My three little Pekin Bantams are a broody breed of chook, this was one of the hardest things to get used to when I first started out, so I figured it would be cool to blog about it to help fellow owners!
The first sign you get is that they will be inclined to stay on their eggs after laying (setting), they will do this with fellow chooks eggs too, they’re not fussed! They will come out for treats and corn but will keep going back.
You will also notice the tell-tale “clucking” noise they make, hence the phrase “she’s getting clucky”!
Sometimes they will also go to peck you or fellow chooks who try to move them or take their eggs.
If you’ve got a cockerel in your brood, and your hen is a good setter you could try to hatch some chicks, but if like me you haven’t here are a few tricks I’ve got up my sleeve to help! (these will be most effective at the earliest signs of broodiness)
Try constantly bothering and moving your broody hen and closing off any access to her nest. (basically acting like a cockerel) So she gets no rest and hopefully gives up setting!
Give her a soak! I know it sounds a bit harsh but you’re basically trying to cool her and sometimes a dunk in a bucket of water does the trick!
If none of the above do the trick, then it’s time to nip it in the bud and send her to broody quarters! (basically a cage with a chicken wire surround)
This has been the most effective method for me. You need to raise the cage on a couple of bricks so the air can flow and cool her down even when sitting. Pop your broody hen in with water and corn. She will be quiet at first and continue to set. She needs to be kept in her cage within the coop at night so she is safe from foxes, and away from her warm, cosy nest!
Somewhere between 3-5 days, (depending on when you caught the signs), you will see that she will stop setting and make it very obvious that she has had enough! As any bantam owner knows they make a huge noise when upset. Hey presto you will now have a happy chook and eggs will come back after a week or so.
I must admit at first I didn’t want to do this, but with all of them broody at once I had to give it a try, and boy did it work. (Of course broodiness is not an illness but you won’t get any eggs from a broody hen and if left they won’t eat or drink unless really tempted, and are therefore more susceptible to mites and other nasties due to prolonged sitting.)