Oh, broody hens. Those moody, squawking, biting little balls of joy sitting in the corner of your coop, refusing to move off that clutch of eggs. All your broody hen wants is to hatch chicks, would it be so bad if you let her?
Broody hens can be the bane of your chicken-keeping existence, but they don’t have to be. Sure, they refuse to provide you with farm fresh eggs for a month. Sure, they do nothing all day but sit on a nest, but they can also magically nurture that nest of eggs and turn them from breakfast to baby chicks! And they’ll raise them for you too!
We know it can be annoying to have a hen that goes broody, but it can also be wonderful. Having the opportunity to hatch chicks and have someone else take care of them afterward is just one of the many benefits of a broody hen.
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Our friend Teri from Homestead Honey wrote a great post on letting broody hens hatch their chicks. We’ve hatched chicks with broody hens many times and much prefer it to the incubator. If your hen is going to be broody anyway, why not let her be productive too?
Here’s an excerpt from the post:
“On our homestead, as on many, the arrival of chicks marks the true beginning of spring. We adore their fluffy sweetness, they bring great excitement to the homestead, and most importantly, they increase our chicken numbers. In past years we expanded our flock by purchasing day-old chicks. However, with our solar electric system, the heat lamps necessary for raising young chicks are not really an option.
Last year, we got started pullets and six week old ducklings, but by far, the easiest, least expensive and most sustainable way of growing our flock is by letting our broody hens hatch her own chicks.”
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