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

broody hen

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 a 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 a 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 from being broody.

What Is a Broody Hen?

A broody hen is a hen that wants its eggs to hatch. She will sit on top of her eggs (and others which she’s stolen) all day long in an 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 its hormones, instinct, and maturity.

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.
  • A broody hen 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 need to move her.
  • She may also pick out her breast feathers, so her body’s heat is passed through to the eggs.

If you want to raise chicks, then having a broody hen is perfect- they’re nature’s 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 also to 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?

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  • Increase Egg Production
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  • Healthy Feathers

How to Stop a Broody Hen

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 hen turning broody.

The first thing to do is remove the eggs out of the nesting box as soon as they’ve been laid.

Secondly, please don’t allow the hens into the nesting box after laying 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 from 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 at 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.

2. 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, as you’ve already been doing, except once she’s out, blocks the specific nesting box she’s staying in, nails a piece of wood to the entrance.

Also, remove the nesting straw out of the box to further dampen her spirits just if she breaks back in!

3. 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 it is going dark and your hens go 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.

4. 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.

When a hen is broody, they do this because 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.

5. 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. It’s 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, 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, watch her, see if she goes back to the nesting box, or socialize with the rest of the flock. If she socializes 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 freezing winter weather.

Another important note to make is certain breeds are much more likely to turn broody than others.

Quite a few hens don’t get broody, and a great example of this is hybrid hens. They seldom 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!

Signs of a Broody Hen
As you can imagine, hens who 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 dealing with broody chickens? How did you stop their broodiness?

How to Care for Broody Hen

If you’ve decided to allow nature to take its course, your hen will happily sit on her eggs until they either hatch or she realizes they aren’t going to hatch (usually about 21 days later). 

If your hens are in a coop and one or two become broody, make sure there are enough nesting boxes for the non-broody hens to utilize; you may need to add some.

Before that, you want to make sure that your chickens are protected in their coop. In order to protect them start with an automatic chicken coop door.

If your broody hen was free-range and found her own space to nest in, you may need to do the following to ensure her health and safety: Ensure she is safe from predators.

Most hens will find the optimal space to lay eggs, and usually, this means out of harm’s way and in a draft-free area

Some hens may not realize where the danger lies and will nest on the ground in plain sight. This leaves them open to predators. 

You can gently move your hen and her eggs to a safer location. She may or may not continue to brood, but at least you’ve saved her from a worse fate. 

Provide separate food and water

If your hen has nestled down far from the rest of the flock, she still needs to eat. Broody hens leave their nests at least once a day to relieve themselves and eat.

Providing feed nearby is a nice courtesy, so ensure that she does leave to eat. Just make sure it isn’t in a place that will attract predators, or you may put your hen at risk once again.

Our Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Run Chicken

  • Works Rain or Shine so you don’t have to let them out in inclement weather.
  • Go ahead and get those extra hours of sleep or go on vacation, our door has you covered.
  • Protect your Chickens from Predators with our self-locking feature

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

Common Questions About Broody Hens

Still have some questions about broody hens? The following information should help clear up any doubts you have. 

How Do You Stop a Broody Hen?

You can stop a broody hen by removing her from her nest, using a frozen water bottle, removing nesting material, separating her in a cage, or just giving her some fertile eggs to sit on.

How Long Does a Chicken Stay Broody?

If you don’t do anything, your chicken will typically stay broody for about 21 days. This is how long it would take her to hatch fertile eggs.

What Are the Signs of a Broody Hen?

The classic indications that you have a broody hen include pale wattles and a pale comb, missing belly or chest feathers, and the hen refusing to leave the eggs.

She may also sit on the nest despite there being no eggs or peck your hand if you see if she has eggs under her.

What Do You Do With a Broody Chicken?

If you want your hen to lay chicks, you can leave it up to nature. Just make sure you have a rooster and a broody hen. If you go with this option, separate her (and the clutch) to prevent another hen from forcing her to leave her clutch. 

If you don’t want any chicks, try one of the above methods to get rid of her broodiness. 

What Month Do Hens Go Broody?

It is most common for hens to go broody during the spring. This comes from the fact that they rely on warm weather to raise their chicks. Although possible, it is much rarer for hens to get broody in the height of winter.

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224 thoughts on “What Exactly Is a Broody Hen and How to Stop It?

  1. 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).

    1. 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?

    2. Mine went broody after her first week of laying as well!!!! Dealing with it now , meaning I take her out and make sure she eats. This weekend will have to do some damage control.

    3. Hi, I have a buff Peking bantam who sound like she is broody. I’m not sure how long she has been like this, as we were away and my son was looking after them. I think at least a week or so. If I let her keep some eggs, will she still hatch them for 21 days or is it too late now?

    4. I have a hen who is broodie she sat on approx. 5 eggs for about 1 week when we went to check on her she had moved off the eggs she was on and is now on a separate set of eggs. Why did she do this? What should we do? We have 5 other hens and a rooster.

      1. We’ve had that problem before, too. It’s very frustrating! Through trial and error, we’ve discovered that if a hen sits on the same batch of eggs for more than a couple of days, we move her and the eggs to a separately ‘maternity’ wing, which is a single-occupancy box fenced off from the other chickens, with its own food and water supply. This seems to ‘focus’ the hen and stops her abandoning the eggs for the other ones that she would otherwise see being laid around her. Good luck!

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. Can I eat the eggs from under a broody chick? How long are the good? There were 19 under her from three chickens.

      1. Have you ever cracked an egg where the hen started the incubating process. It can be disturbing to crack the egg and see eyes staring up at you. We’ve had that happen from one chick that had just begun (size of the pinkie) to one that died days before it was to hatch. It’s gross. Don’t do it.

    3. We had a maran hen sitting on eggs. We would remove the eggs and she would keep sitting. Finally, we took the Easter Eggers eggs, 10 of them, and placed under her. She is black, Easter Eggers are brown and black, and the rooster is a Lavender Americuana. Each time we would gather the eggs, the maran would move to another nest where the other marans had laid. Note we have separate pens for all the different chickens. After a while of the hen mov ing from nest to nest, we decided to take the green, blue and pink eggs and put them in the incubator. We had 9 left as a snake got one. Eight of the eggs hatched and they came out black! How this happened is beyond me. They do have a little lavender color under their necks. Maybe they will shed these feathers and turn brown and black like their moms (lol). If anyone has any answer as to why they are black, please let me know.

      1. I have 3 chickens -one a little smaller and older than the others so altho’ they share a run it is divided by a grill to prevent her being bullied. For the first 18 mths they were all laying regularly ( with normal broody breaks) but a couple of months ago the sisters took to the (double bed ) nest box where they have been sitting (ON TOP OF EACH OTHER!) ever since. They pop out once a day for minimum rations and then go straight back to bed. I leave the box top open with a grill on top during the day and have tried locking them out of the nest box but they were so demented I had to let them in again.
        They are very aggressive when I try to handle them. The third one is still laying nearly every day in her adjacent quarters. I’m worried their legs will get weak with all this inactivity.

  3. 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 🙂

      1. I have 12 golden Pekin bantams inc two cockerels. They go broodie as soon as hot days come in Spring off they go about 6 at a time. Tried every think including dummy eggs. So tried chicks. Then later ducks and then said enough.Sold the Muscovie ducks at 11 months all 8 of them mucky squirty ducks made hell of my hen palace and yards. Glad when they went. This year God know what else to put under them?

    1. Which tip did you use because my little chicken vanilla has been brooding for a while I have no idea which way would be more effective.

        1. The only way I can stop my girl is the cage. She isn’t even 12 months old and she goes broody about every month. Very annoying really.

          1. My Rhode island Red has gone broody 3 times in 3 months……… Needless to say I haven’t had many eggs from her and she is only 12 months old.

          2. I don’t feel so alone! I have a Speckled Sussex who went broody in March, after 3 weeks she didn’t get the hint that she won’t have babies (we didn’t have a rooster at the time) so I put some fertilized eggs under her and she hatched 7 babies. Good mama, but at 4 weeks old she let them go and became broody again. She, and another hen are now getting the cage method as they other methods have not worked.

  4. 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.

      1. Hi I had a chicken that hatched out chicks four times. The chicks would hatch and I would replace them with eggs. After the fourth time I just cleaned out the nest box. After a month she disappeared only to show up with chicks. I know it’s hard to believe.

  5. 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. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. Claire It is not possible to sex eggs,YET. They are working on this in Holland I think, but have not perfected it. ☹.
        If you want her to brood, find someone that has fertile eggs or order then from a haçthery.
        GOOD LUCK

  7. 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.)?

    1. 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 🙂

      1. 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

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. I placed two day old keets in with one of my brooding silkies and they are doing great.

  8. 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!

      1. I get day old baby chicks from local feed store, know they are hens and sneak them under my brooding hen after several days… they have always taken the babies as their own.

    1. My silky hen Shimmer,wouldn’t stop brooding and we have no roasters so I went and bought 4 chicks. I had my mom bring the hen around the corner and l put the chicks in after taking the eggs out, brought her back, she was delighted to see the babies. She has been a wonderful mother. Now our other silky hen Crystal seen the chicks and she started brooding,l Can’t get anymore chicks right now, l was wondering if I took 1 of the chicks with Shimmer and put it with crystal if it would traumatize Shimmer. Any ideas?

  9. 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?

    1. 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…

    2. My little Lizzie May is a brooder. This is the second time she has decided to sit on the eggs allll day long for days on end. EVERY single day I go out and rub her legs and place her in front of her food. I make sure she eats and drinks. I have done this several times a day and also I keep taking all the eggs away from her as soon as possible. After a few weeks each time she has snapped out of it. Good luck to you and your little girl.

  10. 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?

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

      1. 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?

        1. 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,

        2. 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. 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?

    1. 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,

  12. 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

    1. 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?

  13. 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?

    1. 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!

  14. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. I had a broody hen who hatched several eggs along with a few that started hatching in incubator and I just put those in when they started to pip, then I took the chicks and put them all into a brooding box we made just for them. While momma was laying on the eggs and I would visit often to check on her and everyone else and when I went in there I actually made sue she got something to eat and drink being she would not leave the nest and she actually would eat from my hand and drink from the bowl offered with water while laying on the nest and now eggs are all done and I took her out of the nest and took her out into their big yard we made for them with roost and shelter etc for during the day and she is doing great now… but also my roosters and hens follow me everywhere and they love to sit on my shoulder and talk to me etc. I am first time chicken owner and got my chicks in april as day olds and would not change a thing about them or being a chicken mom.

  15. 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?

    1. 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?

  16. 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!

    1. 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!

  17. 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

    1. Hi Jenna,
      The frozen veggies will work on their own- no need to block the nesting area as well!

    2. 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. 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!

    1. 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!

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

    1. Hi Tom,
      Thank you for sharing this! How effective was it- I haven’t heard of this before 🙂

  21. 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!).

    1. 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 🙂

      1. So glad I found you all , we are trying an ice pack in the laying ben , just kicked her out with the other chickens and gave them some fun goodies to eat , I feel bad for her ,but want the best for all our girls , I have a feeling we will be doing the wire cage , shes pretty grumpy right now , thank you all for the help

  22. 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.

    1. 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,

      1. 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. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  24. 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.

    1. Will the other hens in the flock accept these chicks or will they need to be separated with “mom” until they are older?

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

  25. 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

    1. 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,

  26. 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”

    1. 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.

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

  27. 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!

    1. 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…

  28. 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. 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.

    1. 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…

  30. 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.

    1. 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…

  31. 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. 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!!!!!!!!

    1. 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,

  33. 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.

    1. 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,

  34. 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.
    Annette from Germany

    1. 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!

  35. 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

    1. Hi Mohammad,
      That’s pretty funny right 🙂
      I’m sure someone here will be happy to sell you one of their broody hens 😉

    1. 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’!

  36. 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.

    1. 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?

  37. 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. 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. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  40. 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. 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?

    1. 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…

  42. 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?

    1. 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,

      1. 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. 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. 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. 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?

    1. 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…

  46. 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. 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.

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

  48. 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. 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?

  50. 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. 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?!?

    1. 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 🙂

  52. 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. 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. 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

  55. I’m having a time with my chickens. This is my FIRST experience raising chickens. I have a brooder and now, my others are pecking her feathers off of her neck – I’m assuming because they want to lay where my brooder won’t move from. After reading all of this, I have a new mission. Right now I have the brooder separated from the others. Is that good or bad. They are only separated by chicken wire, not completely out of site from each other.

    1. Hi Sheila,
      This is ideal, you want to keep your broody hen separate during this time.
      Let me know how you get on,

  56. Hi. I read your article with interest as I have had a broody hen for three and a half weeks. She is eating very little and not now even very interested in treats. I am going to try frozen veg tomorrow. But how do I force a chicken to eat? I wonder how much longer she can go on like this.

    1. Hi Terry,
      You need to make sure she still eats and has water. If she wont eat you will need to remove her from the nest and then get her to eat something.

      1. Thanks Claire. I have been feeding her with scrambled egg and grated cheese and sometimes yoghurt. At first she would eat from a small pot whilst on top of the coop. I have an omlet cube coop and the girls get on top of this before bedtime. Then she stopped eating from the pot and would only take food from my finger. Now she will eat hardly anything and her crop often feels empty or nearly empty. I have occasionally seen her take a drink but not enough. She does get off the nest and seems to stay off for some time but still will not eat. I put down a two small bowls of porridge made with water for four hens. She had a little the first time but not interested after that. The others were not bullying or pushing her out. I really don’t know how else I can make her eat and drink.

  57. Hi, We have 4 light sussex hens. They are about 6-7 months old. They started laying about 6 weeks ago, laid for a couple of weeks and all 4 went broody. This lasted about 3 weeks. I tried covering the nesting boxes with mesh with no effect. They laid for about 2 weeks and now they are all broody again and have been for the last week. Any ideas please. Thanks

  58. My flock only comes inside the coop at night. One hen has sat up house in a nearby doghouse and she is sitting on at least a dozen eggs. Can I leave her in the unprotected doghouse at night? Should I move her?

    1. Hi Jeff,
      It’s hard to say. If she can stay in the doghouse and you can make it secure, that would be the best solution.

  59. We had one go broody and no rooster, so we bought 2 chicks and placed under her at night. She took to them instantly, and had been Mom of the YEAR to them since then! The guy said NOT to do this as Mom Hen would not nurture and would even kill them, but we had our own broody instinct. ? Adoption works!

  60. Hi all,
    I have 2 of my Pekin bantams that keep going broody. I have shut them both out of their house in the day now so fingers crossed! They aren’t laying on any eggs when they shut themselves away though….is this normal?

  61. If you have a broody hen separated in a dog kennel inside the coop and she successfully hatches chicks- how long should you wait to open the dog kennel door so the new chicks are subjected to the mature flock?

    1. Hi Kassie,
      It can be straight away, just keep an eye on moma hen to make sure she looks after them 🙂

  62. All the suggestions are great our Broody one is in “jail” again we stopped after 2days she was ok. Then went back laid only 1 egg but stayed for 3 days .. She has food and water and we let her out with the 4 others and when we bring everyone to the coop she goes back to her “cell” and has 2 more days. If she is good??

  63. I’ve never tried to cure a hen of broodiness as I’ve always allowed my hens total free range and let nature take it’s course. When I first started keeping hens a farmer friend told me that the way to prevent broodiness is to remove all straw/nest material, tilt the next box (if possible) or put a board in to make the nest site as uncomfortable as possible. Apparently the hen gets fed up of sitting in an uncomfortable position. Another method he suggested is to spray the hen with cold water – not drench her but enough to make he uncomfortable. Supposedly she’ll soon move off the nest. I can’t guarantee these methods as I have never tried them, but I thought some of you might be interested in an old farmers methods

  64. Can you purchase a fertilised egg and then put it under a broody hen. Would it accept it and take it as it’s own. Do you have to separate the mum and baby from the other chickens even if the other chickens can also go broody. Would the chick be accepted or would it be in danger from the other hens.

  65. My girl has been broody for 26 days. What will happen if I don’t break her broody? Will it continue like forever?

    1. Hi Ashley,
      She will eventually break herself, but we’d recommend helping her earlier than this.

  66. I have 2 eight month old hens who started brooding a couple days ago. They sit on top of each other in the same nesting box. I do not have a rooster and am not allowed any more chickens due to city ordinance. My other 2 hens haven’t laid since this started. I’ve looked for hidden nests and haven’t found any. Thank you for the advice. I’m headed to the grocery store for frozen veggies.

  67. Hi Claire,
    We have Production Red hens that have just started laying and 2 of them have gone broody in the last month. I managed to break the first one but, this second one is very stubborn. I may have to resort to the broody cage. :/

  68. My husband and I are new to raising chickens. Our chickens are a little over 9 months old, and believe we have a broody Buff Orpington hen. She won’t leave the nesting box unless I physically lift her out. She never tries to peck at me. When I put her down, several of the other hens, peck at her – and she pecks back. This doesn’t go on long, but it definitely concerns me. Is this normal? As other owners have stated, she eats, drinks, and relieves herself and heads back to the nesting box. Please help! Does anyone else have the problem as we do with the “attacking”? If so, what should we do?

  69. I have got seven girls three of them have gone broody, if I get some fertilised eggs and put them in the cope with all seven girls under the three broody ones will the baby chicks be okay when they hatch with the other girls

  70. new to the whole chicken thing…..we have a hen that is doing this …. we have a rooster as well how do we know if the eggs have been fertilized or not? we are ok with having some baby chicks. we have about 10 hens that are producing eggs. she is the only one that is doing this.

  71. I have 2 blue and black cochins. my oldest one Gizmo was broody last year and I just kept taking her out of the nesting box and locked it everyday, she seemed perfectly fine after as she did eat, drink and dirt bathed. but now my other chicken Stitch has become broody she just started laying eggs a few months ago. so I did the same for her.

  72. I bought 6 chickens last year. 3 of them were very late layers- like a few months after the time I was told they should lay. The other 3 all sisters have never, ever laid. They are big, healthy looking hens, with bright combs and wattles. We are coming into colder weather now, but is there anything I can do, or should be checking? They look healthy in every way. Which is more than I can say for hen number 4/6, who has been broody for neArly a month. Will be trying frozen veggies tonight! So between my 6 beautiful hens I’m getting the occasional 1 egg. Felt pretty silly buying eggs at the. Supermarket yesterday!! Any tips?

  73. balkan therapy:
    grab them by the feet and dunk them head first in a bucket of cold water for a few seconds until soaking wet.
    keep them outside the coop until dry.
    repeat as required, but one treatment is usually sufficient.
    from my great-granny maria, rip

    1. Eeeek….. not head first! I’ve done this way many times and for mine, it sometimes works. But you put the body of the hen immersed in the bucket of cold water, head out of water! For maybe three minutes. The idea is to lower their body temperature. I put them wet, on the roost for overnight.
      Best idea I’ve used, is put the broody hen in my ‘new chicken introduction enclosure’. A pen that is inside my big pen. No nest box only a roost and water/ feed bowls. This way they are still with the other hens around them.

    2. Ever hear of something called DROWNING? That’s cruelty. She can’t hold her nose or beak as it were. If you were dipped UPSIDE DOWN in water it would flood your nose choking you. Why is this such a big deal? If shes eating etc whats the harm? Just another example of humans trying forcing nature

  74. Whoo boy. I have a broody buff orpington. I thought she was egg bound. Treated her accordingly. (Sorry girl:). She laid an egg, took it out like I always do. Still nesting, fluffed up, won’t leave, bate chest area AND…she has kidnapped my wonderful little old english bantam and treats her like her chick. She is imprisoned (by mind control) and now she is staying in nesting box with buffys wing over her. I opened up the outside door of nesting boxes today. Off work tomorrow will try other suggestions. Hope I did not wait too long to break her.
    Also. I read in one of these posts about ‘red nits’? On the coop? I have tiny bugs on my coop, I have diatomaceous earth under straw in coop and put some on the outside but little buggers still there. Way to treat? They are very small.

  75. I wonder if anyone else has had this where broody hen adopts another chicken to lay with her.
    Also – I completely opened up coop so they won’t go in and lay. The thing is all three chickens have, previous to this, taken turns laying their eggs in the same nesting box, now none of them go in. I suppose maybe best thing to do is put Buff into cage and open up boxes for the polish and the bantam. I think the buff might put up quite a fuss.

    1. Try putting eggs in the other nests it usually encourages mine to start laying in other boxes

  76. We have our 3 girls in a chicken tractor. They nest and sleep in the same area so if I close it off, none of the girls can lay..I was home yesterday for a while and had time to close one in for a while to lay, but can’t do this everyday as I will be gone working. Will it hurt the other girls if I just close off the coop to all during the day so she doesn’t stay broody? Will keeping her out all day till night get her to stop brooding?

    1. If you cannot manually remove her from the nest, you can close off the coop but provide a small box with straw somewhere so others can lay somewhere else till her broodiness is broken. Try isolating just the nesting box instead.

  77. I had a chicken that just sit like she had eggs under her,I moved her many times,so another hen layed 5 eggs and got off them and went outside so I picked them up and put them under the sitter she hatched them all and is a great mom to them.i said to the white hen you snooze you lose.lol

  78. Our cochin went broody after just a few eggs, she then stole eggs if one was laid in her box, we bought 6 fertile eggs for her and she bought out 5 chicks. She is now looking after them. What a good mum. Now, how long before we can take her away from them.

  79. I have a couple of broody australiens who have been sitting on eggs for weeks. Today I found two dead chicks under one of them, are they killing the chicks? What should I do?

  80. We got some Easter Eggers this past April and incorporated them into our older flock, who have been loving the chance to sit on some eggs again. They don’t brood, just hog the nests. We had to put some more boxes in to get the new ones to keep laying in the coop and not have to go (literally) Easter egg hunting in the garden every day!
    We did, however, get one of the Eggers who was broody a couple weeks back. She found a planter box in the greenhouse and claimed it as her spot to lay eggs, then after a while went broody. At first we thought we had two chickens roosting outside the coop, as with the cold nights I’d have to move her to the coop every night and shut the door, then the next morning we’d have a hen out! Then one evening I moved her before it was as entirely dark, and she showed me where she was slipping out a loose spot in the chicken wire! After closing up that spot and some potential others, forcing her to roost in the coop broke her after just a couple days.

  81. I have a Plymouth girl and she was broody and I didn’t know, coicidently it was a 40 degrees Celsius and I thought she was sick and over heating so I put her on a tub of water and while she was there I called a friend who told me she could be broody and gave me this webpage to have a quick look.
    I then took her out the coop for a few ours that day till my partner got home, he went straight to nesting box and we decided to borrow a roster from my neighbor. He also gave us one of his eggs and I placed the egg in the next nesting box after a few minutes I noticed she was trying to push the egg over to her side so I took the egg and put it on her side. Today I went to work and when I got back she was out of the nest… What shall I do?
    does it means she isn’t broody any longer and I should return the roster? And why did that happened? Any clue so I can be more aware the next time?

  82. My buff Orpington is all puffed up and not coming out, but it’s 20 degrees out. Could she be broody in winter. They were born in May. New coop.

  83. really good article – but i have to say that we got four young pullets about three months agi and they started laying about a month ago They are all Australorps. Just over a week ago one of them turned really broody. All the feather plucking, puffball shaping, cluck cluck swearing at me even flying on top of the coop way up high to try find a way inside.We are having a heatwave and I have been steadfastly busting her broodiness every day locking her out of the coop and making her roost with the others at night. She got really mad at me but finally gave in today. I hope she stays like that and starts laying again soon You said the young ones don’t go broody but this girl is a real exception to that statement!

  84. I have a Easter egger hen that’s been broody since day one she’s had two sets of baby’s but out of no ware she’s stopped and is now laying one egg a day and just leaving it ,and her and my rooster haven’t mated in a while

  85. To anyone struggling with super stubborn hens, I have buff Orpingtons who will kill themselves trying to brood. I don’t have a rooster, so they have no chance of getting chicks. I have tried numerous methods to break them of brooding, but mine are exceptionally stubborn. I ran across a random suggestion (that I didn’t see here but may have missed) one keeper had that she would play YouTube videos of chicks to break her hens. I thought, initially, how stupid that won’t work.
    Then I thought some more.
    So I went outside, brought up a long video of chicks cheeping on YouTube, and just let it play.
    IMMEDIATE reaction from the hens that were brooding, and had been brooding for WEEKS despite my efforts to break them. All three got up to “find” the chicks and it was light a switch was flipped. They looked around the yard like they had never seen it before, but one by one they started doing their normal chicken things again. One chicken went back to the nest that night, but I just played the video the next day and that was that for her. I guess they figured their chicks “hatched” so there was no need to set anymore.
    What works for some may not work for others, but I just thought I would share this tidbit if anyone hadn’t seen it before. I had searched for days for new techniques to break my hens and found the answer in a random comment, not even in an actual article. If I missed it above, apologies!

  86. Since I’m out in the co-op every day, I simply remove all of the eggs. You can’t hatch what you don’t have!

  87. I have an Easter Egger who is broody & another hen seems to have followed her broodiness. Forcthe past 2 days I have shut all the hens out of the coop (I only have 8 hens) & the other hens have found the outside nesting boxes, but one one hen will lay eggs in it. As soon as I open the coop door in the evening, the brooding hens go in. I gather the eggs often, but I’m guessing some lay at night. I don’t want to cage them & they need the coop so the predators can’t get to them. Please help. I’m at a loss. I’ve tried everything posted, except the cage. This has been going on for a month. Thank you!!

  88. Our Buff Orpington has been broody twice this Spring. She has a super strong instinct and will not leave her nest to eat or relieve herself unless physically taken away from the nest and locked out of the coop. We’ve tried just about everything to break her to no avail and you can really tell it’s affecting her health. Any advice?

  89. Hello, I haven’t had chickens before and we would like to get some soon. We were thinking of Sikies as they get on well with humans (I would like to be able to pet/stroke them!) However, my family and I really don’t want to deal with a chicken continuously broody. Has anybody got any chicken breed recommendations that likes to be around humans and get stroked but doesn’t go brooder that frequently? Thanks, Sophie-jane.

  90. One of my hybrids Bellatrix (Dominant Blue D-107 ( Bluebelle)
    Cross between paternal Blue Plymouth Rock stock with Barred Plymouth Rock hens.) Has gone broody after only 3 weeks of laying! My other coloured hybrid Aurora (Dominant Black D-109 ( Black Rock )
    Cross between paternal Rhode Island Red stock and Barred Plymouth Rock hens.) Lays every day! She just goes in to the nest box beside Bellatrix and lays! I’ve been lifting Bellatrix out, messing up the nest box and flooding the coop with it only being opened for aurora to lay but she seems to run back in as soon as it’s open! We’ve had a few wet, colder days and she’s still not snapping out of it! My silkies Luna and Stevie haven’t started to lay yet so I’m down to 1 egg a day which isn’t ideal. I’ve only had them 6 weeks! I’ll try the frozen veg

  91. Hi Claire, I’m having a terrible time getting my little ladies to roost at night! All they want to do is huddle together in a corner. From all I’ve read, the roosts are of the correct composition and height. Have gone out after dark to place them up on the roost. I get one up and while I’m trying to grab the next one , the first one hops down! By the time I’ve done this a few times, all 6 are wide awake and very indignant. They’re calling me names, Claire!! We’re about a month away from our 1st egg. When we put the nests in I’m afraid they’ll turn their collective noses up at them in favor of the floor in a corner. Please help!

    1. I had same problem when we put our first ever batch of ten chicks out at 3 weeks old. After playing in clean coop and run all day, I thought they would be exhausted and go to bed. NOPE! They had no concept of sleeping in it, and while we had low “practice roosts”, the sleeping platform is high up in a “loft” with a ladder. A bit much to negotiate for young chicks. But I wasn’t worried about that, I just wanted them to go in there. Probably the first week I caught each one and put in coop, closing door behind me. Once inside they went to a screened in window to watch siblings getting chased around, and cheer them on. I’ve read several times to properly tame them and be allowed to handle them, never catch or chase them as surprise. But I didn’t know what else to do. There will be a leader, or “Queen,” usually first one to decide things. Once she goes in on her own, the rest follow after some discussions. If you know who she is, just training her first to go in coop might help, if she cooperates and calls the rest.
      At this point, I was happy when I didn’t have to chicken wrangle each night. They piled on top of each other behind screened in window like a pack of puppies, where my husband and I lost sleep watching them sleep!? At first we thought they would smother and crush each other, but they survived.
      Once we got the “entering sleeping in coop” part, I worked on getting up! In loft. Make sure you use same word just like dogs. Mine was “Up Up Up!” In happy voice. I can attest chickens can be trained. I started by putting Queen hen in loft, where she would examine entire loft, talk to grounded chicks “Watch this I’m gonna jump? Fly?” and jump off loft into deep shavings so they had ample cushion. So, they quickly learned the fun part jumping down, so I had to put them up in loft so they could practice jumping. But the Queen I would put halfway on latter facing up, and kind of be there if she got freaky. So she practiced climbing on her own once she had confidence, and the rest practiced high jumping from the loft, and started practicing the ladder. It probably took a month, and they just instinctively wanted to sleep high up. Once Roo matured he would call them to bed and flock would follow him and Queen. Much harder to train a Roo than a hen, as they are so preoccupied with hens they can’t focus. My Serama Roos are trained, but they are bred to love people.
      I hope this long step by step post helped. Any time you train anything, human or not, break it into small steps and set them up so they have no choice but to succeed. Yesterday we put a hen we had inside recovering from “Water Belly”, back outside into our “Sick Bay” pen, with two others there to grow feathers from Roo’s services. Another hen started to pick on her, and I watched my husband berate and talk to her clearly in unapproving tone. She studied him, looked back at new hen, (deciding) and opted to scratch around and leave new Hen, her sibling, alone. Pretty pretty pretty good. Don’t let anyone tell ya chickens are stupid, or call your kids “Bird Brain” as insult. It’s a compliment.
      Have you been entertained by the piano playing hen on You Tube? Mine can play a little.

  92. Hi. I have a Rhode Island Red. She is broody and sat on 4 fertilised eggs. Sadly only one hatched but died. She moved her eggs at one point, maybe that’s a factor.
    She’s still broody. I am going to incubate some eggs but also thought of putting some more under her. She gets up to eat, drink and dust bath however I’m worried about her on going health x

  93. Hi. I have a Rhode Island Red. She is broody and sat on 4 fertilised eggs. Sadly only one hatched but died. She moved her eggs at one point, maybe that’s a factor.
    She’s still broody. I am going to incubate some eggs but also thought of putting some more under her. She gets up to eat, drink and dust bath however I’m worried about her on going health, what would you advice be? Thanks

  94. I was gone on vacation for 8 days and the person watching my animals failed to get the eggs out of the box so when I returned I had 9 eggs that a hen had been laying on. I took them all out as we do not want anymore chicks. I did not think they were fertile but come to find out 7 of them did have babies forming in them. I was upset of course! She has been acting broody for a while I just always take her eggs each day but now after taking those fertile eggs all my hens have seemed to stop laying?? Any suggestions or just wait it out??

  95. Thanks so much for your site. I have a hen that has outlived the other 6 she started off with. She has become broody and doesn’t want to leave the nest. With or without an egg. I go out to spend time with her but I fear she is lonely and simply wants to try to create new chickens to be with. I fear that she would not adjust to another chicken placed with her at this point…but, trying to find another hen to be with her is difficult. I put a stuffed chicken into the coop and she sleeps next to it until she becomes broody again. I have blocked the route to the nest and she gets up and eats and chases bugs and eats and drinks…but she is ever so lonely.

  96. Hi I have a broody silkie who has been sitting for 20 days ..im fairly sure her eggs are duds though we do have 2 roosters I have candles them and they don’t seem to be fertile….what would happen if inout fertile eggs under her now at day 20 of her sitting ????

  97. Oh my goodness… I have a Silikie that I swear is permanently broody! I have a question – is it okay to let her hatch 1 egg? (assuming it’s fertile)…. I haven’t ventured into any type of egg incubating (way too intimidating for this fairly new chicken lover) and have only gotten baby chicks to incorporate into the flock (which is a major pain and definitely keeps “chicken math” from being an issue LOL).

  98. Hi. I have a chicken of unknown origin, when I opened the garage one day, there she is went inside, very friendly and petite. I tried to let her back out but she won’t. Neighbors said they saw her walking with a pigeon until cats tried to get her. Now I am scared to let her go as cats are roaming around and might just end up as dinner to them.

    So I decided to create a chicken coop for her and after a week she started laying eggs, the first one was of medium sized egg, then the next 5 were the size of a small marble, then the next 7 were back to the same size as the first one. Since I did not know if the eggs are fertilized I did not take the eggs.

    Now she is brooding and been there for 4 days now. I believe the eggs are not fertilized but there is always that hope that they are. I heard about putting them against a candle light but too late now as she won’t even let us near her, tried to bite me twice.

    What should we do?

  99. When Spring is in full swing, your hens’ egg production has picked up, their appetites are good, and the sun is shining, you may notice a few hens going broody. Broodiness is triggered by hormones, daylight, and the availability of eggs to sit on. What does this mean to you as a chicken keeper? It means you may need to get involved and change your hen’s behavior.

  100. I have two hardened broodies. They’ve both been in chicken jail several times for up to a week each. When I returned them to the flock, they stopped their broodiness for maybe two to three weeks only to return to broody status once again. I’ve run out of ideas because chicken jail seems to be the last resort (except for letting them stay broody for 21 days) and even that isn’t working. Are there any other alternatives that I can try?

  101. Thanks for the helpful post.
    We had a broody hen that was very dedicated, sat on her eggs – non-fertile for two weeks, then bought fertile ones for over 3 weeks – but they didn’t hatch for some reason. We just took her off the nest and put her with the other chickens, but is there a chance that she is still broody enough to be put back on her nest?? Then we could introduce some day old chicks to her. We really don’t want to miss the chance of raising chicks and have everything set up. Do you think she’ll adopt them?

  102. Broody hens will generally stop laying once they ve laid a clutch of eggs to sit on. Make sure you collect all of their eggs at least once or twice a day, and try to lure them out with treats if you find them spending too much time in the nest.

  103. Hello! We have 2 buff Orpington and two rock barre, one of the buff Orpington‘s went broody, and moving her from the nesting box did no good (tried that for a couple of days), so I started closing off the coop during the day after the hens had laid their eggs in an effort to break her. Now one of the rock bars runs around pecking her, And her feet now have blood stain… Should I just put her in the separate broody buster dog crate at this point? Do you think the other chickens will stop pecking her when it’s all done?

  104. Great post! I have a broody hen myself and I’m finding it difficult to get her to stop sitting on her eggs. She’s been sitting for weeks now and I’m worried she’s going to wear herself out. Any suggestions on how to get her to take a break would be greatly appreciated!

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