What is a “broody chicken”?
When a chicken is “broody” it will stay in the area where it usually lays its eggs all day, sitting on its eggs or any eggs that other chickens are laying. During this period it will usually not lay and eggs itself and will not eat as much as it should, only occasionally coming out from its laying area to eat.
Why does a chicken become broody?
A chicken will become broody because of what it is naturally used to doing. Most people who have chickens will not have a rooster to go with it. If you do have a rooster and you want or are able to sell baby chickens then just let the chicken be broody until the eggs hatch, but most people will not buy a rooster to go with their chickens because of the noise that they make and several other habits that would not suit a suburban backyard.
A chicken will go broody because they are used to having a rooster around to fertilize their eggs and have them hatch baby chickens, which they won’t because there is no rooster there, yet they will still believe that they have to hatch the eggs and thus the need to be broody.
Only some types of chicken will become broody, but these types of chicken vary and it would be hard to tell what chicken it is going to be when it is young.
How do you stop them from becoming broody?
Simply you cannot stop a chicken from being broody before it starts, it is basically impossible. But you can stop it before it starts. To stop a chicken from being broody, if it has started already, is to put it into a small cage that it will only just fit into (10cm clearance either side) for about a week (a bird cage would do the job well). It may seem cruel but it will not harm the chicken at all, it is designed to take away the chickens privileges for a week and make it realise that if it continues to be broody it will continue to lose its freedom to run around. The amount of time that it should be left inside the cage should be about the time it has been broody or until it stops being broody.
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