As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

Gone Broody?

Well, I knew it would probably happen sooner than later–one of my 5 hens has gone “broody.” Broody means that they want to sit on eggs like they are going to hatch. Basically, she’s being a good baby mama, but there ain’t any babies.  (You have to have a rooster to have babies, and I don’t have one.) The interesting thing is that she hasn’t actually laid any eggs. In fact, with the record setting heat here in Central TX, my ladies have slowed their egg production way down–they’ve only laid about 4 eggs this week (I usually get 4 eggs per day).

I was thinking that maybe she was egg-bound, which I checked for, but didn’t feel anything. She seems to be eating and drinking ok (when I remove her from the nesting box to do so), so I don’t think she’s sick. And because I’ve eliminated these possibilities and because she just wants to sit in the nesting box, I’ve concluded that she has in fact gone broody. I’ve read that I can separate her from the flock to “break the spell”, but not sure I want to do that.

Why do hens go broody you ask? Well, it’s a biological. Many hybrid and production layers (the hens that lay supermarket eggs, for example) have had the broodiness bred out of them since they won’t be raising babies.

Some people with broody hens find fertilized eggs for the hen to incubate and then raise the chicks. Maybe I should give that a thought…

Little Miss Broody in the nesting box


2 responses

  1. Rachael

    I have two chickens that I have been raising in my backyard (urban farming somewhat) and one is missing. The remaining chicken is very depressed and lonely. Do you think this could work for her? Would she know to stay on the eggs? I am still learning about chickens and have heard that if I give her to someone else then she may be pecked to death but if I bring another chicken, she may peck it…

    Thanks for any information you may have!

    July 20, 2011 at 12:27 am

    • Hi Rachael,

      So if I am understanding correctly you only have one chicken and she is lonely? Is she broody? Chickens like to be with other chickens, so I would definitely consider either giving her to someone with a flock or getting more chickens to keep her company, The only way she will raise chickens from eggs is if she is broody (and there is no way to make her broody, its biological). As far as her pecking a newbie or getting pecked–generally it helps to introduce new chickens slowly–say by putting the chicken in a separate run in which they can see each other but not touch each other. After several days or so, then they can be together for several hours a day…and then slowly introducing the new ones completely.

      I hope that helps!


      July 20, 2011 at 12:52 am

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