Cluckingham by Name, Cluckingham by Nature

Many of you will know that our chook house is called Cluckingham Palace.  My son Ben and I built it a few years ago with a bit of help from Kim.

Over the last few weeks, I believe that it is a most apt name.  Kim has named some of them the Broody Bunch for a very good reason!

Clucky Chickens

So lets catch them in the act, shall we.  As I slowly lift the lid on the nesting box, loud clucking and squawking emanates from within.  They are not very happy to see me.

Clucky Chickens

Now if I have told them once, I have told them at least 21 times, ONE clucky chook per nesting box!  Why don’t they listen?

You can see that the two leghorns and a single ISA brown are all trying to squeeze into a single nesting box to lay on imaginary eggs.  This is the first time I have seen an ISA Brown get clucky.  I didn’t think it was in their DNA, but this one proved me wrong.

I have been collecting the eggs daily in a feeble attempt to discourage their broodiness.  It is not working.

I learnt long ago to not worry about trying to break the broody cycle and just let nature get on with the job.  When they are hungry, they eat. When thirsty, they drink.  No big deal.

Clucky Pekin Bantam

As well as these three girls, we have another broody pint sized girl, who has been sitting for about the same amount of time.  Jane, the Pekin Bantam has been at it for about 10 days.  How do I know this?  Well yesterday I liberated nine large ISA brown eggs from underneath her fluffy bum!  Obviously they were not her eggs, but those of Edwina II who she shares the run with.

Once retrieved, I tested the eggs with the float method, I gave the older, vertical floating eggs to the dogs, and kept the fresher eggs for us.

What is the float method I hear you ask?  Well, here is a graphic that explains it all.  I use this test when I am uncertain about the eggs age.

Just use fresh, cool water in a sink which is much better than a bucket, and easier.  By the way, the horizontal floaters really stink!  Rotten egg gas galore.

Due to the Broody Bunch, egg production is down, but the remainder of the flock are still laying enough to keep us in wholesome food.   They will all snap out of it soon enough, especially as I keep taking the eggs.  I just keep an eye on the girls, turfing them out of the nesting boxes if I think they need something to eat or drink when it is hot.

Chickens will be chickens I suppose.

Who else has clucky chooks at the moment?  Do you try and break the cycle or just leave them be?


  1. down the road in sunbury says

    My 2 girls, noodle and soup, (one year old bantams) haven’t laid for weeks and weeks, they seem happy enough, my only distress is I have been forced to buy eggs. I wonder how a young isa brown would go introduced? I don’t have the room to separate them into a separate pen as the other side of the house has ducks that won’t put up with chickens

    • Gavin Webber says

      Hi Sunbury (don’t know your name, sorry)

      Yes, we have an ISA brown hen in with the bantams. Just introduce the larger hen at night into the coop and they will be fine. Mine are all best friends even thought the bantam is the boss!

      Best of luck, Gav

  2. Cherryl says

    Hi Gavin,
    We had one broody chicken, she was very protective of her nesting box. We added a covered ice pak (like we use in the esky), refreshing it every couple of hours and after a couple of days, she was back to her usual self. We got this idea from a blog about domestic chicken keeping and it works! No more broody grumpy girls and the other three girls are happy to have their old ‘Barb’ back. We have had chickens for the last couple of years and this was the first time that this had happened.

  3. says

    We do usually try to ‘break’ our broodies (no roo here) as I hate to see them lose that much condition on a futile exercise. We have always found a couple days in a sin bin (bare cage ) does the trick but this summer have had our first truly stubborn girl.She has won this battle and been given 2 babies to look after. She is ridiculously happy and it has been a joy to watch her looking after them. Just hope she doesn’t expect babies every time though or we will be overrun!

  4. Anonymous says

    hi Gavin
    I set my 3 broody chooks up with eggs yesterday. I had been trying to stop one of them (Cheeky) being broody for the last 2 weeks with no luck
    as I have roosters I have (hopefully) fertile eggs. I don’t need any more chicks but this time I have given in to the forces of 2 week broody pecked me so hard so often my right fore arm was bruised and people noticed the bruising
    I have seen my ISAs sitting for some hours on an egg but they soon give up. though Cheeky is part ISA and has gone broody quite a few times. she had one other attempt at hatching and sat there for the whole 3 weeks but cracked 2 eggs getting on and off the nest and the others weren’t fertilised so no babies for her first attempt
    Claire in Kalorama

  5. says

    Hi Gav, I usually leave them sit but I still take the eggs, most of mine let me take them except my Wyandotte she is a complete cow.I have to try distract her one side then pinch the eggs from the other side before she pecks me.
    Great chart I will save that one.

  6. says

    Looks like your chart is a winner. Ive printed it out and will put it on the back of the pantry door. I miss my girls but im able to visit them, so all good. Thanks Gav.

  7. says

    We have broodies at the moment too but no mature rooster. There are heaps of nesting boxes so that’s not a problem but I also have both girl ducks sitting nests and they are mega vicious. Mandy we know from old but her daughter is a whole new level of nasty overprotective mother. I had to clear a couple of eggs that had been kicked out of the box – the chooks lay in the duck box when they can – and i had to hold both the ducks off with foot and bucket. Yang got under my guard, jumped and did her best to rip out an eye! I have a red mark n the cheek thanks to her but fortunately I still have both eyes. They’re tag teaming on 6 or so eggs at the moment but given the smell in there yesterday I don’t know that they’re all fertile.
    Out of 2 silkies and 4 dorkings I think I have 2 silkies and 2 dorkings broody or not yet back on the lay. We are very short on eggs. :(

  8. says

    You don’t want chicks? I just leave mine to get through it although they are handy when I want someone to adopt baby chicks.

    • says

      Hi tpals, not really. I could get fertilised eggs, but they are so off and on that they wouldn’t sit for the entire 21 days. Besides, I don’t have a rooster (not allowed where I live).


  9. says

    We had two clucky girls recently. We left them for a while, but one was really vicious and would draw blood when I tried to get the eggs from under her, so hubby put them in separate pens with no nests, just food and water. A few days later we released them and were no longer broody :)

    • says

      I give them a pat on the bottom each morning, and whilst they protest, they move to the water, then straight back into the nesting box. No big deal.

      Gav x

  10. says

    Great chart, will be so useful when I find secret stashes of eggs around the garden. I have had three broody at once, out of four,and the non broody couldn’t get in to lay her egg – we found them in random places all over the garden, including on paths and the floor of the carport, it was as if she had dropped them on her way somewhere. This is the second time in about three moths they have gone broody, does that sound odd.?

    • says

      I forget to mention that I found a stash of eggs in a dark spot on their run that has 7 eggs because the other hens couldn’t get a spot in a nesting box. Had to throw a few of those in the compost bin as well.

      thanks for the reminder!


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