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 Exactly Is a Broody Hen and How to Stop It

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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HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

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 of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

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.

222 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?
      Claire

    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.
      Claire

    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.
      Claire

      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 🙂
      Claire

      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…
      Claire

    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?
      Claire

      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,
          Claire

        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,
      Claire

  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?
      Claire

  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!
      Claire

  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.
      Claire

    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?
      Claire

  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!
      Claire

  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!
      Claire

    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!
      Claire

  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 🙂
      Claire

  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 🙂
      Claire

      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,
      Claire

      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?
    thanks.

    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 🙂
      Claire

  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.