When Good Hens Go Bad

David Trammel's picture

If you keep hens, but no roosters, you may run into the problem many call "Going Clucky". This is the behavior when a hen decides its time to sit on her eggs and hatch a few. Since there is no rooster to fertilize the egg, she's not going to get any chicks. More importantly, this behavior disrupts the flock. Other hens will become distressed, trying to avoid the clucking hen. They may stop laying eggs themselves, or cluck too. If you see this behavior you need to stop it quick.

You can just get a few fertile eggs, swap the ones she has now, and let her hatch them. This will calm her down but it may still affect the rest of the hens. If you don't want a bunch of new chicks then do this.

(copyright Hannah Moloney, https://goodlifepermaculture.com.au/)

Step One: Remove the hen to a safe and secure location, away from the rest of the hens. She should be segregated from other animals like pets.

Step Two: Put her in a small enclosure. A milk crate is good, though put a weight, like a large rock or concrete brick on top so she can't overturn it and escape. I would recommend putting the crate on a small wooden pallet so that her poop can go thru and to the soil, and that you can move the milk crate to another area if the ground under it gets too soiled. This helps when you want to scoop up the chick poop too.

Step Three: Don't provide her with any bedding or straw to nest on. This will just keep her clucking.

Step Four: Provide her with water and food. The milk crate is good for this, since it have large opening in the side she can stick her head thru. The milk crate is going to be too small for the food to be inside. You may need to cut a bigger opening if your milk crate doesn't have one big enough. Make sure what you cut, isn't so big she can get thru it.

Step Five: Leave the hen for a few days. Release her and see what she does. If she heads right back to the hen house, then she's not ready. Return her to the milk crate for another 24 hours. If she goes out with the rest of the flock and starts foraging, then she's ready to be released.

This may seem a bit harsh but what is even more harsh is for you to loose your egg production.

(Here is a good post on this: https://goodlifepermaculture.com.au/how-to-un-cluck-your-clucky-chook/)