Broody hens


Hens will get broody from time to time, just like people. There are many ideas on how to stop your hen becoming broody, although I am not convinced how effective some of them are.

Here are a few of the theories anyway: 

  • Dunk her rear end in a bucket of cold water.
  • Take her eggs away and put broken egg shell there instead, so she then thinks her eggs have hatched. She will then get off the nest.
  • Give her a clutch of ice blocks. You may have to give a couple of clutches. That should make her want to get up!
  • I think the best thing to do and works is, put your chicken in a very airy crate with a mesh floor, so her underside will cool right down. It isn’t cosy and the idea is that this will cause her to snap out of it. She will need to be in there day and night for around 3 days.This is usually long enough.

Many people worry that a broody hen is not eating or drinking but she will be fine, she will get off the nest once a day  to eat and to do the obvious. It's nice to leave the food and water close to her to make things a little easier. A broody hen will lose weight and condition at this time, but it is a very natural thing to do, so don’t worry.

BUT WAIT!

There is another idea. You could give her some fertile eggs, which she will be only too pleased to hatch out and mother. If you are worried that you might end up with lots of cockerels, give her some day old hybrid chicks instead. These hybrid chicks are sexed so you will end up with some great laying hens which are extremely friendly, as well as getting the added enjoyment of watching them grow.

You will of heard the expression “like a mother hen". This is because hens are fantastic mothers and take great care of their chicks, leaving nothing extra for you to do for them; she will do it all.

There is something special about watching a hen wandering around the garden with her young and it is a lovely experience for children.