Monday, 9 August 2010

Breaking a broody

Two Indian Game hens have gone broody over the past few days. It is late in the season and I have restricted accommodation for growers, so as tempting as it is to set another clutch I mustn't. Also the hens have already reared a good brood this year.

I need to break them. To begin with I try the gentle approach, removing them from the nest as often as I pass and making sure all eggs are collected as soon as possible after being laid to avoid temptation. Some times this will work, more often than not it doesn't.

The next stage, a final resort, is to put the broody hen into a large dog cage, which is placed just inside the open barn. She is sheltered from the weather but can see the rest of the flock, she has food and water available at all times and twice a day whilst we feed and water the other livestock, we take her out and place her in the paddock with the others. For the first couple of days the broody will take this opportunity to dust bathe but soon scuttles back to a cosy corner in the hay. We place her back into the cage. Usually by the third day she is happy to stay out with the rest, even though she can be heard still making the familiar broody cluck. A week or so later she usually comes back into lay.

We have been fortunate in that both broodies have chosen to nest in the yard, the flock is free ranging and if they had chosen to nest away we possibly wouldn't have found them, leaving them vulnerable to predators.


  1. so far i have found the easiest thing to do is let them be broody - sitting on some fake eggs. then after about a week. lift them off and do not give them access to the nest again - they seem to accept its over.

  2. Unfortunately it worked too well. I had a change of mind but on the third morning, as before, she got off and didn't return. So only one broody now.