A Foul Fowl Poop

This is Topaz. She is broody.


Note the ruffled feathers and that maniacal look in her eye. Perhaps you think that this looks like a normal chicken? Here, compare Topaz to her sister, Beryl. In this photograph, taken last week, Beryl was not broody. Look at her kind, inquisitive and sweet expression.


Beryl lays four eggs a week. Topaz sits in the nesting box, but doesn’t lay. She hoards the other hens’ eggs. Once a day she removes herself from the box in a chattering, huffed up rage. She goes outside. She leaves this.

broody poop

It is the largest pile of chicken manure you’ll ever see. Or smell. Broody poop is rank. The dogs like to roll in it. I remove it from the lawn before they can. Thankfully, it only happens once a day. The broody hen drops it, then eats and drinks. She might take a dust bath. And then she goes back onto her nest. If only Topaz had gone broody earlier this spring, she’d have had some of the chicks under her. Now, she just has Siouxsie.


  1. How do you manage this or do you just let her get on with it? Last year, when Emily went broody, I had to put her in the dog crate each morning so the other girls could lay because her presence in my (limited) nest boxes was causing so much upset. As soon as they had laid, I collected the eggs, released Emily from the sin-bin (which was sat in the shade in the middle of the hens’ area so everyone could see everyone else) and back she went on the nest. I wore thick gardening gloves to lift her because she was so very pecky. She stayed broody for exactly as long as it takes to hatch a clutch (21 days) and then she went back to normal altho it was ages before she gave me an egg because then she had a moult *sigh*. I hope it doesn’t happen this year.

    • As soon as the weather gets warmer, I use an anti-broody coop. It breaks the broodiness, at least for awhile. Do a blog archive search (or follow links in the broody FAQ) and you’ll find posts about this. If you have enough nesting boxes, and you don’t care about getting eggs, you can just leave the hen be.

  2. I suggested on Lauren’s facebook that she might want to buy your broody hens, but then she reminded me about the Mareks in her flock. And I know your Gems are vaccinated but I don’t think it is against Mareks. So that idea is a no go. It is too bad your chicks are too old for her to be interested in them. Ugh dogs and poop. That is one thing I don’t miss know. I much prefer cats who hunt scentless and therefore don’t like to roll in anything nasty.

  3. Ouch! It’s no wonder she has such a miserable look on her face. Perhaps too much fiber?

  4. Ooooo, I have two broody Orpingtons hogging the nest boxes at the moment. The ‘chicken pile’ that occurs when the non-afflicted ladies want to use the nest box, is accompanied by murderous squawks.

    And the poop, oh don’t mention that delight, ewwwww!

    Broodys, we just love them don’t we… ;) x

  5. Hello! I am so glad you are discussing broody hens, especially Orpingtons, as that is exactly what I have. I am putting her in an elevated dog crate at night. My question is: Can I let her free-range during the day or do I leave her in the crate all day? And will it really last 21 days? I had heard she had to ‘cool down’ for 7 – 10 days. She is upsetting the whole flock (of five!) because I can’t leave the coop door (nesting boxes inside) open, as she won’t let anyone else into the other nesting boxes. Consequently, egg production has dropped to nil – they are probably out in the bushes in the way back… Help!
    M. Arpterson

    • In order for an anti-broody coop to work, it must have a wire mesh bottom (hardware cloth size – something comfortable for the hen to stand on.) I use a rabbit hutch. The air flow under the hen cools her down and affects her hormone levels. Simply isolating her, or allowing her to go back in at night will not work. The anti-broody coop trick takes up to 3 days to work. If you leave a broody hen to brood she usually will remain broody for 3 weeks. I have photos in older posts of the set-up. I’ve never had a problem with a broody keeping the other hens away. Could you rebuild the nesting boxes to have better partitions?

      • Since your having bad weather Terry, maybe you could sacrfice a few bucks and hit the grocey story to pick up the cheapest frozen bagged food they have ? Or even if they have any that’s outdate and is being frozen away and stick it under the broodies for a few days to see if it will work. Or even a frozen water bottle, that you just refreeze, since you can’t use your broody coop with them.

        • The trick of putting frozen peas under a broody hen doesn’t work. Nor does dunking her in cold water. I’ve tried all of those folk remedies. The only thing that I’ve found to break a broody is the anti-broody coop.

  6. I actually have a Americana that is broody, first one in all my 40 years.

    • Oh, don’t tell me that. I am loving the Ameracauna chicks. So calm and sweet. I don’t want them to be broody adults!

  7. So that’s where those mysterious giant turds came from! When we had bantams, one hen in particular seemed to go broody a lot of the time. It seems that she actually had a higher temperature, and went bald on her ventral side.

    • Yes, one sign of broodiness is that the hen pulls the feathers off of her chest. That way her warm skin is in contact with the eggs. Their body temperature rises, too. Good observations!

  8. The anti broody box works wonders, my silkie like to go broody and when she does, It will literally last for 3 months, I even had her hatch an egg and even after the chick hatched her broody spell didnt break. Even though a chick hatched she wouldnt get off the nest, and I was still very green in chicken raising, that the chick died because I assumed that the silkie would care for it and keep it save, BUT i can home from work one rainy cold spring after noon and i heard this shrill I quickly realised that it was the chick,I sccoped it up dried it the best i could with a hand towel and put it under its mother, but it got to cold and died, all the while the silkie just sat on her nest… So as far as I am concerned this particular silkie has been deemed an unfit mother and will longer be able have chicks…

  9. Terry,
    My coop is 4 ft. X 8 ft. X 7 ft.H. I have 6 standards and 1 little white Leghorn coming.(I ordered it after all) Do you think my coop is big enough? My run gives them about 12 sq ft per hen to play in.

    • Sounds good. Love that it is 7 foot high. Put a roost up high. The white leghorn will appreciate it. You’ll love that little bird!

  10. PS-Going to have the chicken compost in run at your suggestion. Thought it was a great idea you had.

  11. Thank you. Very much appreciated. We will have roost up high at your suggestion..