Broody but no eggs....!

Posted by: Shoofly

Broody but no eggs....! - 08/20/05 09:00 AM

Hey there--Just have a quick issue...One of my hens has been what seems to be broody for the past week. She sits all day in the nest box and is very upset to be bothered. I have not gotten any eggs from her in about 2 weeks. So, is she ok? I used the search engine but found nothing about what to do if a hen is sitting on imaginary eggs! Anyway, with much fuss, I took her out the other day and she seemed to come to her senses and remember how good food tastes, but the following day, she was back in the nesting box. What to do? If anything?? Thanks, Monica
Posted by: CJR

Re: Broody but no eggs....! - 08/20/05 10:01 AM

Broody hens do not lay. She is in a normal setting mode and will remain so unless you remove her from any nesting place!!--any place to "sit" that is comfortable! However, in time, her hormones will change back, and she will resume her usual activity, and in time, will resume laying. See that she is eating or she will lose weight and it will be harder for her to resume laying. Nothing wrong with her, she is just a good, normal hen doing what good normal hens do! Good luck, CJR
Posted by: Shoofly

Re: Broody but no eggs....! - 08/20/05 03:11 PM

Thanks CJR, I really appreciate it! I will make sure she has food and water in close proximity. She is a good hen, isn't she?! smile
Posted by: David T.

Re: Broody but no eggs....! - 08/21/05 07:16 PM

You can ‘break’ the broody cycle, search this forum (search button in top right of screen) for ‘broody breaking’, 'break a broody' and the like. I don’t do this so can’t comment on its effectiveness or impact.

We (family) have three (of seven) hens that tend to go broody. They normally sit on a plastic egg and a golf ball (these are there to stop egg eating but they are ‘taken over’ by the broodies). I (or someone) remove the broody from the nest twice a day (morning and afternoon) to ‘force’ the ‘leaving’ issue. They do sometimes leave by themselves as well. This way I know they eat/poop/drink/dust bath twice a day, in my case there is no problem with the incubation because there is nothing being incubated.

Shoofly, while I don’t think it is appropriate to attribute human concepts of ‘good’ and ’bad’ to chickens, I believe that your hen is doing what she has been genetically programmed to do and so, in that context, I would class her as a ‘good’ hen. She is a good girl.

Good luck, David
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Broody but no eggs....! - 08/22/05 01:51 AM

I personally think it is cruel and a waste of the poor hens energy to leave her sitting on eggs or other objects that they cannot hatch. It can take a very long time for her to get bored of sitting (up to a couple of months) So to my mind you have two options, get the hen some fertile eggs and let her hatch a brood or break her broodiness.

It is very easy to break the broodiness, you just need to cool the hen down, i have a wire cage that I raise of the ground with bricks and leave the hen in this with ample food and water for 3-4 days after which she is happy to return to the reast of the flock. It will usually take 2-3 weeks for her to start laying again,

Cheers Kim
Posted by: CJR

Re: Broody but no eggs....! - 08/22/05 08:05 AM

It is not the "coolness" that stimulates the change in hormones that stops the broody state. Actually, it is just the removal of any nice nesting place and a wire cage can do that--or bare floor--or any place that is not a "nest".

Actually you do not "cool" the hen, as her temperature has already cooled several degrees when she becomes broody. Normal chicken temp 103 (egg, when laid, 104)--hatching temperature is 99.5 to 100. It is the total removal of the nesting stimulous that will change hormone level back (and temperature)to normal. And it will return without any help, but it is hard on the hen, who is lacking proper nutrition, even if she eats a little, and exercise, while she is just sitting. CJR (Even if we do call it "cooling off"!)