When a Broody Hen Won't Stop Being Broody


broody hen 

Broody hens. If you only want eggs from your birds, sometimes maternal hens are nothing more than a literal pain, pecking at your hands as you try to retrieve the goods. But if you want chicks, broody hens are absolutely necessary. 

So what do you do when you have a broody hen who doesn’t want to stop being broody?  

I was recently asked this question from a reader regarding her broody chicken:   

“Will a hen stop sitting on eggs if they are not going to hatch? I have a hen that hatched out two chicks a week ago but she continues to sit on four other eggs. I'm just curious how long she will stay on them.”

This was my reply:

8/21/2013 4:49:21 PM

If you have a hen going broody & you don't want her to, the best way is the old timey method of dunking her. Ever heard of "mad as a wet hen"? Dunk her bottom half in very cool water, make sure the water saturates the feathers on her belly, then take away the eggs she was sitting on. You may have to repeat this a time or two. If this doesn't work, confine her to a cage (a large dog kennel works) with NO bedding or nest. I use my wire bottom rabbit hutch. You want a wire bottom so her belly is exposed to the air when she sits. Make sure she has food and water. After a few days, let her out with the rest & she should be cured! This works by cooling down her body temp. Broodiness is tied to a higher body temp. I broke up one of my cross breeds this summer after 3 sets of fertile eggs exploded under her. The temps (105+ and 98* humidity) were just too much to hatch eggs well and I had no room to bring her inside. Hopefully she'll pick a better time to go broody next year!

6/18/2013 3:04:14 AM

Oh Boy, Been there ~ done that! We have a Black Orp that thought she was going to turn the coop into her own maternity ward. She wasn't eating or drinking so we made her go out in the run until we seen her drink and then started feeding her scrambled eggs, oatmeal, extra mealworms off the nest and out of the run with the rest of the girls free ranging and then the rabbit cage came, we put her in the cage with crumble and water only and of course she had a cackle fit. Every day we lengthened her time until she tolerated at least 2 hours and put a board on the nest boxes after they all laid their eggs and a week later she was done. Best of luck with your girl!!

Mary Carton
6/16/2013 2:50:54 AM

We had an old hen no longer laying who kept adopting babies. One year we had some chicks in a brooder and she kept hanging around pecking on the g round and calling them. The next year we had baby turkeys and she adopted those. The next year baby ducks. She about had a heart attack whenever they went into water.

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