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Broodiness is a behavior exhibited by hens which causes them to cease laying eggs and display a strong desire to incubate eggs and hatch chicks. The behavior is often referred to commonly as a hen who has gone 'broody'. Broody hens will be seen spending every waking hour of the day sitting on her nest. Often, if the hen is picked up and placed somewhere else, she will fluff out her feathers and just proceed to nest in that very location for a few moments, before eventually making her way back to her nest.

How to tell if a hen is broody

Put an egg in front of her, a broody hen usually can't resist moving the egg underneath her.

Clinical Signs

Hen makes hissing and other annoyance noises if disturbed
Hen sits in nest for prolonged periods of time
Hen actively seeks out eggs to sit on


  • History
  • Clinical signs


No treatment is needed, just let her be.


Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Leaving eggs in nests
  • Breed - Certain breeds have a predisposition to be frequently broody. Silkies and Cochins are well known for their broody behavior, and reputation for being excellent mothers to newly hatched chicks.