How to break a broody hen
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What is a broody hen? A hen has gone broody when she insists on sitting in the nest to hatch eggs. This is triggered mostly by hormones, daylight, and the availability of eggs to sit on in the nest. Broody hens are determined to sit on the nest and will only get up to eat, drink, and relieve themselves.
If you do not intend for your hen to hatch eggs, this broodiness must be broken up! A broody hen with no eggs will sit indefinitely, which can have negative health consequences like weight loss, dehydration, and vulnerability to parasites.
To break a broody, her belly must be cooled and her nesting routine disrupted. The best way to do this is to place her away from the coop in a pen with a wire bottom and no nesting materials. A rabbit hutch serves this purpose excellently. The air will circulate on her belly and breast and she will not be able to get cozy and nest. Be sure to collect the eggs as quickly as possible from her her, as many times a day as possible. Also, remove the broody hen from the nest and deposit her at the far end of the run, preferably where you have scattered treats to distract her, as many times a day as you can.
Getting her back to her normal behavior can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks but it is possible with a little work and perseverance.