Broodiness is a natural chicken instinct that happens to some chickens every year, and others not at all. It switches on as soon as they’re old enough to lay, between five and eight months old.

When broodiness goes on for an excessive amount of time, it makes the hen more susceptible to respiratory infections and other diseases because she’ll be too weak to deal with any illness she’s exposed to.

There are several reasons to break a broody hen before it’s too late, and there are several ways to snap her out of her mood.

Remove your broody hen from the nest. Repeatedly.


I like to carry my chicken around for 10 or 15 minutes while I make my rounds in the garden to “air her out,” so to speak.


The theory here is that you’re helping cool down her chest and her vent, thereby lowering her broody body temperature.

Give your broody hen a (gentle!) cold water bath.


Whenever possible, I’ll lure her with treats from the garden so she has to get up and move about.

Lock your broody hen out of the coop.


The goal of chicken jail is to make your broody as bored and uncomfortable as possible — no nesting areas, no warm dark cozy corner to hide in.

Chicken jail.

Since it takes some time for their hormone levels to get back in balance, ex-broodies may not lay for a couple of weeks after they’ve been broken. Just make sure they continue to eat, drink, and socialize, and watch for that first egg to pop out!

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