Going broody? Or just taking a break?

May 28, 2013 | 2 comments

Sitting ChickenWe thought that one of our Wyandottes had gone broody.  She had some, but not quite all, of the symptoms.  But it was her first time so we thought she hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet.

The first indicator was that she wouldn’t leave the nest box after laying an egg.  Even though Farmer Nyel removed the egg from underneath her ample bosom, she continued to sit there placidly all day long.  She did not seem interested in joining her coop-mates on their various garden foraging expeditions and only left the nest for short intervals for food and water.  In the world of chickens, these are sure signs of impending motherhood.

However, it was the ‘placidly’ part that confused us.  Typically, when hens get the urge to raise a family, they get rather owie when someone tries to remove an egg from their underside – as in they are apt to make a Great Big Noisy Fuss and peck at the offending hand.  Ms. Wyandotte made no objection at all.  However, she continued to sit in the nest for two full days.

We have no objection to a new generation of chicks joining our flock.  In fact, we were quite hopeful.  However, the decision to hatch a new batch is not completely up to the wannabe mama hen in our particular situation.  That is because we have no rooster in residence and, apparently unbeknownst to Ms. W., her eggs are not fertile.

We are totally willing to intercede by slipping fertile eggs (purchased from our down-the-road rooster-owning friends) under the broody hen… if she is serious.  Farmer Nyel even cleaned out the brooder area where Mama Hen can incubate her eggs and raise her chicks away from prying eyes and unwanted advice from all the Auntie Hens of the coop.

But just as we were ready to make the phone call to our Fertile Egg Friends, Ms. Wyandott changed her mind.  Yesterday, after laying her customary egg, she left the nest and joined the other ladies out in the garden.  If she had been thinking in a broody sort of way, she was over it.  Perhaps she had just felt like lollygagging for a few days.

False alarm notwithstanding, the brooder box and baby chick yard are ready to go.  Maybe next time…


  1. Nancy

    Great writing! Your the connections to the hens, you comments from the coop always delight. As you know, my daughter keeps a coop and writes about the residents. Regardless of Ms. Wyandott’s thinking and subsequent action or non action. you and Farmer Nyel are at the ready. Please keep your readers informed.

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Maybe Ms Wyndotte had a chance to think it over and decided that she’s not done having fun with the girls. She may yet have a change of heart for a gal has a right to change her mind…more than once.


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