Oh no. I Have a BROODY Chicken.


Oh man, these chickens of mine are always an adventure I tell ya!

Pepper the chicken is broody!

What’s a broody chicken you ask? Well… basically hens will get all hormonal and their bodies tell them that they want to be momma chickens. They want to lay on their eggs until they hatch and little fluffy baby chicks come out. They will sit up in the nest for 21 days, only leaving the nest once per day to eat, drink and poop. Kinda like our husbands during football season. They’ll stop laying eggs during this time, get a little bit protective, and sometimes lose weight. Not all chickens get broody and  I was thinking mine wouldn’t since they’ve only been laying eggs for about a month or so.

The sad truth my friends… is that Pepper does not have fertilized eggs to lay on. We would need a rooster around for that. So her eggs just ain’t gonna hatch.

In a way, I wish she could have her baby chicks. The problem is that I ‘m already at my chicken limit living in the city. We’re only allowed 3-4 chickens and no roosters.  I know, right? What an annoying city ordinance.  I only would like 10 more chickens.

When I first saw that she was staying up in the nesting box for a whole day I opened up the latch to my chicken coop to check out what was going on. Pepper sat in the nesting box and puffed up her feathers, making her look really big! She also made this “get-away-from-me” sound. Chicken PMS. Sheesh.


All I could do was laugh.

It is hilarious seeing Pepper like this. She is the lowest bird in the pecking order. And now she is all tough and protective.

Another interesting thing about my broody chicken: When I pick her up it’s like her body is in rigor mortis or something’.  Her body is stiff and even when I pick her up to move her outside to the ground she would stay in the same laying position for a few minutes. Strange…

Here is a video for you that shows you how my broody chicken looks and behaving. Enjoy!

While I thought it was funny and interesting that Pepper is broody for the first few days, now I am not so overjoyed. I realized that now I get only 3 eggs a day and have to worry about the health of Pepper since she doesn’t eat or drink much.  I read online that the best thing to do is to remove her from her nesting spot a few times a day. You can also to put her in a cage with no stuffing until she gets out of it. I might try that this week and see if its works.


Maybe someday Pepper will be able to have her babies. Hmm…I wonder if chickens find as much joy in raising baby chicks as I have in raising my children. You just never know what goes on in those little chicken brains. 

Raising backyard hens sure has been an adventure!



Oh no. I Have a BROODY Chicken. was last modified: January 31st, 2014 by Karrie

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  1. I have 20 hens (Finley=county) whoop! One of my hens got broody in July and if you don’t have fertile eggs they will sit…and sit…and sit… She was broody for almost 3 months (so no eggs from her) and is now molting which is common after being broody which means again no more eggs. It’s being bred out of a lot of breeds but will come in handy if you do get fertile eggs someday also I’ve heard you can sometimes sneak day old baby chicks under them to raise too! Love your blog!!! 🙂

    • Oh how I wish I could sneak in some baby chicks!! Wouldn’t that be so much fun to see how she raises it. Stinking city ordinances…I mean what neighbor doesn’t want a huge chicken farmer living next door…LOL!

      • Jocelyne says:


        get her mail-order fertilized eggs that are sure to hatch. We did this with our broody turkey momma, “Mary”.

  2. Chari in Boise says:

    I too had a broody hen! What a sight to behold! We finally ended up getting some couple days old chicks and snuck them under her at night. So now I have one of her babies and I had to get rid of the other cuz he turned out to be a rooster! Broody mommas are no fun unless you have space to have more chicks!

  3. We had two broody girls. . . and they kept going broody after we’d break it. Finally, this summer we decided to bring home three baby chicks for one of them to raise. Squirt is the lowerst in the pecking order and kept getting picked on, so I didn’t give her the babies. I was worried she wouldn’t be able to protect them. Well, she was HIGHLY offended that her neighbor, Owl had three little ones to care for. You should have seen her little beedy eye blinking, head tilting thing she had going on while looking at the chicks and back at her neighbor. The next day, both girls were sharing those babies and they still are 10 weeks later! One of the chicks died about two weeks in, but the other two have really thrived and yes, those Mama hens get a lot of enjoyment out of raising those babies. We plan a repeat performance next Spring if we have any broody girls. The mamas still follow the babies around the yard and call for them as needed- even though they all sleep on the roost now. It’s really a fun sight. The only downfall is that these chicks are not as friendly as our first set because they weren’t hand raised (and mauled a bit by children). The kids have to do a little convincing to hold one of the babies. That hasn’t deterred them. 🙂

  4. Karrie,

    One of the best chicken books I ever read, written by ‘The Chicken Whisperer’ (Andy Schneider), says that it’s very dangerous for hens to go broody without any eggs upon which to sit (that will hatch). He says their hormones undergo a change that gets them to stop laying eggs and they will eventually get to a point where they won’t leave the nest at all- not even to eat or drink. Some have been known to die on the nest without human intervention.

    He suggests that if you have a broody hen that you don’t want to be broody- you should dunk her (up to her neck) in some ice cold water for a minute. Let her run free in the yard then leave her to dry in a warm place. For the following few days after her bath, try to keep her out of the area she wants to sit (i.e. nesting boxes). I know, easier said then done.

    I know it seems mean and ruthless! But something about the shock of the cold water shakes her out of her broody reverie. You may need to repeat the process several times before the broody is totally gone and your hen will NOT be happy with you! Hence the term ‘mad as an old, wet hen’! but at least you’ll get her back into her normal routine. Good luck!

    • Great idea Jenn!! And that is so funny…mad as an old wet hen!! HA! That is so scary that they could die on the next…yikers. Okay, going to fight it again today.

      • Just checking in- have you managed to break the broody yet? Been worried about Ms. Pepper…. 🙂

        • Nope! She is still broody. 🙁

          • Poohzhunny says:

            I have found my broody hens will naturally break out of it around the 3rd or 4th week. If you keep their coop closed during the day (if it’s safe to do so) it will help. Keep her nest empty too so she doesn’t have eggs to sit on. None of my birds are worse for wear over it and I would think that a hen dying of this is VERY rare. Patience, grasshopper ☺️

          • Thanks!! 🙂 Love it!

  5. Because of you I now want my own chickens!! I love your blog and am learning so much from you. I love that you show up failed experiments as well as the good ones, makes you so normal! LOL

  6. Becky E in Yakima says:

    Jenn said what I have read: cold water dunking method. I have had three so far go broody and I have tried to break each-with NO luck each time. As a result we have had 3 clutches of chicks. 1) I put three day old chicks under her-no problem 2) I let her hatch eggs that were already pipping (chicks had already started to break tiny holes in their eggs) She sat on fake eggs until it had been 3 weeks and the real ones we done incubating. She “hatched” those eggs and didn’t know anything different 3) This was a few weeks ago and I didn’t want or need anymore chicks, but she would not get off that dang nest so I bought her 4 day old chicks and she is happy as a lark raising them as her own. This has all been since this spring, so yes we have quite a few chickens right now:) Luckily we live out in the boonies and nobody cares:) But 30 chickens is quite a few! With my last one I figured I’d rather let her have a few chicks than die on the nest trying to hatch her own because she is a good layer and I did not want to lose her.

  7. I have a few extra roosters if you would like to set up a play date. 🙂

  8. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 months now and really enjoy it. We just got 15 buckeye chicks about a month ago and I’m head over heals for them 🙂 as are my three little boys. You’ll have to keep us posted on how the broodiness turns out!

  9. I have fertile eggs if you want to let her try her talents on a couple.

  10. Just curious because I really don’t know the answer…why don’t you just take her eggs away from her? Would that help? I know she probably lays one egg a day but I noticed in the video that she was laying on an egg and I was curious as to why you left it there for her to lay on.

    • We have some wooden eggs and we let her lay on those. But a day or so after the video was made I took those away. She will lay there still even without any eggs under her.

  11. Thank you so much for the information. I have a broody hen that I have been worried about, I have to pick her up and make her go outside. She is laying on 6 eggs, not sure if any will hatch. We do have a rooster but haven’t had him very long. How would I know if they are fertile? I live in the country so the more chickens the better. I have 2 roosters, 7 hens and 7 ducks. I am looking for new homes for the roosters.

  12. I have 2 hens which brood annually. One of them has hatched two babies this year, one of which laid the funniest tiny little egg. Its almost as long as a regular egg, but only about 3/4 of an inch across. I like your blog

  13. Looks like your Pepper is a Mottled Java? Of our five chickens, one is a Java, Lucy and she’s the only broody one. I think the time if year has something to do with it and some chicks have more of the “motherly” instinct. Great article.

  14. Oh is she a bantam? They get SO BROODY! I have bought a few extra chickens (Isa Browns) as they don’t get too broody. Here in Australia where the weather is mild all winter we can give them a cool bath, but that doesn’t always work. I find the crate cage the best option as it in-broods them. Only takes a few days but they take a good couple of weeks to start laying again. So annoying! Good luck!

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