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Mrs Boss is broody. How to stop a hen being broody

Mrs Boss goes broody frequentlyMrs Boss is one of the original bantams that we bought three years ago. A bantam is a breed of small chicken. As you can see from the photo she is white with pretty black and white feathers around her neck. She reminds me of the portraits of English cavaliers sitting so proud in their lace collars. She also has feathered feet.

When she arrived she was boss, ticking the other hens off if they stepped out of line. But gradually the others fought back and now her demotion is final. She is right at bottom of the pecking order and has a tough time.

Mrs Boss is broody at the moment. This means, as Danny says, “She’s in the mood to raise a brood”. Bantams have a natural tendency for broodiness but this has become a life mission for Mrs Boss. In a way it’s understandable. She can sit in the dark gloom of the nesting box away from the pecking and bullying. The only problem is that if a hen is broody, she does not lay eggs, and Mrs Boss’s small white eggs are the sweetest of them all.

How to stop a hen being broody is fairly simple. If you can prevent her from settling comfortably, she will stop being broody within a week or so. Some hens are fine again after thee days in the broody coop; Mrs Boss is a long termer. The trick is to construct a cage with a floor made of large wire mesh (at least 1″ squares). Put the cage on bricks so that the floor is suspended, keeping the bricks to the outside edges so that she can’t sit on them. Find instructions here on how to make a broody coop. Provide a small drinking fountain and feeder within the cage and pop her in. She will not be able to settle comfortably on the wire mesh floor and within a few days will get over her broodiness.

Mrs Boss hates the broody coop. When we give the other hens treats, such as corn or kitchen scraps, she leaps up and down in her cage in a fury of frustration and rage until she’s given her share. When she has served her time and is released, the first thing that she does is have a long luxurious dust bath.

Tips and tricks:

  • When a hen is broody, the comb on the top of her head changes colour from red to pink. Check the colour of her comb every day when she is in the broody coop. When the comb is red she can be let out of prison and will not immediately return to the nesting box, except to lay an egg. It took me ages to work this out.
  • If you have a broody hen and don’t want to go down the broody coop path, she will probably remain broody for the entire summer. Every morning and evening, it’s vital to lift her out of the nesting box, or wherever she has settled, so that she can eat and drink. Broody hens can starve to death if ignored.

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121 Comments

  1. arthur farrar

    I have a rhode island rde hen who keeps laying soft shelled eggs
    her mate his fed the same food and grit lays perfect any sugestions

  2. john coupe

    I stumbled onto your website because i have a broody Black Star. I have made a broody coop along your instructions. She has been a brilliant layer and went broody 10 days ago. I will let you know how I get on with her.

  3. lol oh thats wonderful.. yes mine like too try the nest out at night also but i have a broody cage in there so she dont get a choice.. hehe, i think sunday is turning..again sigh..wtf.. winter they slow down summer they should lay… she has laied all though winter, now its bout spring time here.. shes makin wierd pigeion noises.. so they r out in the sun in their portable coop.. today..ive been doing this the last few days as we have had nice weather again.. im hopin that this will sway her bak too continue laying.. olly on the other hand mmm.. she just came out of broody just as wintere started, she laied maybe every 2-3 days.. last few weeks the gap has been geting bigger, like 5 days then she would lay.. im on day 4 now with no olly egg.. she too is out in the sun with her sis.. im hopin this will help.. 🙂

  4. Well we gave in, in the end with one of our ladies who was constantly broody and gave her six fertile eggs to sit on we hatched 3, one sadly died but we now have 2 healthy thriving 1 1/2 month old chicks and an awesome mother hen 🙂

  5. Trixie Collin

    Mine try to sit on the nest even at night. Making a wire coop sorted her out

  6. Does the broody hen roost as normal with the other hens at night?
    Kind regards.

  7. Hey jenny, from what i have experinced with my hens, is they pluck wen they going broody, and or..just b4 winter so new downy feather can come in,.. dont quote me on that.. um.. i dont know why ur feathers r missing, mine make a big mess.. maybe mice r stealing the feathers for warmth,.. um.. other than than im not sure.. ask google. 🙂

    wen mine r broody, like really broody, ill put them in the cage, but out side so she is with the other chook, and enjoys the weather, wen its not raning, but ive been lucky that neither of them have gone broody or slowed down layin though this winter.. yay for that.. coz the previous months.. there was a drought.. maybe someone else can shed some light on ur query .. take care judz 🙂

  8. Jenny Wimmer

    I have recently started to keep bantams, I now have 5. The eldest Gabby, who is now only about 21 weeks began to lay and then went broody a couple of days before we went on holiday. That was 3 weeks ago. Whilst away the 2nd eldest, Bree, who had also been laying decided she was broody too and squeezes into the nest box with Gabby. Bree can be coaxed out sometimes whilst Gabby has to be physically removed each day to go out into their run. I was very interested in your advice on the matter and was going to follow some of it from this morning but now I have another worry. When lifting Gabby out I saw she has no feathers on her underside. I cannot see any at all in the nest box so hasn’t used them for the nest. Have you any ideas? Thank you for reading this,
    Jenny

  9. i have 2 chooks now, (did have 4 but re homed 2 of them), anyway.. the both at diff times, go broody for months, i do the brood cage thing, it works eventually but im talking like 3 months.. at least.. for both of them.. they r finally both laying now, almost daily which is bizarre, coz its winter here in australia, and don’t they slow their egg making down in the colder months.. mm.. i think my heads r just backwards hehe but i love my gurls.. they have really taken too porridge and sumtimes their pellets in with,i give them for breakfast, i wonder if they should eat oats, being a fiber causing gas, i hope they dont get tummy aches, but ive seen no evidence in their poo too suggest anything is wrong or different than usual..
    ive not posted in a while.. ive been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, not only am i in constant pain, the fibro fog melts my brain hehe meaning im forgetful.. so glad i chose too have messages come though as emails.. which is how i came too post too u all today.. 🙂
    i hope that u are all well, and enjoying ur summer, although ive heard in some states, its been hella hot.. i feel for ya, i dont like extreme heat.. hope all ya chookies r doing well also 🙂
    judz xx

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