When to put hen in ‘sin bin’

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QWhat are the dan­gers of just let­ting my broody sit? And what hap­pens if the eggs don’t hatch for any rea­son? A Vic­to­ria says: A hen is pro­grammed to be broody un­til eggs hatch, this can be 21 days if chicken eggs, 28 days if duck, guinea fowl or turkey eggs or around 32 days for goose eggs. She changes from be­ing broody to be­ing in rear­ing mode (ma­ter­nal) at the sound of cheep­ing from eggs. She can­not count the days! It is un­fair on the hen to let her sit for weeks on end as her mus­cles will at­ro­phy, lice and mites could be a prob­lem and may re­sult in death. It is very dif­fi­cult in­deed to re­store good health to a hen which has gone down­hill from be­ing broody for too long, so it is detri­men­tal to her welfare to “just let her sit” without ei­ther giv­ing her eggs to hatch or break­ing her from brood­i­ness by us­ing a sin bin (wire crate with food and wa­ter) for about 14 days or at least un­til she stops cluck­ing. If the eggs don’t hatch – in­fer­tile, got cold/rot­ten – then once they are taken away and she is trans­ferred to the sin bin she will come back into lay in 2-3 weeks.

Don’t let a broody hen sit for too long

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