Nature on our Doorstep - New, The Down the Lane Wildlife Diary
Have you a broody Chicken ?
Ways to help them and stop any bullying from other hens
I would start by saying - It's not the Chicken's fault you have a broody hen.
She's going going through something which is completely natural.
The pure selfish nuisance of it is that you often have to step in to get the girl back to 'nornal. During the broodiness, they will stay inside the nesting box and will have a peck at you when you retrieve the egg, or eggs' from underneath.
The problem lays that it's often in very hot weather and it seems they hardly go out to eat or drink, thus getting overheated, which could ultimately lead to you losing her.
Also during this time, when they do go out, the other chickens will get quite annoyed and have a go at her. Often you will find a broody hen has lost some feathers through the others basically, beating her up.
The whole pen is somewhat disturbed and although the egg laying would not appear to be affected, it can be an unhappy camp.
Here are a few things you can do to help.
Pick up and physically take her to the watering bowl. On a few occasions I've held the hen and dipped her beak into the water so she has no option but to drink. It's not cruel for being kind. If she doesn't drink she'll de-hydrate.
Don't get into the habit of putting food in the nesting box. This will only stop her needing to go outside when hungry.
In some very difficult cases, you may have to segregate her for a while. The other one, which I haven't tried is to shut her out of the Hen House, put her in an isolation pen with just a shelter. Somewhere where dhe can't spend all day getting hot.
Exactly how long broodiness can go on for varies a lot - anywhere from one to even four or five weeks.
Although it is perfectly natural for hens to be like this (similar to dogs and cats), all they want to do is have some baby chicks.
Perhaps they are 'just chickens' and have very small brains, but to them it's their life and routines and we have to work around this.
A nuisance maybe, but a worrying time and a chance for us to help nature out a little.
By the way, having a Cockerel would appear not to make any difference usually, well not to the Hen, but maybe to you 'interfering'!
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