A broody hen, if you don’t intend them to be mothers, can be a bit of a nuisance. After all, a broody hen is a moody hen!
What does a broody hen do?
Essentially, when a hen goes broody, they are wanting to hatch their eggs themselves. This means they are ready to lay multiple eggs, and then sit on them until they hatch.
This all sounds wonderful and motherly, but the reality can be far more frustrating. Broody hens can often try and hatch unfertilized eggs - a futile act that results in an aggressive reaction every time you try and collect your breakfast!
So if you’ve noticed the following behaviour amongst your girls, you may have a broody hen on your hands:
If you’re not planning on your hen hatching eggs anytime soon, then a broody hen will be a serial nuisance standing between you and your fresh produce.
What can I do to stop them?
If the hen isn’t sitting on or hatching fertilized eggs, then you really should take action on her behaviour - as it can actually negatively impact her health if she’s exhibiting such behaviour for longer than usual. When hens go broody, they eat dramatically less than usual, excrete less frequently and generally push their own needs aside for that of their eggs - so its critical to break their behaviour early, lest they become sick.
Here are some preventative measures to discourage the broody behaviour before it occurs:
If it’s too late and your hen has already turned into a ball of puffed up feathers, here’s some strategies to ‘break’ her broody behaviour. Remember, the longer you leave it, the longer it will take to rectify:
The key is to try and catch broodiness early, as that means it can be rectified faster. Broody hens will return completely to normal after you’ve broken their behaviour, and will start being productive egg-layers again soon after!
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