Breaking a Broody
PUBLISHED: 13:30 16 May 2014
Sometimes, a broody's enthusiastic maternal instincts aren't welcome
If you’re not going to allow your broody to hatch chicks, it’s imperative to intervene quickly and ‘break’ her.
Why do I need to break a broody?
• There’s no need to raise further stock;
• No fertile eggs are available;
• Severe health implications for the broody (weight loss, prone to external parasites and possible death);
• Broodiness is ‘infectious’, inducing other hens to go broody;
• One less egg contributor.
How do I disrupt her comfy nest and cool her heightened body temperature?
• Make a simple timber-framed cage with plastic mesh floor, equipped with food and water;
• The cage isn’t a conducive environment for getting comfortable: no dark hiding place whilst the raised mesh floor allows air to circulate around the hen’s body, cooling her belly;
• Leave the cage in a light place away from the flock;
• Once inside, the broody will be initially distressed, but she’ll soon settle;
• Time spent inside depends on when you identified her broody behaviour. She may only need a few days if you caught her early;
• Return her to the flock when you think she’s cured. If she makes a beeline for her nesting site, you know she’s still broody;
• Alternatively, isolate her with her favourite rooster. His amorous attentions will distract her from broodiness!
What not to do:
• Use cold water or ice to cool her body;
• Remove her repeatedly from her nest only for her to become distressed and run straight back.