Guess Who Is Broody

It’s no surprise that all three Buff Orpingtons are in the nesting boxes.

It’s even less of a surprise that two of the three are broody.

It’s easy to tell which hen is not. Amber (my favorite of the group) is about to lay an egg (good girl!) Her head is up. The other two are flattened out, chrrr-chrring bad-tempered warnings, and have glazed looks in their eyes.

Amber is on the left. Now that I pointed out the difference, it’s obvious, isn’t it?

Check out their combs, too. Topaz’s is half the size and paler, a sure sign that she’s not laying.

Of the three, I will be putting Beryl in the anti-broody coop today because in her deranged state, when she spies an egg in a nesting box she clambers over and claims it. She’ll leave one egg to go and sit on another. She’ll do this even if the laying hen is still there, finishing up. She shoves and stomps. She breaks eggs. It’s annoying and wasteful, so she’ll spend three days literally cooling off. When I return her to the coop she won’t be broody anymore. But, I’ll bet she starts molting. It’s that time of year (more on molting in another post this week.)

There’s one more broody hen in my flock, and this one might surprise you.

Betsy! She’s so diminutive that when she flattens out in the nesting box I have to peer in to see her. Both Tina and Siouxsie are laying. When Betsy sits on their two long white eggs she looks off-kilter, as if she’s going to fall off of them. Betsy doesn’t smash eggs and she rarely lays. I’m leaving her be.


  1. Thank you for this update! Hadn’t seen Betsy and I must admit, I thought the worst. Your hens are so much fun to watch.

  2. Oh good grief! I just got through with my first experience with a broody hen. As of yesterday she was back to normal after about 3-4 days of chicken PMS. We would still be dealing with it if it wasn’t for the good information you and others have made available. Thank you, nipped that one in the bud before it went viral. I used to think I wanted Buff Ops, but am thinking otherwise now! Hope your girls come back to their senses quickly!!!

  3. Good luck with all the girls that are broody. Last year I had one and as soon as she was done hatching eggs another one went broody. It was crazy. I am looking forward to reading more info on molting. I haven’t experienced that one yet.

  4. ’tis the season! My Speckled Sussex, Lucy, just started a broody spell. This is my broody-est flock yet! She gets dunked in a cool bath a couple times a day, and will spend the day in the broody coop.

    • I have a broody girl named Lucy too! :-) She’s my very first and we’re letting her make a few babies.

  5. Do they peck? I have a one bantam that pecks, hangs on and twists. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ken..I got a roo from my order from MyPetChicken…He is lucky he lives with me….he will get to stay..he is beyond friendly and sits by my feet and waits to be picked up..he is gorgeous too!

  6. Oh my gosh I hope I don’t have to deal with that yet. My two barred rocks started laying and lay so nicely in the boxes for me but my easter eggers are just dropping them any old place and they are breaking. Ugh. Why didn’t they learn from the other girls? I am so frustrated.

    • Have you tried putting dummy eggs in the nesting boxes? Sometimes they need to see eggs in a box to go there. Also, if they lay in the morning you can try keeping them in until they lay. Limit the choices. Just until they get the hang of it. Of course, I’ve done all of that and I still have one hen that lays on the ground!

      • I have the dummy eggs and yes I do let them out of the coop sort of early as it is small and one just squawks so loudly and we are in the city and I just don’t want to disturb anyone. I guess I have a conundrum.

        • If it is a small coop without windows, then it might be too dark in there when they want to go and lay. Hens have terrible vision in the dark and half-light, and they might not be able to see their way to the nesting boxes!

  7. Lol, I remeber Coco or Betty last summer when the red sexlinks were still alive and laying. And the shells were weak and Coco or Betty ended up coated in egg and you had to wash her down to keep her from overheating. At least Betty won’t have that problem this year. One reason why I love the useless Polish so much that they rarely go broody. In fact I only know of one that goes broody on a regular basis in the summer. I guess the only cure for broody oprhington’s is old age, though you said even Buffy tried to go a little broody in this her sixth year.

  8. I would take a broody hen rite now. In 4 days I have lost 3 chickens 1 was an Austrlorp rooster from a predator, my hybrid and my favorite Sunshine, I think she laid her self to death, and today my little silkie, fluffy was attacked by my neighbors dog who dug under my fence in a place that is behind a shrub I didn’t notice it I even dug welded wire 8 inches into the ground. It happened so fast I was in the yard and heard a commotion it happened so fast I was able to get her from the dog but she was so injured. I had to finish it, which was devastating for me. I have to say that the thought of just giving up chicken raising is in my mind, I kind of feel a little defeated, but I love my girls.

    • I am so sorry to hear that! Pet dogs are the worst. No fear of humans. You can’t stop them when they start. Don’t give up. If you were nearby I’d give you my two broodies and let them happily hatch more chicks for you.

    • Hi Jonathan..don’t give up…a few years back on July 4th I had a neighbor’s get in the yard and kill ALL my birds…about 15 at that time. I was devastated and it was the only time I called animal control. Some of my birds were “show and tell” birds that I used for animal units at school. I slowly got back into it. Take it slow..if you really love it…don’t give it up!

  9. Jonathan, I too am sorry to hear what you’ve been through. It’s very frustrating especially when it’s a dog which typically kill for the fun of it.
    Your neighbors do owe you compensation, it’s their responsibility and your right.

  10. Thanks Terry, I fear now I can’t let them free range the whole yard. Would it be wrong to get a giant rooster to annoy my neighbor whose dog killed my Fluffy?

    • Ken is right, your neighbor needs to be held accountable. At the least he should reimburse you for Fluffy. He should repair the fence. He should keep his dog under control.

  11. Ken and Terry thank you both, my partner Rob fixed the fence and I made them a secure 20 x 30 enclosure. And bought a rooster whose mother and father are quite large. Luckily I live in an area with out an ordinance against roosters. I’ll tell you I think I’m a little traumatized from watching it happen.

  12. Hi Terry. It’s just great knowing what I have to look forward to! My 5 PR’s are going on 7 months and I am still at the “where’s my egg?” stage.

    Thanks for putting the watermelon right in front of that camera! Last night Candy was nibbling on the rind, so I had a nice long closeup of her beauty. This morning, the BR’s are pecking at it. They are beautiful on camera, and so clear and sharp at that distance!

  13. Love your blog and I have so enjoyed watching your broody hens on camera! Not looking forward to having a broody hen but our 19 week old BR laid her first egg yesterday so I’m glad to have your great advice for future broodiness. Now I’m eager to see if our other BR will be the next to lay or if the Easter Egger will beat her to it. :-)