Broody Hen question : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I had a hen who was solidly broody. She picked a horrid place so I made a nest box/cage for her and set eggs in it and moved her and closed her in for 24 hours. She sat for three days total on these new eggs after I opened it for her, then jumped up, pooped all over the eggs and abandoned the project. What is the deal? She is the only hen I have who has successfully brooded. Is it just better to get a an incubator?

-- Doreen (, March 04, 2002


Hi Doreen, I have had that happen. I have come to the conclusion it depends on the breed, primarily, and then the individual hen. I have some hens who would continue to sit through a tornado, nothing will break the brood. With others, any change can break the brood...

As to the incubator, yes, that is an option. But not only do you have the incubation to hatching, but also, the care of the baby chicks. Not that that is a lot of work, but I really prefer the Mama hens to do the work. Not to mention, the babies grow up and the ability and knowledge to brood increases! These type of chickens are just so much more "able."

As to the breed, we bought 6 little banty hens at an auction for this very reason. And also a Silkie banty -- they have been amazing! Excellent, Superb, awesome Mama's!! My next best breed is the Buff Orphingtons. Very good also, but still the % is 100% for our banties and probably 30% for the Buff's. Also, we have found that regardless of the breed, that with the chickens hatched and raised by the hens, the chances of them being brooders increase dramatically.

Anyway, Good Luck with whatever you do!

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (, March 04, 2002.

I second the Banty-as-broody-hen concept..I have Buffs and Rhode island reds and a single Banty we call Speckled Hen..last year, this hen sat on every egg that was laid and would NOT get off the nest for but 5 minutes a day to drink and eat and harass the other hens.During our great snake escapade, she sat on that nest while a 6 foot Rat snake crawled under her and ate three eggs..she gets comatose over it..this year I have a rooster who is a Buff...we plan on putting only Buff Orpington eggs under her when she feels the urge...I have never used an incubator and really wouldn't anyway since our hens are just for eating thousands of bugs..we have friends who use them a great deal and have zero problems except being slaves to turning and watching, etc.....

-- lesley (, March 04, 2002.

In my experience, I have only successfully moved a broody hen if she was a banty.

We have a lot of fun with our incubator because of the grand children, but if I had it to do just for myself I would use the banty because they do such a nice job of raising the chicks.

-- diane (, March 04, 2002.

All righty then, what particular breed of banty? My little seabright rooster would be overjoyed to have a hen his size!

-- Doreen (, March 04, 2002.

I just love those seabrights!!! If you already have a rooster, for sure.....find a hen. They are so cute and they are broody fools!!

-- diane (, March 04, 2002.

Cochins are good. Silkies are supposed to be the best, although I've never had any. Game hens, now those little darlin's will set several times each year. You have to keep them up though, or else be prepared to do a midnight raid and steal their babies as they certainly won't let you just catch them.

-- Green (, March 07, 2002.

The bird that jumped up and pooped all over the eggs is a game hen! I have faulty chickens. Who can I sue? After all, I'm an American! It can't just be the way of things not to do exactly what I want when I want!!!lol...ha..Need a banty hen.

-- Doreen (, March 08, 2002.

LOL! Sue away....there must be someone made to pay!!

As to the breed, wish I could be more specific. I do not know the specific breed of the 6 banty hens we purchased. Just that they are banties ~ ~ kind of red & brown in color. Now the other one is a Silkie, pure white and beautiful!

The 1 game hen we have is still young, but cannot imagine her sitting well. VERY flighty!

You might try looking at a Hatchery Catalog, they will list the attributes of the various breeds, including those with the inclination to brood.

Good Luck!

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (, March 10, 2002.

I have had this happen too! I figured it out though my hen was not appreciating the idea of being locked in with those eggs till she was ready. I just left the box open and she continued laying more eggs in the nest ( a total of 15 ) then she chose to sit. I figured most of my hens will not sit a nest till there are at least that many in the nest. hope this helps!

-- barbara miles (, May 16, 2004.

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