How to stop a Broody Hen

Frequently Asked Questions on Keeping Chickens
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Tim
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How to stop a Broody Hen

Post by Tim » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:10 pm

This FAQ gives ideas on how to stop a hen being broody.

Sometimes a hen is discouraged easily, sometimes there is just no stopping her but trying some of these things may well help to snap her out of it.

A hen can become broody and want to sit on eggs, refusing to get off the nest whilst clucking / pecking if you try to remove her. This usually happens during the spring and summer months. Some breeds of chicken will go broody far more often than others. Some hens don't go broody at all, these are usually pure breeds or hybrids that are good egg layers, producing large numbers of eggs every year. Broodiness has basically been bred out of these birds because when a hen goes broody, she will stop laying eggs which is undesirable in good egg layers.

The longer a hen sits, the longer she is likely to remain broody. Here are some ideas:
  • Shut her out of the hen house all together during the day. Put her in a run near the rest of the flock where she can't get comfy and sit. At night, place her on a perch (if your chickens use them) and don't let her go to roost in the nest boxes.
  • Hang a cage up inside the house with a bare floor and place her in it so she is confined and cannot sit comfortably. Don't forget food and water.
  • Put her into a run with an active cockerel. Shut the house. He will usually be very pleased to see a new hen and will spend half the day running around after her. Make sure he doesn't attack her, causing damage, sometimes cockerels will not accept a strange hen, sometimes they will be pleased to see any hen.
  • Dip her lower half into cold water. She will not sit with wet feathers. Sometimes this cools them off, giving them enough of a distraction whilst druying off and preening to forget about the nest.
Further Reading

- Article on the poultrykeeper.com site -How can I stop a broody hen
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