Homesteading 101: Broody Chickens

Well folks, it’s official – we have a broody hen. Penelope, our buff orpington decided she would like to try and hatch a clutch of golf balls. Now, if you’ll recall, we had an egg eater a few weeks ago. The egg eater was Penelope. So, she ate eggs, laid for a couple weeks, then decided to try and hatch some babies. Makes sense, right?

Knowing that she only had a clutch of golf balls, we had 2 choices: break her of her broodiness, or give her some eggs to hatch. We opted for the second choice. Not because we need more chicks, but because we thought it would be fun to experience a mother hen hatching and caring for her babies. We figured we could sell the chicks pretty easily, so it wasn’t a big deal. Here’s a video of her accepting one of the eggs I gave her. (This is an egg from one of our barred rocks. The rooster is a buff orpington.)

If you think you have a broody hen, here are some of the signs you can look for:

  • Fluffed feathers
  • Grumpy disposition
  • Stays on the nest (my buff orpington stays on the nest all day, even though she is still laying)
  • Big poop
  • Sleeps on nest overnight

I’d say the biggest changes were her personality and her physical appearance. She always took a long time to lay, so being on the nest a lot wasn’t a huge red flag to me. When she started looking like a hot mess and copping an attitude with me, I knew something was up. Then, when she chose to sleep on the nest overnight instead of on the highest roosting pole, I knew she was broody.

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