Tackling an aggressive broody
Q My Transylvanian Naked Neck went broody after laying for a month. She had been storing up a nest of eggs in a nest box. She shares this box with her sister and now every time her sister goes in and lays an egg, our broody hen rolls it under herself with the rest. She’s intimidating as she growls and pecks towards me if I get close, but should I let her do that? What should I do? A Julie Moore says: Leaving a broody to hatch eggs in a nest box poses significant challenges as you’ve already found out.
You should mark all the eggs that you want to hatch with an ‘X’ in pencil. This way, you will know which eggs are for hatching and which eggs have been laid by other hens. Check under the broody daily and remove any unmarked eggs.
Some broody hens are so intent on becoming a mother, they neglect their own health. You should ensure that your broody leaves her nest twice a day to feed, drink and poo — you’ll find that she will instinctively return to her nest quickly. This will also give you the opportunity to remove any unmarked eggs from the nest.
ABOVE: My broody Transylvanian Naked Neck shares a nest box with her sister. RIGHT: Mark all eggs that you want to hatch with an ‘X’ in pencil so that you know which eggs are for hatching and which eggs have been laid by other hens.