What to do with a Broody Hen?
If you are raising laying hens, at some point you may have to deal with broodiness. Broodiness is when a hen will sit on her eggs and try to hatch some chicks. This is great if you want to expand your flock, but it is a problem if you don’t. The downside of the broodiness is that the hen will not produce any eggs during this time, and it can take a toll on her physically as she will sit in the nest for most of the, only coming out every now and again to eat and poo. So, if you do not have a rooster, then the eggs will not be fertilized, so you really don’t want your hens being broody.
What are the signs of a broody hen?
She will tend to puff up her feathers, and of course she will spend most of the day in the nest on her eggs. She will also tend to be irritable, and more aggressive in her pecking.
How do I discourage broodiness?
- Don’t let eggs accumulate in the nest.
- Kick her out of the nest. This will have to be done multiple times a day.
- Quarantine her in a dog cage without any nesting material, and hang up the cage so she cannot nest at all.
- Give her a cold water bath. Put her in a bucket of cold water for ten seconds or so. This will lower her body temperature, which can stop the broodiness.
- Raise non-broody breeds. Some common breeds that rarely brood include Leghorns, Rhode Island Whites, Sebrights, and hybrid layers. Some common breeds that may brood include Rhode Island Reds, and Wyandottes.