It is perfectly natural for heritage hens to go broody. It is in their genes! The heavy breeds are more inclined to do so than the light breeds. Pekin bantams and silkies are renowned for making great sitters and excellent mothers. If you have discovered a broody in your nest box there are two options available to you.
Raising The Next Generation 🐣🐣🐣
Make use of her broodiness and use her as an incubator. This is done by placing a setting of hatching eggs (fertile) under her so she can incubate them for 21 days. Broody hens on most occasions make excellent mothers and are nature's way of producing the next generation (well that is what they are here for!) and don't forget hens do not lay forever so refreshing your flock every 2 to 3 years is a good idea.Appletons Guide To Raising Your Own ChicksAppletons Guide To Hatching Your Own Chicks
Get Her Back Into Egg Production 🥚🥚🥚
Snap her out of her broody state by removing her from her current comfortable environment.
Take her away from her cozy nest box to a separate wire/netting cage with fresh water and feed. Wire netting on all 4 sides is best.
A Classic Dog Crate works very well. Please remember to offer her protection from the elements.
Do not offer her any ‘creature comforts’ other than some protection from wind and wet weather would be kind. Leave her in the wire cage until she has got over her broodiness then place her back in the laying pen. This can take as long as a week or two. We also recommend the Zippi Single Height Rabbit Run with anti-tunnel skirt as non-broody pens.
The Eglu Go Chicken Coop with 2m Run is another option as a holding pen if the hen is shut out of the house and kept in the wire run.
Here at Appletons we keep many different breeds so as the hens go broody we remove them and place them in a communal pen with no creature comforts. Having new house mates upsets the pecking order and so their minds are taken off being broody and focused more on sorting out who is who in the sin bin! For the best results act quickly within 24 to 48 hours of her going broody to snap her out fast so you can get her back into production quickly. Broody hens are unproductive hens especially if left flitting away endless hours and days sometimes even weeks sitting on no eggs or your fresh eating eggs!
This Omlet run makes the perfect non-broody cage. Add a couple of heavy duty covers to offer weather protection.
The very versatile Eglu Go Chicken Coop doubles as a broody cage too. Shut the hen out of the house to snap her out of her broody state.