So, after trying to [stop a chicken from going broody](http://green-change.com/2009/01/07/broody-chicken/) several times throughout last year, now I want her to go broody and she won’t!
Late last year we got some new chickens – 4 brahma pullets and a rooster to match. We also acquired 3 unwanted ISA brown layers from a friend. So with the rooster making all the eggs fertile (yes, I’ve actually witnessed that he’s “doing the job”!), we’d now like to raise a batch of chicks. But nobody wants to sit on the eggs.
Isn’t it always the way?
If you have any tips on how to encourage a hen to go broody, please post them below! Thanks!
Update: Here’s a summary of the tips I found for making a hen go broody.
No idea – but will be watching for an answer. Good question. I’m imagining it may not be possible? Or stop collecting eggs for a while and maybe a chook will decide to sit on them?
Nice to see you back blogging.
Sorry don’t have any tips for you. ITs always the way. I have two broody pekins that your quite welcome to use if u want to…
LIttle buggers have been broody for weeks.. LOL..
Avian Aqua Miser
In my (limited) experience, some hens are just more prone to going broody than others. We have a white cochin who went broody last spring and tried to sit on eggs all summer until we finally gave in and let her around Thanksgiving. (And then she killed the ones she hatched because they were from a friend and were black instead of white like her!) In contrast, our golden comets never show the slightest sign of broodiness — you might have gotten unlucky/lucky with un-broody varieties.
That said, I remember reading a letter to the editor in Backyard Poultry Magazine a year or so ago from a young girl who got her hen to go broody by making it an enclosed nestbox that was covered with tarpaper or something to make it dark inside. She shut the hen in for 24 hours, only letting it out for a few minutes a day to eat and drink. Within a few days, the hen was broody.
Thanks all for the replies. I know this hen is prone to going broody (she did so several times last year!), and I was hoping to find a way to encourage her to do so again. I did manage it in the end – stay tuned for an update post shortly!
Most of the time the hen will go broody when it’s slowing down in laying, if it shows no signs during it’s second season, it may not brood.
Also, when a hen is still laying, try to grab an egg out from under her. Even if she’s not Broody, if she growls, or pecks or pants and trys to keep you away, Ive learned they have a tendency towards broodiness.
Also seperate her from the others, they will sit on the eggs and confuse her. Give her a cool dark place with food and water close by.
@Michael: Good tips – thanks for sharing!
But your hen in a smaller area around food water and a clutch of eggs for a couple days or a week. This should encourage her to go broody and to sit on the clutch. Also if you have a hen with chicks already this may encourage other hens to go broody as well.
@Sheen (not Charlie, I assume?!): Yes, I’ve also found that one broody hen or a hen with chicks can encourage others to go broody. Good tips, thanks.
I am going to try these tips on one of my hens as last year I had a hen that went broody a few times and hatched out a couple batches until one time she decided she would get a drink out of the horses water not her smartest idea. (oh ya and she still had babies at the time luckly they were old enough to move in with the coop)
@Bryan: Good luck with it! Broody chickens used to annoy me before we had a rooster, but now they’re invaluable for raising chicks. Doing it all yourself with an incubator and brooder box is so much more work!
Not all hen will go broody and unfortunately you can’t make one do so. Around mid march is the time when you see some chickens go broody, most modern poultry won’t sit and if they do so they will quit before hatching time. Cochins and silkies are great sitters and mothers as well, if you raise a couple of those you will definitely have one or two siiters every year. I have three chickens sitting now and one of them is a white commercial egg layer that i got from a freind last easter, very weird but it happened.
@Zee: I assume you’re in the northern hemisphere? So by mid-March, you mean early Spring? That’s a good guide, but I’ve had chickens go broody at any time of the year. I’ve got one right now, and we’re in Autumn (Fall) in the southern hemisphere.
It’s true you can’t MAKE a hen go broody, but if you’ve got one that has it in her at all you certainly have a good chance if you encourage her properly. I agree about modern production poultry breeds – they mostly have broodiness bred out of them, as it’s an undesirable trait in a factory farm environment. Yet another reason I strongly recommend against production hybrids, and encourage heritage breeds for backyard chicken keepers.
I keep hearing people say that silkies are prone to broodiness, but none of my have ever gone broody. Maybe I just got duds! I do recommend Brahmas as excellent sitters and mothers, though, and I’ve heard good things about Cochins too. As you hinted, almost any breed can surprise you and go broody, but if you really want to be sure stick with the “tried and true” breeds!
Good tip about letting a hen sit on unfertilised eggs if you think you might want her to raise chicks in the future. You don’t want to discourage her once you know she’ll do it. Switching in a few day-olds after a few weeks is a good way to train her.
…Also, when a chicken go broody, give her three or four eggs to enjoy even if you don’t want any chicks. If you keep her from sitting the first couple times, she will give up and never go broody again. You can always give her 3 or 4 eggs for about a week then switch them to some day old chicks that you can buy from your local feed store, most chicken will adopt the babies and raise them as their own.
The one sure way to tell when a hen is ready to put real eggs under is when she sits in the nest at night instead of going to roost.
My chickens are crossed and crossed and recrossed.They have some game in them that helps them go broody.
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