Encourage Hens to Hatch Eggs


Tags: chickens,

Broody hen with Welsummer chicks

I’ve tried using a foster broody hen to raise chicks, and it can make brooding chicks easy. To use a hen to hatch eggs (or foster chicks), you first need a broody hen. We’ve heard of different things people have tried to encourage broody behavior (sitting on eggs to hatch them), so in a recent survey, we asked our poultry advisory group which methods have worked for them. You can see all the results of the survey, but here’s a quick look at the highlights.

Nearly 100 people took the survey. Thirty-seven people said cooping a hen in a small, dark space with a nest of eggs works sometimes. Twenty-nine people said increasing hours of daylight with artificial lighting works sometimes. Sixty-six people said selecting for broodiness in a breeding program works every time (27 people) or sometimes (39 people).

But people who took the broody hen survey said that Buff Orpingtons, Silkies, Dorkings and Ameraucanas tend to go broody easily. In the Survey of Chicken Breeds and Hybrids, Silkies, Aseels, Modern Games, Old English Games and Cochins were rated as best breeds for natural incubation.

Some of the comments people made when asked about other methods they’ve successfully used to encourage hens to go broody:

“I find just leaving wooden eggs in the nest will encourage nearly any hen who has broody ability. I don't even have to confine them. I do find that if I locate the nest box or house in a quiet, dim area, broodiness happens faster.”

“If a hen is not from a breed type for broodiness, she will not be inclined to set. When the seasonal conditions are right, the hen will set, and are difficult to discourage. To encourage, mark some eggs and leave them in the nest so she thinks there is an adequate clutch to set on. I rely on hens that are broody often and hatch eggs. Then the chicks usually grow up to be broody.”

2/16/2021 12:37:36 PM

I literally just read this, added 3 avocado pits to the broody zone I made that had 2 new eggs in it...and boom, a girl has stayed in there the past hour. Will be adding all their eggs (and maybe some quail eggs) and pray she keeps at it! Thanks!

4/29/2018 9:28:34 PM

Why won't my hen lay on her eggs she hasn't since this morning

8/27/2013 6:10:09 AM

Hi, I have a question regarding the problem I am facing. My aseel hen is almost 8 months old but not start laying eggs yet. But the hen sits on others eggs daily for sometime and then leave the eggs. Kindly tell me that whether my hen gets broody or will lay eggs or not.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters