View Full Version : broody hen- what to do?

Jul. 12, 2012, 11:47 PM
Looks like I got one of my hens sitting on the eggs. She's in a coop with one Rooster and 8 other hens. Any advice? Should I try to separate her from the other chickens? She just started being broody today. Think I'll get babies?

Jul. 13, 2012, 07:46 AM
If you want chicks- let her set and in 3 weeks, she will be the happiest mama hen! If you don't want chicks, just pick her up a couple times a day, set her in front of the food/water so that she eats, and repeat the process until she gives up. We have silkies (notorious brooders) and it usually takes a few days of "disturbing" them from their eggs, but they eventually give up. If you're going to let her hatch the eggs, we have never separated ours from the others. Everyone free ranges together and the mother hens take on a whole new type of aggression when they have a flock of little ones around them.

Jul. 13, 2012, 09:51 AM
If you want to hatch out little babies, then let her set them (and that is if she decides to go all the way with it). I, personally, would seperate her.

Jul. 13, 2012, 09:59 AM
Looks like I got one of my hens sitting on the eggs. She's in a coop with one Rooster and 8 other hens. Any advice? Should I try to separate her from the other chickens? She just started being broody today. Think I'll get babies?

Definitely separate her. If not, the other hens will climb on top of her and lay in her box and possibly break the eggs. I let 6 hens brood eggs this year and I had chicks from all of them, so as long as your rooster is taking care of his business, I would bet you get chicks.

Jul. 13, 2012, 10:05 AM
My only experience with a broody hen was a notoriously NOT Known to Brood Houdan.
She went 3 months gluing herself to a nestbox and screeching like a banshee when I took her off.
She'd eat, drink, then run right back to the box.
And she was sitting on nothing!
Not the other hen's eggs, and not her own. I gathered whatever was laid daily. And since I had no rooster, she was destined to fail.

I got desperate in Month #3 and got 2 day-old chicks from a friend thinking to sneak them under her, hoping they'd get adopted.

Of course I left town on a Friday when she was still crazed, picked up the chicks and got home on Sunday.....
To find Ms MamaWannabe all "Um, NTYVM, no chicks for me" :rolleyes:

So I got to be Mamahen, raised the chicks in a 10gal aquarium inside the coop, graduated them to a 30gal then introduced them and all lived happily ever after.
Including Chick#2 who is now my rooster :mad:

Moral of the Story:
Only get sexlinked chicks!

Jul. 13, 2012, 10:26 AM
Congrats! :) I love broodies! If you want chicks let her sit but DEFINITELY separate her. The other hens will keep giving her eggs and may break the ones she's got but worse they will likely kill the chicks when they hatch. If the hens don't the rooster probably will. Move her in the middle of the night as quickly as possible or if possible fence off the area where she's sitting. Give her easy access to food and water and let her do her thing. I like to give them room to get up and move around/dust bathe when they want. They will get up from time to time but the eggs will be fine, those girls know what they're doing. In about 21 days if everything goes well you'll have babies :)

If you don't want babies you have to take the eggs and pull her off the nest until you break her of her broodiness. It helps to block her from the area where she wants to sit. Usually with persistence you can break them but some are stubborn so you have to keep on them constantly.

Jul. 13, 2012, 10:39 AM
I just had a hen go broody. I tried leaving her in with the others and they kept crawling over her and laying eggs in the nest ( i marked the original ones so i could tell difference) and breaking the developing eggs. Then I separated her with a new clutch of eggs and over three weeks she managed to break all of them on her own...at the end of the 5th week of setting, coinciding with the breaking of the last egg..I bought day old chicks and set them under her at night. It was love at first sight. She was such a good mama. A week later I received an order of chicks in the mail that I had ordered way back in January...just for kicks I decided to take them down to her to see if she'd accept them and she did. She successfully raised 13 chicks, 6 from the first batch, 7 from the second. I kept her and the chicks separate (a cage within the pen..so visually with the flock) for the first two weeks, then let them out with the flock and there was NO aggression from my other hens or rooster. Anyone that even got CLOSE to those babies got a screaming dose of enraged mama hen. They kept their distance. ;)

Jul. 14, 2012, 01:13 AM
Oh geez, ended up being a false alarm! I thought it was for reals when I was feeding treats to the rest of the flock and she didn't move. Well maybe another time.

Jul. 17, 2012, 09:06 AM
Well now she is committed to sitting on the eggs. She won't move. I think she want's to be a mama. Or play one on TV.

Jul. 17, 2012, 12:18 PM
I wondered if we might get an update like this :) Chickens collect eggs before they sit so that all the chicks hatch around the same time. As a result they'll show signs of broodiness before they actually get serious. Good luck with your girl, I hope you get some cute chickies!

Jul. 17, 2012, 10:55 PM
She's still playin' mama hen. Has a glazed look to her eyes. I can't move her since I am going away for the weekend and I want to keep an eye on her once I move her. I really don't want more chickens so if I get chicks I suppose I will have to put them up for adoption (perhaps keeping the cutest one- who with my luck would turn out to be a rooster. At what age can you determine gender on non-sex linked chickens?

Jul. 18, 2012, 10:48 AM
At what age can you determine gender on non-sex linked chickens?

Around 3-4 months start eyeballing for an upright posture, thicker legs and slightly more comb development.
As they feather out fully, roosters will have more hackle feathers (the "cape" on their shoulders) and develop an arching tail.
However, some pullets can get the tailfeather thing going on too so that is not a sure sign of impending he-ness.

If you don't want chicks just remove the eggs your broody hen is sitting on daily and ask whoever is looking after your hens this weekend to do the same.

Jul. 18, 2012, 11:06 AM
This article is wonderful http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html

She sounds broody, broody hens get up to eat and poop. We had several hens go broody this summer and have hatched out 35 or so chicks. I wish I had read that article first because we wouldn't have wasted our good layers sitting on nonviable eggs.

So mark the eggs, finetipped sharpie or thick pencil is fine (because other hens will lay in there when Miss Broody gets up to poop)

Write down the dates she started sitting, eggs start developing when the hens starts sitting on them

best to separate broody hens from rest of flock, if she is determined to sit you can put her on a new nest (with golf balls or something to make sure you didn't break the brood)then collect a couple days worth of eggs to place under her.

candle the eggs halfway through to make sure they are developing and remove any dead ones.

I love chicks! I am thinking of keeping some Silkies as my "brood squad" for next year.

Jul. 18, 2012, 06:54 PM
This time of year you should have no trouble finding the chickies new homes. An ad on CL or Backyard Chickens should find them a new home pretty quick.

As far as gender, I can usually tell around 4 weeks with everybody but the Silkies. Silkies usually take 3+ months to tell... Often I don't know until they crow. All other breeds usually show slightly larger and more red combs by 4 or 5 weeks. My favorite chicks always seem to end up being roosters, which is why I have 5 of them right now :rolleyes:

Jul. 19, 2012, 02:09 PM
She's sitting on 12 eggs. I marked them all yesterday. She sure keeps them warm!!! After this weekend, I'm going to move her and the eggs (and check to see if there are any ones that should be discarded).
Thanks dangerbunny for the great article. She started sitting on the eggs on July 12 so maybe there will be babies on August 1 or 2? Only problem being I am not sure which eggs are from July 12 and which might have been 'added later." I should have marked all the eggs she had under her when she first started sitting on them. Oh well, live and learn.