Topaz is (Still!) Broody

Topaz is a Buff Orpington. She is persistently broody. I’ve lost track of how long she’s been planted in the nesting box. I broke her of the broodiness once already by putting her in the anti-broody house, where she had food and water and nothing else. It bored her. It made her angry (well, all broodies look irate) and, most importantly, it cooled off her body temperature.

That lasted for 3 days and then she went right back into the nesting box.

When I toss her out of the box she goes into the classic broody huffy fit. (Imagine an agitated staccato clucking soundtrack with this photo and you begin to get the idea.)

A broody hen doesn’t lay eggs. No one likes having them around. I’d had it. I’d read, somewhere, that if you cool off a brooy’s butt that it will break the cycle. I confess to taking a hose to Topaz’s bottom yesterday. It was a hot day. It’s not like she was going to catch a chill. Orps have more fluffy feathers than you can imagine back there. It took quite awhile to give her a good soaking.

She was surprised by her wet feathers.

Topas looked once again like a normal (i.e. not a deranged broody) hen.

Topaz joined the other girls who where enjoying an outing in the yard.

But when they all came in, Topaz went right back into the nesting box.

I give up. I don’t want to hatch eggs this summer. But if you do, let me know. I’ve got the perfect broody hen for you.


  1. I have 2 hens that have been broody for what seems like weeks. One is a red sex link and the other is an easter egger. I put them out of the boxes in the morning and at night….they are not very happy with me. :-) I let a Welsummer sit on 6 eggs a few months ago and out of the 6 eggs, 3 hatched and I got 1 hen and 2 roos. I’m not doing that again! Do you think they’ll stay broody all summer?

    • I don’t want to hear about broody Welsummers! Jasper, my Welsummer has so far been the perfect hen. Friendly. Active. Laying.

  2. ha! ha! I have a broody hen, too. She is broody more than she lays eggs and a few days ago she finally stopped being broody for the 3rd time since Spring and now she has decided to MOLT!!! I’ve decided that she is always looking for some kind of excuse to not lay eggs. She is a mixed breed. I think she is part game hen and part chicken, but not sure and boy can she be evil when she is broody!!!

  3. I have two hens that had been broody and fighting over a particular nest. Most of the other 9 hens laid their eggs on this favored thrown, even though there are 6 others. It’s funny, because it’s like they all watch to seize the rare opportunity when the broody gals get out for a drink or bite to eat. So I put some of these eggs in another nest and blocked it off with chicken wire to separate them. They were then content to stay on their own for a few days, that is, until one nest started to hatch chicks. Then the hen on the new nest started to have a fit and eventually found a way back to the original nest. At first they fought over the chicks and I was so afraid they would injure them. It got to the point that I was considering having chicken stew for dinner… lol! But I love these two hens and decided to let them work it out a little longer. I am relieved that they reached a truce and now seem content to sit and watch over the chicks together. It’s kinda funny, as their parenting styles are very different. One is gentle and coos and caresses the little ones and the other her will push and peck them into compliance. They are both very protective, so I know the chicks are well cared for.

  4. I am glad I am not the only one dealing with this issue! I have two hens who have already hatched and raised chicks this spring that are back in their boxes. The are so grumpy and I worry about them in this 106 degree weather we are having.

  5. We have a Cochin, a Silkie Serama mix and a blue Silkie. A couple of months ago they all went broody. We took them out of the nest every day. Finally the Cochin stopped brooding but the little ones were still in the nesting boxes. Then one day we had left over yogurt and we gave it to them. The next day they weren’t broody anymore! It could be just a coincidence but the same thing happened to a friend of ours.

  6. Love the photo of her looking between her legs. “mom what did you do?”

    I have four broody hens, I too have give up in breaking them. It was 108 degrees yesterday and at least the next 7 days predictions are over 100 degrees. Yesterday evening I went out at around five o’clock and the four were not even sitting on the eggs that had been laid in the boxes, they were just kind of hovering over them. The hens from my observations were close to heat stroke. I filled a five gallon bucket with water and placed each one in so that the water just covered their backs. Much to my surprise there wasn’t this frantic struggle to get away, I think they actually enjoy it. I then shut the coop door so they couldn’t get back in and didn’t open it up until around 8:30. Rignt back to the boxes they went.

  7. Only one of my hens every goes broody – though she hasn’t bothered this year. Mind you, we’re having a horrible summer over here in the UK :( Anyway … I use a dog crate to break the brood and it usually takes two sessions of a couple of days … but I persist simply because she loses so much weight when she’s broody.

  8. Funny photo of her looking between her legs. I have one hen that has been broody more than not, it seems. I considered dipping her into some cool water a while ago. She just broke her broodiness by herself last week and yesterday I found a beautiful green egg. I wonder how long this will last. I always worry about heat stroke when they stay inside on the nest most of the day during the summer months.

  9. To everyone posting about the hot weather – yes, be worried! I’m especially concerned for broodies piled into little coops that are located in the sun, and that have nest boxes that jut out the back. Ken has the right idea. Toss the girls out and close the door on them. Make sure that they have a shady spot – with water in the shade (hens won’t cross a hot pen to get to water.) My big barn is shady and cool. It helps that it’s so airy and has a concrete floor. I have a FAQ on hot weather care, so go read that if this is your first summer with hens and heat.

  10. Terry if I may add a additional suggestion on helping chickens cope with heat.

    I soak the areas of the run that will be in the shade in the afternoon each morning in these extreme temps. The hens will scratch and create divots in these area to get to the wetter cooler dirt.

  11. Maybe you could take her for a ride and show her those killing cones? aha ha ha just joking. . . good luck Terry!

  12. If you get her early a persistent broody hen can be quickly taken off brood by wrapping one of the freezer iceblocks (the things you put into a coolbox for picnics) in a towel and shoving it under her. Her body temp will come down quickly and she will come off brood. Check her regularly though. This is the way I take my very boody Light Sussex off brood, it works a treat. Good luck.

  13. I hope I don’t have to deal with a broody too soon. I finally picked up my three Dominiques yesterday. They are beautiful! I would love you to stop by my blog:
    I would value your comments and have referenced you on the the first post as being one of my influences.

  14. I think I caught Gladys texting Topaz earlier. Go on, let her have babies. Orps are lovely mums, and she probably won’t go broody again this year if you let her hatch something. Probably.

  15. Will she give up after three weeks or will she just keep going – I’m still amazed that Gladys de-brooded herself! This is why I don’t have Orps, Silkies or bantam Dottes…. I wonder if shortening her daylength might help?

  16. OMG. That picture of Topaz peering through her legs at her wet soggy bottom cracked me up… with such an understated subtitle, too. Perfect!