If you’ve ever had a broody hen, then you know that they can be very difficult to break. There are some simple tricks that can help get your hen out of her moody state and back to laying eggs. Let's discuss a few easy ways to break a broody hen and get her back to being productive.
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5 Simple Tips to Break a Broody Hen
If you’ve noticed one of your hens being protective or sitting on her eggs for long periods of time, then it’s likely she’s gone broody. A broody hen is a chicken that has become determined to hatch eggs.
These are just a few quick humane tips that many chicken owners have found useful when breaking a hen of her broodiness, but there are a lot of techniques out there.
- Be sure to remove eggs from under the hen regularly and, if possible, pick her up and set her away from the nesting area while you collect them.
- Create a separate environment for her using a small portable coop or crate. Removing her from the nesting boxes and eggs could help get her out of the broody mindset.
- Putting her in a cage with a wire bottom, open to the air, can help cool her underside and disengage her from the broody feeling.
- If using a wire-bottom cage doesn’t work or isn’t an option, some people slip a few ice cubes under a broody hen a couple of times a day, which can result in cooling her temperature and making her “nest” undesirable.
- Similar to the ice cube method, some people have found success by simply dunking the hen’s underside in a shallow dish of cool water.
You might want to read Dealing with A Broody Hen for more information on ways to recognize a broody hen.
One more thing you might want to try is simply letting a hen hatch out eggs. You can give her eggs that are near hatching, and let her finish out the incubation process. You don't have to let her raise the chicks if you are hoping to get her to start laying as soon as possible.
If changing your hen’s environment and cooling down her body temperature doesn’t work, try asking some experienced chicken owners if they have any suggestions. I have tried all these methods and I find some work better with some hens than others.
Sometimes you just need to let them go through their brood, making sure they are getting up and out for food and water until she gets tired of sitting.