies will work on their own- no need to block the nesting area as well!

      Claire

    • Aimee says

      Proud to report, I put Miss Betty back in the pen with the other girls & she hasn’t been back in the nesting box yet!!?

  18. Missy says

    I have 3 Maren’s and a rooster, all 1yr. old. I have one hen that’s broody the last 2 days. Today we decided not to take her eggs and let her be.
    How many eggs can we expect? Should we separate her from the rest, it would be easy since the coop is large and I have a gate in between. This is my first experience with a broody hen and I’m excited with the possibility of having chicks!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Missy,

      A broody hen will normally lay no more than 2 more eggs when she starts sitting- so however many eggs are they now is probably it now.

      Yes you should definitely separate her from the rest of the flock if you want her to hatch the eggs 🙂

      Good luck and get in touch if you need anything!

      Claire

  19. Aimee says

    My Rhode Island Red has been broody for weeks. I tried many suggestions & no luck. This week I decided isolation. I have her in a large crate with half covered for shade. I put her next to the other chicken run so they can still see her. We are finishing our 3rd day. Praying when I let her out she doesn’t run back to her nesting box ?.

  20. Tom says

    My Dad use to tie a small paper bag with pebbles in it to the chickens leg to keep them from brooding.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Tom,

      Thank you for sharing this! How effective was it- I haven’t heard of this before 🙂

      Claire

  21. Steve Hampton says

    I discussed this issue with a guy I met in Nicaragua. He said they hold the chicken under water (with it’s head out) for one minute. Sounds bizarre but I assume it’s a body temperature/hormone thing. Since I have a small pond, I’ve tried this with mixed success. What has worked best for me is to simply put the hen in “jail” for a few days, which in my case is a separate wired-off compost bin (so a nice jail for a chicken!).

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for sharing! This is a similar technique to the frozen veggies discussed above- it changes their body temperature.

      I agree with you- in my experience chicken jail is the most effective 🙂

      Claire

  22. Janette Kerrison says

    Thank you so much for this blog, I have only had my 3 girls, 2Sussex and one Rhode Red since 10th May and the Red this weekend started pulling her feathers out and looking pretty scary! She fluffed up her tail feathers and clucked loudly at me when I went to collect eggs as she refused to leave nest. I am now turfing her out of the nest every time she tries to go in, mealworms are a good bribe! I have removed the straw and opened the door to deter her, too. Today she is still broody but now having a dust bath.
    Thank you so much for telling me what to do, I hope this works and we don’t have to resort to the jail treatment. It also explains why I was only getting 2 eggs each day.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Janette,

      Thank you for your kind words!

      It sure does explain why you’re missing an egg each day 🙂

      I’ve got my fingers crossed for you,

      Claire

      • Janette Kerrison says

        Yay! 4 days later, my happy Rosie Red is back to normal, eating corn from my hand again. Thank you so much. No more scary chicken but happy clucks again.

  23. estella says

    my silkie hen has been sitting for 22 days on fertile eggs but so far none have hatched.
    if I got more fertile eggs would she sit for another 21 days or is it best to pull her off, give her a break and wait till she goes broody again?
    thanks.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Estella,

      I think it is best to pull her off because being broody takes a lot out of the hen!

      Then when she goes broody again give her some fertile eggs to sit on.

      Good luck 🙂

      Claire

  24. Dora says

    My favorite method of breaking a broody hen is to put her in a large dog carrier or a cage with straw. Then go buy two chicks at the feed store and put them under the hen after dark. Everyone is happy the next morning. The hen will continue to brood for a week which keeps the tiny chicks warm. Provide chick starter and water.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Micah,

      They certainly won’t sit there too long! They should be up and moving after a few minutes 🙂

      Claire

  25. Shauna says

    We’re having an extremely hot summer, high 90s to 100. Can this affect egg production? Our fairly new hens are down to half what we were getting two weeks ago. They have a shady coop area, but still HOT

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Shauna,

      Yes, it can certainly affect their egg laying- our hens aren’t laying as much as the moment as well 🙁

      Should pick up again once the weather cools down a little,

      Claire

  26. Rajni says

    I can’t figure out if my hen is broody or just stressed. She won’t leave the nesting box, but there are no eggs in there. The other chickens have moved to an alternate nesting box. If there are no eggs, is this still consider broody? She is at the bottom of the pecking order and more frazzled than any chicken I have ever experienced, hence her name “Scarty Cat”

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Rajni,

      Yes she can still be broody even with no eggs there.

      I would follow the advice in this article to stop her being broody.

      Claire

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Fran,

      I wouldn’t recommend leaving it under her for any longer. Go back the day after and try again 🙂

      Claire

  27. Brian says

    We have a 5 1/2 month old Buff Orpington named Bernedette, Who went broody a few days ago. I thought she was egg bound at first, But she doesn’t walk bow-legged, her butt isn’t dirty, and she isn’t lethargic. After reading this, i determened she is broody. She isn’t laying eggs anymore, and she only comes out every now and then to eat and drink, then, she goes right back. And when i try to move her out, she goes right back. I’ve tried moving her, it didn’t break her, and i just tried the Moving her back to roost method, and so far, she hasn’t gone back, if she back in the morning, i may try the Water method, which isn’t highlighted in this article, but it’s where you put her in a bucket of water and hold her there for 5 minutes, and hoping she will be broken. What i’m worried about is some of the other hens will go broody as well. If your curious, the other chickens are: 2 Gold Laced Wyondettes, a Rhode Island Red, a Light Brahma, and an Americuana. If you can tell me the broodiness rate of these other breeds, please tell me. Hope you can give me advice. Thanks!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Brian,

      The water method can be very effective- we discuss a variation of this within the article: technique 4 the frozen vegetables. It works on the same premise as it attempts to quickly reduce the temperature of the chicken to break the broodiness.

      Providing Bernedette doesn’t stay broody any longer then I would say your other hens won’t turn broody either…

      Claire

  28. fran green says

    my first time mum of the age of five has sat on eggs for 20 days one egg hatched and she got off and left it and the eggs ,I let it go for about an hour but the chick was very cold ,so I cudle it its eyes opened and it was chirpy,mumwent back to the nest so I popped the chick back under and they were really happy,i have been down this morning and there is no sound but mum is sat tight.the rest of the eggs should be hatching now if they are fertile thanks.

  29. Janet says

    I have a uniquely obnoxious broody hen problem. Daisy got under the house and all we have is a 6 inch high crawl space. She is at least 30 feet from the one entrance. I finally got a pole way in near there and she moved around, pecked at it etc but didn’t come out. I have seen her in her yard literally 1 time all summer! I’m trying to watch so I can grab her and get her to stop being broody but I can’t get to her! Any way at all to entice a broody chicken out for food and water (I mean, clearly she sneaks out when I don’t see her)? Or should I put food and water under the house? Not only do I not want her to die, I don’t want a carcass under there I can’t access!! WIll she go back to being normal and come out on her own once it cools down in the fall (if she lives that long?) and then I can close up that access door? And yes, she’s a buff broodington.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Janet,

      I would focus on getting her out ASAP- and then shut the access so she can’t get underneath again.

      Have you tried getting one of the large telescopic poles, that should be able to reach her to get her out…

      Claire

  30. Shirley Lamer says

    I have a Jersey Giant hen who keeps going broody. I broke her once by separation in another coop with no nesting boxes available, for 3 days and after about 2 weeks she started laying eggs again for a couple days and then she went broody again. I repeated the separation in a small coop with blocked nesting boxes but it didn’t work. Now I have her in a wire dog kennel. My questions are: do I leave her in the kennel at night? Wouldn’t she be afraid outside in the dark? Do I let her out of the kennel for a break to dust bath, eat etc.? I do have water in the kennel for her. I am just a bit perplexed on how to take care of her in the dog kennel and to protect her and to not stress her out. Thank you.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Shirley,

      The first time you use the kennel, she will probably be broken before nightfall so return her to the coop.

      In terms of food and water just make sure she has some in the kennel with her…

      Claire

  31. JULIE says

    My hen jusy decided that if I blocked her from the nesting box she would hide in a dark corner on the back porch. I thought she and a fox met up but instead she has 10 eggs under her..and they say animals are dumb haha

  32. Stephanie Crumb says

    I have read everything you have on what to do about my girls when they stop laying. My mother keeps telling me to put cayenne pepper in their food no I have not tried it yet but to shut her up should i or shouldn’t i. Help!!!!!!!!
    Thanks
    Stephanie

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Stephanie,

      I haven’t ever tried cayenne peppers, but I know people who have and swear by it!

      Like many things I write about here- you should experiment with it and if it works keep it and if it doesn’t discard it.

      Best of luck,

      Claire

  33. Irene says

    I have been told that my broody hen will accept the day old chicks I have ordered for her at about 21 days from going broody. It was suggested that I place them under her at night and take the eggs away. Do you think this will work.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Irene,

      I’ve seen this successfully done in the past.

      However if the broody hen turns on the chicks and starts to attack them you need to be prepared to raise the chicks yourself until they reach around 18-20 weeks old before you reintroduce them to your flock,

      Claire

  34. Annette says

    Hi there,

    Thank you very much for your article on broody chickens, it was very interesting and informative, however, there is one sentence I cannot agree with.
    In May of this year I purchased two young “green layers” and was told they were about 7 weeks old. One looks like the one in your second photo (sitting on the clutch of eggs), and the other like the ones on the third photo (but she is also a green layer, I presume a hybrid). This little black and white speckled hen has started layer eggs for approximately three months and has now been broody for the past 3+weeks. Hence the comment: “you almost certainly won’t see a young hen going broody during their first laying season” does not go with my young and sad looking hen.
    I take her out of the nesting box a few times a day and make sure she eats and drinks and sometimes take a dust bath even. But she will never stay out of the box for long, even though she has no eggs to sit on because I remove them as soon as the others lay them. As she has lost a lot of weight I am feeding porridge and canned sweet corn in addition to their grains. Since she shows no signs on wanting to snap out of this, I will try the frozen veggie method today. Hopefully it’ll works, because I feel so sorry for her. She is so obsessed with her breeding, that when I take her from the nest she will not stand on her feet for the first few minutes but will lay in the soil, looking for straw that has stuck to her feet when picking her up from the nest, pushing it under her belly. Eventually she will get up, pick a few grains and then she “races” through the yard screaming. After drinking and maybe a dust bath she will march straight back to the nest until I pick her up again.
    Hence, I keep my fingers crossed that the frozen veggies will do the trick.
    Thanks for all your advice.
    Regards,
    Annette from Germany

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Annette,

      Thank you for getting in touch and sharing your experiences.

      Yes, this is why I said ‘almost certainly’; becuase sometimes it does happen 🙂

      Good luck with the veggie method and I have my fingers crossed for you!

      Claire

  35. Mohammad says

    by the way, i was looking for broody hen for so long as they tend to be expensive here (melbourne, Australia) and i found here that you guys want to break their broodiness 😀 !! AWESOME

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Mohammad,

      That’s pretty funny right 🙂

      I’m sure someone here will be happy to sell you one of their broody hens 😉

      Claire

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Peta,

      If you only have one nesting box then this approach isn’t recommend.

      This approach is useful when you have multiple nesting boxes and the broody hen ‘lays her claim to one of them’!

      Claire

  36. Stephanie Hilst says

    Hi,

    You seem to be the only site that is active that may know how to handle this puzzle. We have a silkie that has been laying on an egg for the past few weeks. We have dated the egg and expected it to hatch any day now. My mom usually takes care of the eggs and chickens and when she went to shut all of our chickens in the egg was under Fluffy, the silkie, as expected. Not too long ago she went to let the chickens out after being at work for half the day and the egg is missing. No shell no chick no nothing. Fluffy already is sitting on a different egg that has no date and the others are already roaming around like they usually do. The coop is secure ie no holes in it all locks work and no borrowed holes from any other animals. Any advise on what happened? We looked around our small yard and the coop and haven’t seen anything of shell or chick.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Stephanie,

      This is very strange.

      I have a question: was the mom silkie and chick in the coop on their own or with other chickens?

      Claire

  37. Faye says

    my hen has stopped laying so no eggs… but she still wont leave the box. I put 2 store bought eggs under her (i know they wont hatch) and she turns them. is she broody?

  38. Number6 says

    I had a Delaware that didn’t start laying after the other two in the flock had started. Turned out I had left the decoy eggs in the boxes too long (to get them started) and she was trying to hatch them!

    Took the fake eggs out of the nest and she laid her first egg two days later. She’s still eyeing the eggs the others are laying so I have to get them out fast or she’ll camp out!

  39. Melissa Noyes says

    I have a Buff that I think is “broody” based on everything I have read here. (Love this site). Just started 2 days ago. I cried and cried thinking something was surely wrong with her…then remembered the whole broody thing and have since calmed down. BUT this is her first laying season – she is about 8 months old and we are in NH where the weather is going to be getting quite cold. Now – I see lots of options for breaking her of this broodiness – but I also see talk about letting her have some chicks! that this instinct to be a Mom can be quite valuable to someone that wants more chickens. here are my questions/concerns: 1. Can I buy day old chicks and coax her to take care of them? 2. Is it too dangerous, heading into the winter to consider this option? – don’t chickens tend to lay in the Spring for this reason? our local grain store has some nice little day old chicks in house that I could buy….but does a mama hen protect her babies enough to keep them warm all winter?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Melissa,

      So happy you’re enjoying the website 🙂

      In short- yes you can buy day old chicks and coax her but it can be hit and miss. Sometimes they will ‘adopt’ the chicks and other times they will abandon them… If she abandons them you need to have provisions in place.

      In terms of it being dangerous, providing they are kept warm and in dry conditions then you can raise them during winter- just be prepared for extra work 🙂

      Claire

  40. Maryann Wright says

    My buff Orpington is breaking all the rules, she’s been broody the past 2 days and she’s the youngest of the flock only 7 months old. So today were going to remove her from the nest box and remove the eggs. I only hope she won’t be too upset. I separated my two older hens from the 4 younger ones because they were being too aggressive and to this day my two older ones still won’t let me pet them. Wish me luck!

  41. Tracy says

    Our chickens have been broody for 1 day now, and I’m worried because she has not eaten or drunk any water today, and it was very hot. Should I be worrying?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Tracy,

      I would get her out of the nesting box and make sure she gets something to eat and drink. It’s rare but hens can die from turning broody becuase they ‘forget’ to eat and drink…

      Claire

  42. Lee says

    Hi Claire, one of our older chickens has gone broody and been sitting on eggs for over a week. Now 2 of the newer chickens have pushed her off the nest and have also gone broody – both are sitting on the eggs! The older chicken is sitting next to the nesting box. Am I best to break the broodiness of the 2 new chickens and put the old one back on the nest? (Yes, we are happy to have chicks!). After one chicken goes broody, I wonder what causes the others to do the same?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Lee,

      How many nesting boxes do you have?

      I would be tempted to hatch with the older hen- simply because they are less likely to abandon the eggs before they hatch.

      Best of luck,

      Claire

      • Lee says

        Well, we put the two new broody chooks in a cage and popped the old one back on her eggs. By morning she was sitting next to the 4 nesting boxes again, so I gave up on the eggs she was sitting on. Later in the day though, we found her with two chicks she had hatched. Voila!

  43. Richie says

    I have a mature Hen that does not lay eggs anymore. Her friend another hen has recently died. she is cooped with 7 other young hens who all get along. the mature hen has recently been Broody nesting in her box. we’ve removed her and put her in a create where its warm. food and water also. she is still Broody nesting in the create and only eating meal worms nothine else. We gave her veggies, yogart and she still doesnt eat it… any advice? thnx

  44. Aimee says

    Hi Claire,

    Thank you for your blog.

    Picked the broody hen up out of her nest today. She went back, so I’ll pick her up again tomorrow.

  45. Itunu says

    Hi Claire,
    Thanks for creating this site. I have some old hybrid layers(16 months) and a Rhode Island red. The red had gone broody for 3 months now despite all effort to break her. Now, one of the hybrids is broody too. Can I put both birds in the same wired cage to break them?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Itunu,

      You can place them in the same wired cage, but I’ve heard its most effective when they are placed in their own cage…

      Claire

  46. Linda McDaniel says

    We recently got 5 hens. They all use the same nest box even though we have 4 boxes. One of the hens has been sitting for two days now. I just move her and get the eggs out from under her.
    Yesterday, I got 5 eggs which meant all 5 laid an egg. Today, I got 3. I normally get 3 to 4 eggs a day from the 5 hens. If she is broody, she wouldn’t have laid an egg would she?

  47. Henry says

    Hi… My Hen has 15 eggs already but still not started sitting on her eggs. My other hen started sitting when her eggs is only ~ 8 eggs. I dont know when my hen will start to sit on her eggs.

    Thanks,
    Henry

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Henry,

      You can’t force your hen to go broody, you just have to let nature take its course 🙂

      Claire

  48. Deborah Shaw says

    What a great site to have stumbled upon! Have 6, 1 week old chicks with one of my girls, “Miss Crystal” who is a great Mom.
    Just placed 4, 2day old chicks under my sweet ‘Mary” that has been on her nest for 27 days (with food and water:) and hope she adopts them by morning. Will remove her 8 eggs regardless. It’s not her first try at being broody:(
    I’ve been into “Chooks” a little over a year and I love them SO much <3 Thank you for your informative site:) I will stay tuned:) Deborah

  49. Lesley says

    I’m unable to block off my nesting boxes. My hens lay at different times of the day up until early evening. My broody hen is in her first laying cycle. I collect all the eggs through out the day or when I get home from work. Any suggestions?
    Lesley

  50. Tony Grace says

    We have to resort to the broody buster every time. Most are cured after 3 days but on occasion some have to go back in the same day.

  51. Sophie says

    Hi.
    I have 3 x Pekin Bantams – no cockerel. 1 is broody for the 3rd time, I think only because the 2nd is broody for the 1st time and has been for over 5 weeks. We’ve tried everything apart from the cage. I lock them out 4 days out of 7 (due to being at work on the other days and not wanting the 1 layer to get destressed about not being able to lay) My question….do you leave them in the cage over night too or allow them into the coup which will result in them heading straight for the egg box?!?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Sophie,

      In general, the first time you can let them return to the coop, but if they run for the egg box, cage them again 🙂

      Claire

  52. Rebecca says

    Two months ago we got 11 hens, different breeds and ages, from a person who was moving. We’ve been getting 6-8 eggs per day. Now one hen is broody and stays in one of the nesting boxes all day for the past 3 days, and fights us if we try to get the eggs.. A friend said he’d bring us some fertilized eggs out in a couple of days. For now we’ve got her sitting on fake eggs. My question, do we need to give her a separate nesting area away from the main coop so she can set and hatch the new eggs we’re getting? If we leave her in the coop where the other girls go, won’t they bother her or won’t she try to set on their eggs? I don’t want all of them to get broody. So…..a separate ‘nesting house’ or mini-coop for her? We were thinking of using an igloo doghouse that is in the pen now full of straw (our dog didn’t like it, he prefers the barn, so we gave it to the hens) Should we move her to the igloo when the fertilized eggs come? We’ll have to close her up at night for her safety, just like the other coop (all the hens are in a separate pen in an electrified fenced in pasture. They free range with our alpacas during the day, but come into their pen and sleep in the closed up coop at night). I am fairly certain she will set on the eggs we provide, I’m just wondering if she will adjust to having her nesting are moved…..we can’t leave her there and move the other 10 hens to a new coop. HELP!! I just want to do the right thing for her ‘mommy brain’. Thank you so much! So glad I found this site!!

  53. Gabriel Sosa says

    Hi! I have 31 Rhode Island hens that were perfectly givend 30 to 28 eggs for about 6 months. Now I have a broody hen for about two months. I have tried almost everything. I am going to tried the cage solitaire to see what happens? Thank very much for your all advice! The best blog ever!

  54. Rebecca says

    Thank you Claire! We got DOZEN eggs today from our friend. I had no idea he was bringing that many, but he has raised chickens for years, so we’ll see how it goes! We picked up the hen, picked up the straw and feathers she had used to create a nest, and moved it all into the igloo. It was nearly dark, so once she was in there, we closed up the entrance and hoped for the best! We’ll go out in the morning and let the other girls out of the coop, then let ‘Momma’ out of her igloo and see if she wants to eat and drink. The other hens can’t get into her private area, but they can all see each other. We will hope and pray this all works out… :O

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