A broody hen is actually a hen that wants it’s eggs to hatch. Generally she will sit on top of her eggs all day long in attempt to hatch them. If you don’t have any rooster in your flock then the eggs won’t be fertile and won’t hatch.
There is no exact science to exactly what makes a hen go broody. Actually it’s a combination of their hormones, instinct and maturity. Generally a hen can be broody during the spring and summer months (although some hen can decide suddenly to go broody at other times of the year also).
Generally most of the hens that are very good egg layers will not go broody, such as the hybrid egg layers. Hens that are not genetically improved will go broody often. And a broody hen will stop laying eggs. If your hen is squawking whenever you approach her and if she doesn’t leave her nesting box, then probably she is just broody and wants chicks.
Identifying a Broody Hen
You might be wondering how do you know if a hen is broody or not, especially if you have never seen a broody hen before. However, here we are describing more about the ways of identifying a broody hen.
- Check the nesting boxes frequently. Generally hens lay only one egg a day. But if a hen is sitting in the nesting box continuously for long time, then she is probably broody or sick. But if you notice any sign of illness then take necessary steps as soon as possible.
- Most of hens turn vicious and protective in nature when they are broody. In some cases they might make some angry clucking noises or peck you (but some hens only do this whey their eggs have hatched). And such behavior is called motherly instincts.
- If the hen peck you when attempting to take her eggs, then she is broody.
- If the breast feathers of your hens are puffed out in the nesting box, then it’s a sign that the hen is preparing for chicks by creating warmer environment. And she will generally become very territorial over her nest.
- Changes in behavior are also noticed in the broody hens. In some cases they become aggressive and protective.
- If you rarely see the hen come outside, a part of drinking and eating, it’s an indication that she is broody.
These are the common ways of identifying a broody hen. Having a broody hen is perfect if you want to raise chicks. You can leave her to brood for having chicks (hens are nature’s best incubator). She will snap out after 21 days when the chicks are hatched.