We have 6 super friendly chickens- 4 Golden Comets & 2 Speckled Sussex. About a year old now. They've been great up until last week, when one of the SS hens went broody. Oye.
We don't have a rooster. When we get home from work, we let the chickens out of the coop and pen, & lock them out for a few hours. On weekends, same thing all day. We kick miss broody out. She doesn't want to be with the other chickens, just wants to get back in the coop. She would sit on the nest all day if we let her. When we're at work, we close the door to the coop so she can only be in the pen. She does the typical puffing of her feathers, and growling. Luckily, she still eats & drinks fine.
Any tips of breaking her of her broodiness? I collect the eggs everyday. I've heard of ice cubes in the nest, but she shares the nesting boxes (we have 3) with 5 other chickens.
TIA for any advice! I just want her to be happy again, lol.
Been there done that with my broody hen.
You want her to be happy? Then let her do what her instincts tell her to do. She won't die - she is "meant" to do it. Mark it on your calendar - she likely will not sit more then 3-4 weeks. If she is getting up to sneak a snack, that is really all she needs. She won't lay eggs during this time, and she won't care if she is sitting on an empty nest or one filled with eggs.
Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.
Get some fertilized eggs and let her hatch them out if you want her to be happy. I had a Silkie hen that went broody, she hatched out two very adorable chicks and hasn't gone broody since. It was quite the experience watching her roll her eggs, listen to the chicks peep inside the egg, her teaching them about food and water. A really fun experience that I'm glad I did. Good luck!
Great timing - I just did a search on broody chickens for myself and saw ya'll were already on it ! I have a Black Jersey Giant who is driving me crazy with this. She is the only one of our four girls (no rooster) who does this and has done it previously. We have multiple nest boxes but our girls prefer a nest in the hay they have made and all share. Unfortunately "Oprah" is hogging this spot and the others have dropped off production or lay in really weird places like the floor ! I have tried ice cubes under her in a ziploc bag but she just sat on it until they melted. What finally worked last summer was a dunk in a muck tub of ICE water, regular temp water had no effect. This seemed to shock her out of her warm mommy feelings. Would love to hear what else has worked for other chicken owners.
We have more than a few hens whose mommy switches get flipped each year...we've got one Buff Orp who will hatch out several batches of chicks. Her eggs are big and giant so when she goes "off line" production wise, we don't miss it too much.
I'd say get some fertilized eggs and hatch out babies. It comes w/pros and cons...what to do w/babies, making sure snakes can't access the new baby chick buffet, etc. But if you've never done it, go for it.
If the bags of ice aren't working, see if you can borrow a wire/hardware cloth cage. It has to be open wire on the bottom. Then put your bird in it and hang it. It requires you to be able to hang food & water cups but the cool air circulating 24/7 keeps things, well, cool. It doesn't work for all of them...some of the old girls are just bound and determined. You can also try just separating her out from the flock into a separate cage, dog crate, etc. and see if that will flip the switch back.
Last year we had 7 broody hens at once. I thought I was going to loose my mind! 3 of them insisted on being in the same box no matter what we did. They were setting fertile eggs...it was a nightmare. While I'm sure we'll let a couple of our great mommas hatch some babies this year, it will be MUCH more managed. No repeats of last year for us.
Finzean, you reminded me, a friend of mine had several go broody at a time, she came in one day to find a STACK of four hens, all insisting on being in the same box, with the one on the bottom almost suffocated ! This is not a bright species !
Mark it on your calendar - she likely will not sit more then 3-4 weeks.
My Houdan (not a breed noted for broodiness) sat for 3 months! Screamed like a banshee if I took her off the nest and ran back as fast as she could.
She was losing some serious weight and I was near wit's end when she snapped out of it.
She chose to do this the weekend I returned from an overnight trip with 2 day-old chicks for her to set on.
2 day-old chicks I ended up having to foster.
1 of whom turned into the handsomest, yet meanest SOB of a rooster E.V.E.R
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Thanks for the tips! I don't know about hatching out chicks. I'd have to see if I can find a place to take the babies because our coop isn't set-up size wise for more than 6 chickens.
I might look into separating her in a wire cage with food & water to see if that helps. I don't care that she's not laying, but I don't want her to be like this for ages, since we're already going on a couple weeks now!
When one of my hens went broody, I got out one of my small, wire dog crates (used for Norwich Terriers when I owned and showed them). The hen house was a bit larger than a normal one (it was a converted children's play house on 16" legs). I opened the hen house door, placed the crate inside on bricks under each corner of the crate, added a sheet of smaller wire on the floor of the crate so hen's feet wouldn't fall through, put her feed and water in the crate, and left her in there with the hen house door open during the day. The air flowing through the space under the crate (the bricks raised the crate off the floor of the hen house about 3 or 4 inches) did the trick. Said hen finished being broody within 3 days. I have to admit, though, that she did go broody 2 more times that season, but, by using the crate, her broodiness lasted only 3 days each time. So, all in all, she was out of commission for about 9 days total.
Last edited by RutlandH2O; Apr. 23, 2013 at 08:40 AM.