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MM 17

Breaking A Broody Hen

by | Aug 11, 2020 | Meyer Moment

Let’s take a Meyer Moment, to talk about how to break a broody hen. Broodiness is great if you’re wanting to hatch eggs. But if you’ve hit your chick limit, you may be faced with breaking your hen, of her broody behavior. Today we’re going to cover what broodiness looks like and how to stop it. 

Read Full Episode Transcript

Hey everyone! Welcome back to The Coop with Meyer Hatchery – where we talk all things poultry in hopes of inspiring crazy chicken keepers and educating future flock owners. Each week we like to take a Meyer Moment to cover relevant happenings. 

Let’s take a Meyer Moment, to talk about how to break a broody hen. Broodiness is great if you’re wanting to hatch eggs. But if you’ve hit your chick limit, you may be faced with breaking your hen, of her broody behavior. Today we’re going to cover what broodiness looks like and how to stop it. 

First, what is a broody hen? Broodiness is a natural instinct to sit on, and hatch eggs. There is no exact science, to what makes a hen go broody or when it’ll happen. There are also some breeds that are prone to this behavior like silkies, brahmas, and cochins. 

Signs your hen is broody, include her not leaving the nest all day, or staying in the nesting box versus roosting at night. When you collect eggs, she won’t leave the nesting box and may growl, hiss, or even peck you. Lastly, you may notice missing breast feathers. Hens will pluck these feathers out, to line their nest, and make sure their body heat, is directly passed to the eggs. They’ll also stop their egg production during this time.

If you allow a broody hen to hatch eggs, afterward they’ll naturally snap out of their broodiness and go back to their normal chicken ways, with a fresh batch of peeps of course. 

So how do you break a broody hen of this behavior? 

Be sure to collect your eggs daily, maybe even multiple times a day. Broody hens are relentless and will find eggs, of their own or others to sit on. During egg collection, also remove them from their nest. You can also take out the bedding, or block her familiar nesting box to lessen her comfort. 

When closing up the coop for the night, you may find your broody hen back at it. Gently remove her from the nesting box and place her on the roosting bar with the rest of her flock. These tips will take resilience, and you’ll most likely have to repeat them, over several days until she finally gives up. 

If you have a stubborn hen, you can try placing frozen ice packs in the nest. Lowering their body temperature will often stop broodiness in its tracks. When all else fails, you’ll need to move to isolation. Elevate a dog crate or wire pen off the ground and near natural light. Place your broody hen inside with food and water, but be sure not to include bedding! 

This will allow cool air to move under the cage, also lowering her body temperature and making her slightly uncomfortable. Most customers report after 2-3 days, hens are no longer broody and can be placed with the flock. If she reverts to broody behavior again, place her back in the isolated cage, with food and water for a few more days.

We hope these tips help break your broody hen and keep your egg production rates high  And that’s your weekly moment with Meyer. 

Enjoy the rest of your week and as always, thank you for listening to The Coop!

Hosts & Guests

Kendra + Jeff
From Meyer Hatchery

 Resources

Some of our favorite Broody Breeds: 

Silkies

Brahmas

Cochins

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