Breaking the Broody Chicken

In our first batch of chickens (which we eventually took up to the family ranch because they were too loud), one of the Ameraucana chickens was a super broody hen.  She would go broody, we would break it, she would go broody a few weeks later.  They were also extremely loud.  They would call out almost like roosters at 5am.  This was unacceptable for our small backyard in the bay area, and it sucked to get up early in the morning to let them out.  So we took the three Ameraucana chickens up to the foothill ranch and gave them to my husband’s mother.

We bought some new already ready to lay chickens from Craigslist from a family in Fremont.  We ended up getting Red Star chickens which lay like champs.  They are supposed to not tend towards broodiness.  But alas, one of the chickens seems to go broody every June.  We have to get her out of the egg laying area because the other two chickens decide to lay elsewhere and hide their eggs despite the fact that there are three nests.  They like to all lay in the same one.  The other reason for breaking the broodiness of your suburban chicken is that she won’t be eating or drinking much and because there are no eggs to hatch, your chicken could potentially do themselves harm.

I looked up ways to break the broodiness of chickens and we tried a few things like sticking those blue cubes that you freeze and use to cool down food coolers.  This was too cumbersome and didn’t work.  We ended up purchasing a 30″ x 30″ x 16″ rabbit cage where we place the smaller chicken mason jar water and feeder.  Then we stick the broody chicken in there for about a week, making sure there is enough water and food and that the chicken is under the shade.  We test letting out the chicken and if it goes back to being broody it goes back into the cage.  The cage has a wire floor so the poop drops below and the chicken isn’t walking around in it.  The cage also has a tray that goes under the wire which comes in handy if we have to transport the chickens.  The three chickens will fit in there, but only for short transportation.  We purchased it at our local feed lot and I haven’t found a similar one online.

So far this has been the best way for us to break the broodiness cycle as she doesn’t get the stimulus of having eggs under and there is air circulation under her rump.  It looks something like this and we remove the tray when trying to break the broodiness.

Make sure this cage is protected from raccoons, as they can try and reach through the cage bars to get at the chicken!

Here is a great article describing chicken broodiness and having more pictures of it.

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