Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breaking a Broody Hen?

A few weeks ago I noticed that one of our chickens was not leaving the nesting boxes. When I went to reach for the eggs she puffed up her feathers and made a weird growling sound at me. I was watching throughout the day and realized this wasn't normal behavior. I started doing some research and read that she could be broody which basically means she wants to sit and protect her eggs in hopes of hatching them. The downside for one is that since we don't have a rooster (thank goodness) our eggs will never turn into little baby chicks no matter how long a mamma hen sits on them so they are just wasting their time. They can sit there for 3 weeks or more! That means we would be missing out on her egg production and we would have a nasty chicken to deal with!

In my research I read that in order to break a broody hen you need to address it within the first 2 days you notice that it got all broody on you. I read of various different methods and decided on a "broody breaker". The idea is that you need to cool down her chest (it got warm from sitting all day and night) in hopes of her returning to her normal chicken self. A "broody breaker" is some sort of cage that allows for air circulation, where she is away from the other chickens, and with no nesting boxes.Different websites I read recommended a rabbit cage but I didn't want to spend money on this little experiment, so I looked around for what we had that I could use. 

I came up with a pallet (I've been collecting them for some projects), left over chicken wire from building the coop, and old fence posts (we just redid part of our fence). My parents were visiting so I had my dad help.

Here she is looking all normal

Here she is puffing her feathers up at my dad

I think from the picture you can see how we constructed the "broody breaker". Pretty self explanatory.  Totally Scrappy Love style! 

Yes, I wore gloves to move her. I'm not that much of an animal person and I read they can be pretty nasty if you try to handle them while they are brooding.

There she is. Not to happy about it. 
The first day she got out b/c we didn't put a cover over the top so my husband just put her back in with all the other chickens that night. Well, when I went out the next day she was right back to sitting in the nesting boxes, puffing her feathers up, and squawking at me. I put her in the box, covered it up and left her in there for about 3 days. After that we put back in the coop with the rest of the chickens and she was cured! Yes!

If you have a broody chicken on your hands just google "broody hens" and it will come up with tons of information. I hope this helps someone dealing with their chickens.

No comments:

Post a Comment