Mrs. Mean (formerly Lady Barred Holland) kept chasing her off the nest. She would jump into mama's nest and stand on her head until mama finally had to leave. Mama would park herself in another nest box, but the eggs got left behind. I would move the eggs but Mrs. Mean would chase her off again.
This game of musical nests quickly became a nuisance, so I decided that since I didn't need any more chicks, I'd try to break her broody.
Broodiness is associated with an elevated body temperature. Lowering that is supposed to break it. Some have success simply by removing mama from her nest until she stops going back. The next step is several days in a mesh bottom cage, with food and water of course. Both of these methods "cool her bottom" so that she ceases setting. I tried removing her from the nest, even keeping her from going back to the chicken yard. This didn't work, and I don't have a mesh bottom cage. Nor was I inclined to make one, so I tried the dunk method.
|Holding the broody hen in cold |
water is supposed to break her broody.
This is another way to try and lower the broody's body temperature. At first I thought it seemed a little harsh for the hen, but then I considered that they don't mind being soaking wet from the rain, so how much would she mind this? It certainly did seem to shake my broody hen out of it, but only for awhile. Soon she was back on the nest. I repeated it several times that day, but she was insistent that she was going to sit on that nest. At least now I know what the term "mad as a wet hen" means.
|Broody hens can be super persistent|
She finally settled for a spot under the nesting boxes, where Mrs. Mean can no longer jump on top of her and stand on her head. I tried for several more days to remove her, until the day I found one egg under her. I don't know know how she got it (broody hens stop laying). I gave her two more eggs, so now she has three. We'll see what happens.
I did run across a couple other ideas afterward and thought I'd pass them on to you. One is to try filling plastic Easter eggs with ice cubes and putting those under the hen. You can read about that, here. The second was to put her with an aggressive young cockerel, that one here.
Have you ever tried to break a broody? I'd love to hear about it.
This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop #65.
Click on the icon or link for more, or to join in.