Meyer Hatchery Help Desk

Broody Hens (To Encourage or Discourage)

Working with Broody Hens  

It can be a wonderful or unfortunate characteristic to you. If you are looking for a consistent egg production, then a broody hen can be problematic in the sense that you would not have the normal egg production you've been accustom to before a hen or multiple hens turned broody. (What is broody you may ask? It is when your hen's natural hormones reach a certain level and she will try to sit and hatch eggs whether or not you have a rooster present in the flock)

The positive side of broody hens is that they will hatch fertilized eggs and help your flock be more self sustaining in replenishing/adding to the flock. If you do not have a rooster, she could save you time and cost by having her adopt chicks that you purchase from us. There is an article dedicated to this linked here

But what if you just want your hen to go back to her usual self? If she's not going to be hatching fertile eggs or adopting chicks, it would be a good thing to ease her out of her broodiness. There is a method of easing her out of broodiness, one element that keeps her broody is that she is sitting and keeping her vent and underbelly warm. She doesn't like to leave the nest box other than taking a moment to eat, drink and relieve herself. When you take her away from the area she is brooding and place her in an area where she cannot sit to keep that consistent warmth under her this will ease her out of the broody state. The earlier you catch her in her broody state, the less time it will take her to get out of that phase. One of the more popular methods would be to have a caged area for her with the caged flooring lifted off the ground. This allows air flow under the broody hen and prevents her from keeping that consistent warmth from warming herself in the nesting area or ground. Be sure that the cage bottom would be a comfortable size for her feet.  

Then after some time passes, she should appear less ruffled and more like her usual self. Eventually, she will get back to her usual egg production.

(A great example of easing your broody hen is found on Terry's Golson's blog The Hen Cam [Linked Here] )

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