We have two chickens, Charlotte is a Buff Orpington, and Moon is a Silverlace Wyandotte. Apparently, Buff Orpingtons are known for being good mothers. We are not sure what caused it, but after a get together at our place for crabs and a combined barbecue the day after, Charlotte began brooding.
What is brooding? The answer in layman’s terms is when the chicken wants to be a mama, which she isn’t accomplishing due to no rooster to fertilize the eggs and she wants them hatched. The chicken begins brooding. She may lay in the nesting box all day. It really isn’t good for the chicken because she needs Vitamin D from the sun and she needs to get out and let the other chickens lay their eggs in the nesting box. It’s just like the way the word sounds, she can’t stop brooding.
My husband suggested that we ask a neighbor who raised Guinea hens if we could take some of their eggs for her to sit on. At the time, my neighbor didn’t have any eggs available. Weeks after the brooding ended she asked if the Charlotte still needed to lay because she had some eggs for her to sit on. Guinea hens aren’t very good mothers and won’t sit on the eggs. My neighbor usually takes the eggs inside the home and incubates them there.
Our solution to ending charlotte’s brooding: We put her in a wire dog crate and add a stick for her roost on. That way, there is air flowing around and under her. After only 2-3 days Charlotte was back to her old self. Charlotte was in a trance previously and would have sat in the nesting box with little to no water or food. I can tell it’s not healthy for her because her comb went from red to blue. Who knows how long she would have stayed there because those eggs would never hatch since they were never fertilized.
After 2 to 3 days, she returned to the coop with our other chicken Moon, and started laying eggs again soon thereafter.. Although, the first batch of eggs were very light in color likely due to her lack of nutritional intake.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had to deal with a chicken brooding. What approach did you use?