|Written by jmarwayne|
When a hen goes broody, she stops laying and focuses all her efforts on setting and incubating eggs. This is bad for several reasons. First, you are feeding a hen and she is not producing anything for you, which affects your profits. Second, her setting will raise the temperature of the eggs which can hasten their spoilage in hot weather. Finally, broody hens can get quite mean and her behavior can keep other hens out of the nest box. So what to do with a broody hen? If she is a persistent setter, here are a few ways to cure her broodiness.
Step 1: The best way to cure a broody hen is to cool off her chest. Try dipping or standing her in a pan of cold water. You could also try gently spraying her with a hose to cool her off. Once her chest remains cool for a few days, she usually gets over the broodiness. Some farmers put ice cubes in the nest box to help cool her breastbone when she decides she wants to set.
Step 2: Separate her from the rest of the flock so that her broodiness does not interfere with the other hensâ€™ laying. The best way is to place her in a separate cage that is raised a few inches off the ground. The air circulating underneath the cage will cool her off. She may lay more eggs and set on them, but at least she wonâ€™t set on other hensâ€™ eggs or chase other hens away. The cage needs to have a wire floor in order for this to work.
Step 3: For persistently broody hens, sometimes the best cure is to put her in a cage with a rooster. After about 2 or 3 days, she will forget all about being broody and will get back to laying.
Step 4: Some breeds are naturally more broody than others. If the hen insists on setting, the best thing to do may be to set some fertile eggs under her and let her hatch them. If you do not want to hatch eggs, loan her to another poultry person who needs a broody hen. Remember that for every broody hen, there is another poultry keeper who wants to hatch eggs and canâ€™t get a hen to set.
Tips: Collect your eggs frequently to keep them from spoiling and to discourage the hen from setting.
Warning: When caging a broody hen, always provide food and water. Some hens are such good setters that they will not leave the nest, even to eat or drink.