Using a broody hen to incubate eggs and hatch chicks, the way Mother Nature intended, has many benefits because she will commonly hatch and rear the chicken without needing much assistance.

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In this article, I will look in ~ what to perform with a broody hen throughout the first couple of days the broodiness, getting a broody coop collection up, comment how plenty of eggs she have the right to cover, and also giving part tips because that hatching egg under a broody hen.

If her hen already has chicks, climate you can want come skip come the next article from our Broody Hen Advice: Broody Hen care which encounters caring because that her and her chicks after lock hatch.

Broody Hen Advice:

hatching Eggs v a Broody Hen (this article) - What to perform if you want to usage a broody hen to flower some abundant eggs.

Not every hens will go broody, and some room much far better at sitting on eggs and mothering chicks than others. Light and also flighty each other won’t commonly go broody, and if lock do, they don’t generally make good mothers.

Utility breeds hardly ever go broody. It has been selectively bred out of them: they space not laying eggs once they are broody!

I’ve largely owned energy breeds throughout my time maintaining chickens, and also I’ve had actually my same share of disappointments. Some hens have left your eggs partway with incubation; others have actually carelessly trampled or even pecked your chicks.

Saying this, i have additionally kept a few breeds that chickens prone to walk broody, and also if you obtain “a an excellent sitter”, then, offered a an ideal place come sit, she will often be much more successful than any type of egg incubator you can buy.

What is a broody hen?

During the spring and also summer months, as soon as the day size increases and there is no food shortage, part (but no all) hens go broody.

A hormone called prolactin causes broodiness. The pituitary gland, situated just behind the eye, release prolactin. It additionally releases hormone that cause egg-laying according to the variety of daylight hours.

I’m certain you’ve heard that the saying “feeling broody” as soon as prolactin is released: She has the advice to sit on some eggs, hatch them and become a mother.

She will lose feathers ~ above her breast (this is referred to as a broody patch) so that she can make call with she eggs to save them warm.

A broody hen takes treatment of the temperature and also humidity of she eggs and the egg-turning. Once the egg hatch, the chicks are maintained warm and shown those good to eat.

Some breeders (especially waterfowl breeders) will save a breed known for broodiness and also let castle take treatment of every the incubating and hatching. Of course, girlfriend don’t have to use the very same breed or even types to hatch eggs, and also there are countless mother hens every year, perplexed by she broods’ love of water, and that’s due to the fact that they are, in fact, ducklings she’s hatched!

What space the indications of a broody hen?

When a hen is broody, she will certainly refuse to leave the nestbox and also return to it as soon as removed.

She will come to be protective, so when you put a hand near, you will certainly hear her an dissatisfied scolding sound: a ‘don’t touch me’ warning.

She will certainly puff up her feathers and give her hand an almighty peck if you get close to her.

Clucking is additionally a sign of a broody hen.

A broody hen will not leave the nest, renders noises and will peck if you get too close!

What to carry out with a broody hen?

Broodiness may be welcome or unwelcome. This post tells girlfriend what to carry out with a broody hen come hatch productive eggs; however, it’s worth stating that if the time is dorn or you don’t think your hen will sit the term, you may want to protect against her, and this is kinder due to the fact that it will protect against her from running herself down. You have actually three options:

What options are there?
Give her some abundant eggs come hatch. as soon as you’re certain she’s determined, she can be worked out to sit ~ above some productive eggs come hatch some chicks. If you desire to do this, then review on!

How plenty of eggs can a broody hen cover?

Large breeds, such together the Australorp or Cochin, deserve to cover approximately a dozen medium-size eggs; however, the much more eggs she has, the more likely she will certainly break some of them.

Bantams can sit on big eggs, but being smaller, they can not cover as numerous of them. I don’t usually offer them many more than fifty percent a dozen eggs—eight at the most.

Some that the larger duck each other (like the Muscovy) can cover practically two dozen eggs.

I place a reasonable variety of eggs under a broody and see whether she manages to store them all covered in the first 12 hours. If not, I remove a couple.

This Muscovy duck flower 21 eggs!


How to do a hen broody?

Unfortunately, girlfriend can’t make a hen go broody. All you deserve to do is leave part eggs come accumulate in the nest to encourage broodiness. Even far better than this is come leave some dummy eggs in a nestbox; otherwise, you may finish up with broken eggs.

A hens’ maternal instincts are strongest in the spring and summer months.

You can obtain a good idea of whether a hen will likely go broody through her breed.

i beg your pardon chicken breeds room the most most likely to go broody?

Any hen have the right to go broody, however some breeds are much more prone come broodiness than others.

By far, the finest sitters room Silkies and Silkie-crosses. They are committed and likewise make great mothers. Still, some say their feathers (which look an ext like fur) can obtain tangled about the chicks, so they choose to overcome them with other breeds. Then, they have normal feathers yet still maintain their mothering instincts.

Here is a list of each other that room most most likely to go broody with web links to our breed pages if you want to learn more:

i m sorry duck breeds room most likely to walk broody?

The duck each other that are most most likely to go broody are:


When a hen does go broody, you can not tell how good she will certainly be at it. Most pullets (female chickens under a year old) space inexperienced and also will stop sitting before they have actually hatched. The maternal instinct is more substantial in older hen (at least over a year old).

Once a hen has proven herself together a good broody, she is likely to be trusted again in the future.

Collection and warehouse of hatching eggs

It is necessary to keep nest boxes clean. Collect hatching egg as soon as you deserve to so they don’t acquire soiled or damaged by other hens in the house.

Store egg pointed end down ~ above trays or in egg boxes and also find a cool ar for them the end of the sunlight.

Although the is tempting to try to hatch huge eggs, the many viable are usually medium-sized. Perform not use very pointed or round eggs since these have the right to make flower difficult.

When hatching eggs with a broody hen, we commonly don’t must store eggs because that a lengthy time because we need to get fertile hatching egg under she after sitting for a couple of days.

If you would favor to keep eggs for longer than a few days, climate I have actually written an short article on this subject:

Hatching eggs v a broody hen

Moving a broody hen onto abundant eggs

When you notice the an initial signs of a hen walking broody, please give her a pair of days come prove she determined. If she go broody in the hen residence where friend collect fertile eggs, make sure she is not sitting ~ above eggs the you want her to flower at a later on date, together this will begin the incubation procedure too soon. Provide her v a couple of dummy eggs to sit on.

Tip: Dummy egg

If friend don"t have any dummy eggs, golf balls do a good substitute, yet if girlfriend still don"t have these, you can use old eggs that room marked clearly with a pencil or mite pen so the they room not inadvertently collected.

Broody hen house specifications

A broody hen residence is no much more than a small coop through an attached run. Her hen will be rather happy sit on the floor; it doesn’t must have swarm boxes. That ideally has the complying with features:

Protection from predators and also bad weather.Located in the shade during the hottest component of the day.It is separate from various other poultry that may disrupt her.It has adequate ventilation.A grass-run for her to use once her chicks hatch.Somewhere quiet, away from other household pets.

A traditional wooden broody hen house
An Omlet Eglu walk plastic chicken coop
My favourite broody hen residence was a really old wooden coop that was creosoted and also stored far at the end of every summer; however, after utilizing an Omlet Eglu go for a few years, it has come to be my new favourite.

The Eglu walk is double-skinned, making that well insulated, and cleaning is straightforward because you have the right to hose down the plastic floor trays which slide out.

You have the right to learn much more about this home on the Omlet website.

Inside your broody coop, place an upturned sod that grass or some damp earth as the base for a nest. Slope it up in the corners. The idea is to form a ‘saucer’ form for the colony so that no eggs have the right to roll out, but also it will help her provide much-needed humidity for her eggs. On height of the soil, build up a swarm of clean, dry straw.

The Omlet Eglu also enables you to eliminate the floor totally to build the colony directly top top the ground. This does increase the danger of predators (such as rats) digging underneath, therefore exercise some caution with this.

Moving a broody hen

Settling she into new quarters

Waterfowl, turkeys, Guinea fowl and also quail don’t like to be moved. Lock will also nest in part odd places and also often give up if you try to move them, so it’s far better to build some suitable nesting web page in breakthrough to encourage them to use among these.

Thankfully, chickens are reasonably easy to move (with a little care)!

After a few days, you will know she is serious around brooding. Once you are prepared to settle her, take she to the quarters where she will certainly hatch and also look after her chicks. Provide her v some dummy egg to sit on. I usually move my broody hen at dusk to store disruption to a minimum.

Her coop and run need to be situated in a quiet corner, away from disturbance. keep it out of direct sunlight during the hottest component of the day, or she will overheat and find it complicated to save the egg at the correct temperature.

Once you have actually put her into the broody house, leave her alone to settle.

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The following video clip clip is the slightly younger variation of me in 2010, settling a broody bantam into a broody coop come sit on part duck eggs. She had been broody for three days beforehand but needed relocating from the main chicken home away from the various other hens for this reason she could sit.