Yesterday I had a third hen go broody on me. AGH! I have six layers and three nest boxes this should be more than enough, and suddenly I am running short.
I have been going out several times a day and taking the ladies out of the boxes, carrying them far away ( you can read that to mean out of the coop, out of the chicken run, well in the free range area with the working the ladies). Yet they return home, so the next time I go out and check they are back in the nest box. Broody hens have a different personality and do lots of talking. Each time I enter the coop they issue all sorts of warning in with sounds telling to me that they are busy and I best go away. They are not squawks, but sort of a muttering and cursing under their breath letting me know I am disturbing them. It is also the time they are likely to peck at you to get you to leave them and their imaginary eggs alone.
I must tell you all that hens temps get a little higher when they go broody, keeping the nursery warm. I am extremely cold blooded and I love to reach my hand under them and feel the nearly hot place under their breast feathers the birds have for their imaginary chicks. That hot spot is what you need to break if you hope to stop all this. You remove them to a place where they can not nest and they cool off. In days when everyone had flocks, some birds who were good mothers were allowed to raise a brood of chicks. If no chicks were wanted, the person responsible for gathering eggs did just what I do, throw them out (though I suspect they did not pick them up and spend as much time getting them out of the coop as I do.) Today many folks have “exhibition pens” they can put a broody hen into. It is a wire cage, with no bedding and no nest, but plenty of fresh water and food. Within two or three days this whole broody mess is over.
I am sure you are wondering, if it is that simple why don’t I just get on with it and stopping talking about it. Some breeds are broodier than others, and mine are some of the breeds least likely to go broody. In the past I have always been able to shake this behavior with just pulling them out several times a day. I don’t have an exhibition pen, but do use a extra wire dog crate as my isolation chamber when I need it. Unfortunately right now my new chicks that are still not fully integrated in to the flock are using it as part of their shelter. The other problem is space. I am running two flocks, my adult flock and juvenile flock. That means I am using some of the free space in my shed to make a second temporary coop. The whole idea of juggling all that to make a 3rd area in my shed to for a no-more-broodiness set up seems like a lot of hassle. But I have set a deadline of Monday. If at least one of them does not get over this they will be asked to cool their jets in the dog crate.