Is My Hen Broody

Is My Chicken Broody?

Chicken just keeps sitting in the nest box
Chicken has stopped perching at night
Chicken has stooped eating and just sits around all day
Chicken keeps pecking me when I try to collect the eggs
Chicken is loosing feathers off her breast
Chickens feathers are all fluffed up and standing on end
Chicken is making funny clucking noises
Chicken won't let others into nest box
Chicken walks around with wings dropped and tail spread
Chicken makes growling sort of noise when I go by nest box
Chicken has stopped laying and just sits in same place all day

If one of your chickens is doing any or all of the above its possible she is going to, or already has gone broody.

This is a post from a lady

I hope you dont' mind my asking a basic question but can a hen lay an egg and still be egg bound? I have a hen here that's been acting strange lately. She puffs up a lot and makes weird sounds. I don't think she layed an egg yesterday. I just went into the yard to look for her and she was sitting in the nesting box. She puffed up when I opened the door and I went out a while later to get her to bring her in to look at her and feel for swelling. When I lifted her there were 2 egs in the nesting box. I only have 2 hens so I know one was hers but she is still acting strangely. I held her and she had one wing stretched out and when I set her down she puffed up and made the strange noise again. Sorry for the long ramble but I guess I would like to know if she can pass an egg and still have one bound in her. What else could this be a symptom of. could she be broody? Again, these are my first hens and they are just a year old.  - This is a bird which is obviously broody!

Hens are more likely to go broody than pullets, but both can go broody at any time, though warm weather and early summer onwards are the most likely times.

If you leave quantites of eggs in the nesting boxes it will tend to encourage broodiness as the birds think there are sufficient eggs to make a clutch, but even if all the eggs are collected regularly, once a bird has decided to go broody it will do so even if it means sitting on nothing for around 5 weeks or more.

There are various recommended methods of breaking a broody of wanting to sit, ( I will list them below if you want to try them) but in my experience once they have come back on lay they will simply lay enough eggs for another clutch then sit again.

The best way to encourage a broody back into lay is to put her in a pen of some sort on her own, preferably one of the wire dog cages put up on 4 bricks so when she sits she cannot warm the area up, if possible where the other birds can still see her but sheltered from the weather.

There is no quick fix, but if you can catch her as early as possible it will help. It generally takes around 3-6 days before she snaps out of her broodiness, and then may be 2 weeks before she starts laying again. In my experience she will often just lay enough for another clutch and then sit again. But in any case she will need some TLC and plenty of good food and fresh greens to start her laying cycle once more.

Another good way is putting a broody in with a strange cockerel preferably a young one, and especially if they are alone together. This will often bring her into lay, but once again she will probably just lay enough for a good clutch and sit again, this time guarded by the proud father. (Hens have feelings too - humans aren't the only animals which can experience emotions. Just watch a flock the day after a fox attack, or see your cockerel discussing possible nesting sites with one of his partners, and trying the various options out for size and suitability)

For more about the Care of Broody Hens click here.....

Methods often used to break a broody hen - though I don't recommend them....

-The most common is to dip the hen in cold water. This is suggested as a "remedy" to "cool the hen down" I think that the shock of being caught and the stangeness of it is the real trigger. And it will probably work whilst the hen is wet, and maybe if it is a non-brooding breed (which would have possibly given up of its own accord after a few days) then that might be a sufficient discouragement.

-Leaving the hen without food or water - THIS SHOULD NOT BE DONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES it is cruel, and yes it may stop broodiness, but at the expense of the hen

-Penning the hen in a cold draughty place - again I feel this is unkind and uneccessary. Instead use the method at the top of this section

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