How to Deal with a Broody Hen
One of our chickens has been terribly broody over the past week. When a chicken goes broody her pituitary gland releases a hormone that causes her to stop laying. Her motherly instinct spurred by the increased day length will cause her to sit on eggs until she has chicks. Sometimes, you can kick her out of the nest, and she will get the point and stop being broody. I’ve been kicking our chicken out of the nest daily, but she was still broody. The problem with letting her continue her broodiness is that she won’t lay, she won’t eat, and she’ll take up valuable nesting box space. This problem has resulted in chickens laying on the floor of the coop. You can also keep her out of the nest, move her to different housing, and try not to let eggs accumulate in the nests. If none of these options work, there is one more invasive option.
We were forced to move the hen away from the flock into a rabbit hutch. A rabbit hutch is a perfect broody box. It is the opposite of what she would want for her next. It has air flow underneath and no bedding. Did I say no bedding? Yes it is important to have a wire floor up high so air flow can be underneath. Also, make sure she has feed and water. This option will usually break her of her broodiness in 1-3 days depending how long she had been broody. The longer she had been, the longer it takes. A very determined hen may starve to death rather than stop her broodiness.
Reference: Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Gail Damerow