Meet Dog. This is one of my hens that my now 4 year old son named Dog. He loves dogs, so much so that he named a chicken that. You would think we would buy him a dog. But no, we will stick with stuffed animal dogs and a chicken that he named Dog.
Dog is broody. Very broody. The 3 Buff Orpingtons that I have each take their turns being broody. Mothering must be strong in their blood. This poor gal sits on her nest all day long. As soon as one of the other birds comes in and lays an egg she will go and sit on it. Poor thing doesn't realize they will never hatch since we don't have a rooster. I go out a few times a day and find her laying on a nest of eggs. I gather them from under her and she just continues to sit there.
So how do you deal with a broody hen? Here is what I do. First always try and gather the eggs from under them. She can't hatch any eggs if there isn't any there. Most of the time I have to physically move the bird off the nest. Some birds will refuse to get up and eat or drink. Dog for example was getting dehydrated. I could tell because her comb went from being bright red to pink. She wasn't going to leave her nest. I had to pick her up and take her to the waterer and dip her beak in. She eventually drank.
I usually end up separating the hen from the nesting boxes. This is where the chicken tractor comes in handy. I put her in the tractor along with some treats, bread or grain, and let her have a change of scenery. She gets a little grumpy sometimes and fluffs out her feathers and bawks a bit, but she gets over it. Typically after doing this for a few days she gets over the broodyness.
Does your hens ever get broody? How do you handle it?
This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday over at Spain in Iowa.