How to keep a hen from going broody? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-21-2011, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I live in Hawaii where we have wild chickens called "jungle fowl" which roam all over. They were brought by ancient Polynesians when they came to the islands.


There is a hen that comes to our shed and lays. She's neat and tidy and doesn't bother anyone or anything, so we let her nest in there. I go into the shed every afternoon and take out the single cream-colored egg that she lays. I leave a golf ball behind to encourage her to keep laying there. The problem is that when she's done laying her clutch of a dozen or so, she will brood on that last egg and it's almost impossible to get her to stop setting. I can take the egg and the ball, but she will take something from somewhere in the shed (like a small piece of PVC pipe or a u-bend) and put it in the nest and set on it. There's no way to shut the shed.


So once we go through this weeklong battle of her stealing stuff to set on and me taking it away, she finally stops being broody and leaves for a month. Then the next month she comes back and lays another clutch.


Is there a way I can keep her from going broody in the first place and just keep her laying coninuously? I don't want to handle her too much as she is wild and shy of people. I don't want to scare her off. I do feed her kitchen scraps.

Mama to a bright 7 y/o girl and an exuberant 3 y/o boy  Loving unschooling, 2x and natural living in Hawaii.
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#2 of 5 Old 04-22-2011, 08:44 AM
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From what I know, broodiness is a character trait.  You simply cannot take it out of her.  Why don't you let her hatch some out and then scoop them up, put them in a brooder and raise them for meat or eggs?

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#3 of 5 Old 04-22-2011, 09:10 AM
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I had the same thoughts as chicky2.

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#4 of 5 Old 04-22-2011, 09:52 AM
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If she was tame you could put her in a cage with no nest and see if she'll snap out of it but when one our hens goes broody we just let her hatch some eggs out. Broodiness is a genetic thing and not easy to deter.
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#5 of 5 Old 04-22-2011, 05:53 PM
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Broodiness is tough.  When one of ours was broody last summer she was very aggressive when we tried to come near her.  We only intervened because she wasn't actually sitting on anything, and she was becoming sick.  Some will stay on the nest without eating or drinking or pooping for an extended period of time.  We basically had to move her out of the coop, lock it up, air her out a little( it helps to air out their undersides a little bit), and house her in another coop with no possibility of nesting.  It doesn't sound like your hen is sick or in danger in any way.

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