Welcome Back Tilly

August 6, 2012
Tilly in the background

Finally after an almost record breaking eight and a half weeks of being broody, Tilly has emerged from its spell and is now taking back her place as head hen.  Sunshine who happily filled in during her absence has agreed that Tilly truly does make a better head hen.  It’s not too bad being second.  Plus, there are always lots of goodies and treats to go around for everyone no matter where you are in the pecking order.

Some people will try and break a hen from being broody because when they are broody they cease to lay eggs.  Some breeds go broody all the time, like my Silkies; especially Dolly.  Other breeds rarely go broody, this is because the instinct was bred out of them over the years.  To breeders, egg quantities over the instinct to rear chicks were more important.   Plus there were now incubators to do the job of the Mother Hen.  Some farmers will even cull hens that are broody as they are not seen as being a financial asset.

Only when their lives appear to be in danger from lack of eating and drinking would we ever consider breaking a hen.  With four Silkies we have broody hens all the time, for us, it is just a fact of life around here.  Dolly goes broody about every 3 weeks.  We always are sure to give them extra food and water with vitamins and electrolytes near the nesting boxes.  Plus broody hens truly make the best mothers.  In fact, if we had more room, we would have let her have some chicks to raise.  Under the cover of night, you can easily slip a few chicks underneath of them and create an instant family.

Interestingly, when Tilly was broody the Silkies were barely broody at all.  When one of the Silkies felt the urge to go broody, it never lasted longer than a day or two.   I would find that they had snapped out of it.  I guess having a nesting box next to Tilly was too much for them to handle.

Yesterday, when I went out in the afternoon to check for eggs, Tilly was perched up in the run on her favorite branch.  Inside the nesting boxes, I found all the Silkies piled on top of one another in the nesting boxes.  They all could not wait to be in there without Tilly.  This morning, Tilly was happy to be back to her regular self.  Autumn and Dolly are officially broody and I would not want it any other way for them.  Being broody is a big part of who they are, who am I to tell them not to do what comes natural?

A bit slimmer than before, she will gain back the weight in no time.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest


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10 thoughts on “Welcome Back Tilly”

  1. I completely agree with allowing a broody to brood an imaginary clutch!! I too have a perpetual broody, Jasmine. She's a Cochin Cross & is broody every other month from spring through fall. She's hatched out 3 clutches this year for me. I'd never think to break her maternal instinct!

  2. I'm a new chicken keeper and absolutely loving your site – I'm learning loads from your experiences already.. I only have 3 hybrids at the minute but hoping to get more as time goes on.

    Thanks for your website 🙂 xx

    • Welcome! I am so glad that you are here and finding our website useful. I am so glad to hear that you have embarked on your own adventure. Chickens are addictive and so much fun! Enjoy your hybrids 🙂

  3. I have a hen that is broody and has been so for about a month now. We can't have anymore chickens because we live in the city. I feel really baldy for our Spicy but am willing to wait it out. I've read that separating her from the other hens (we have 3 others) would break the broodiness, but I can't bring myself to do it. She just sits in her egg box. I hope it passes soon for her sake so she can be out and about with the other ladies.

    • I think as long as she is eating and drinking she should be fine. A bit of weight loss is normal. I too could not bear to remove her from her family. I completely agree with you. Fingers are crossed that it will pass soon for Spicy.

    • Yes! It was so exciting to find out that I had been recognized this past January. I could not believe it!! Thank you so much for letting me know again, you are so sweet 🙂


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.