Like any other day, you go out to your chicken coop to collect eggs. There in the nesting box is one of your hens. Like usual, you slowly reach under her, but as you get close enough to touch her, she puffs out her feathers, spreads her wings slightly, and releases an ear-splitting screech.
Congratulations! You have a ‘broody hen’. That means she’s ready to ‘set on’ or hatch her ‘clutch’ of eggs. This behavior can continue for weeks to months. Sometimes hens lay so many eggs that there is no more room for more. A broody hen also plucks her own breast feathers to help warm the eggs.
If you decide to let her set, put her in a safe place. Make sure there is clean water and food near by, some hens are so ‘broody’ they forget to eat or drink. Be sure to keep any animal or yourself from getting to close, she will peck you intensively.
At my household, I have a ‘broody’ hen named Mean Girl. She is an Egyptian Fayoumi. Her clutch of 2 eggs hatched a month ago. There is nothing cuter than a hen and her chicks going out for their daily journey. Mean Girl shows her chicks how to act like real chickens.
While Mean Girl was ‘broody’ she exhibited all the signs you would expect. She earned the nickname, ‘Raptor Chicken’, based on the ‘Velociraptors’ in ‘Jurassic Park’. She guards her babies, makes sure they are accounted for, and always protects them. But if someone bothers her, it’s on! All I can say is, she is just doing her hen ‘duties’ and I understand that.