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Odd behaviour in broody hen

Hi everyone, I'm new to the site  and just wonder if anyone has experienced this behaviour.

My hen was one of two chicks, hatched last summer.  She normally lives with her sister and Doodle, a silver lace wyandotte.  The hens are silkie cross pekin and started laying eggs just before Christmas and have been quite regular since March.

The hen in question went broody 3 days ago.  Her choice of 'maternity ward' was less than desirable so I put her in a triple section laying box in a little hen house.  She's quiet and trance like most of the time, as I'd expect, but when I put food in front of her, she starts flapping her wings in circles?!  None of my other broodies have ever done this.  She flaps her food and water everywhere.  Almost like she's really excited.  Her legs are not paralysed, her eyes, clear. Ears clean, nares clear and comb and wattles bright red.

Any suggestions?  I've now moved her into a basket pet carrier with reinforced area for food and water, inside a huge covered dog cage.  She can see and hear the other chickens but can't really be disturbed of affected by them.  She's also in a place where Doodle can see and check on her.

She has a good diet.  Mixed corn, grated apple and carrot, cucumber, sunflower seeds, fresh live maggots or mealworm and greens.  This morning she had an egg yolk as well.

On the first day, she passed a 'broody poop' with a semi soft shelled egg, I bathed her in warm water and check her vent, which was clear and clean, save for the mess she'd just made.  She hasn't laid since.

She doesn't appear to be in any pain or discomfort and can keep her head up.

Thanks in advance for any input.



  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    welcome to the forum
     just an observation but when i have a broody i take them out of the nest 2/3 times a day and put them some way away from the coop so they have to walk back and this keeps their legs strong . i dont put food in with them as they need to exercise and also be away from the nest to poo and dustbathe.
    the flapping could just be her way of telling you where to go ! some hens get quite frantic and even aggressive protecting their nest
    the soft egg may just be a one off as shes ended a cycle but maybe add some calcium and vitamin d to her diet if they continue to be soft - you can buy them or use things such as scrambled egg (no salt or milk , just egg and margarine(for vitamin d) and crumble the egg shell into it.
    sounds like a happy little trio you have there :)
     x kath

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Hi Gemma!

    I agree with Kath about bringing her out for a 'break' now and then.  She will probably throw a tantrum and may even try being broody where you put her!  I had one who used to come out now and then and run down the garden, skirts billowing, then flap about in some oregano and run back to the hut!  Maybe she was using the herb as a mite deterrent.  
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