Is my hen broody?

If your hen is refusing to get out of the nest box, fluffs up her feathers and pecks you angrily when you go near her, makes a strange clucking noise, has plucked the feathers from her breast, doing the most enormous snd stinky poos once a day and paces around when you block her out of the house - she's most likely broody.


If you have a cockerel (or can get fertilised eggs) and fancy some chicks, that's great but if you don't want chicks, it's best to "unbroody" her. She could end up broody for up to 6 weeks and over this time, she will lose condition as she only leaves the nest once a day to eat and is more likely to get parasites as she won't be dust bathing.


How do I stop her from being a broody hen?


There are many different old wives' tales to stop your hen being broody. We find this the most kind and most effective:


We stop the hen from being broody by putting her in a crate with a meshed bottom (such as an upturned dog crate) which is on bricks. This allows a draft to get under her and she can't get all comfy. She will need to be in there, day and night, for a few days. You'll know when she's not broody any more, she'll start behaving more normally when you go to see her.


Don't worry about her being in a small space during this time - she's happy to sit in a small nest box 24/7! If your hen house is not large enough and you have to "unbroody" her in the garage or shed, she won't mind being by herself, indeed she would be if she was brooding in the nest box while her friends were outside enjoying themselves - just be careful and keep an eye on her when you re-introduce her though.

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