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Do Rhode Island Reds Go Broody? (Tips For The Breed)

rhode island red hen brooding

There are definitely certain breeds of chickens that have a significantly higher rate of going broody when compared to other breeds. Perhaps you’re raising a variety of hens that tend to go broody often and you’re thinking about diversifying your flock with a breed that doesn’t go broody as often.

If that’s the case, you might have considered the Rhode Island Red and wondered if Rhode Island Reds go broody.

In this article we’ll take a look at the broodiness of Rhode Island Red hens, if they go broody and how often, as well as a few tips on how to break them if they do in fact go broody on you.

Related: How To Raise Rhode Island Red Chickens

Do Rhode Island Reds Go Broody?

Rhode Island Reds are not known for being broody very often. With that said, all breeds of chickens will have hen’s that will brood. But in general, Rhode Island Reds do not go broody often.

Why Rhode Island Reds Don’t Go Broody Often

Broodiness is not a desirable trait among egg sellers because it disrupts production. So broodiness has been bred out of most commercial lines of most breeds, including Rhode Island Reds.

Through selection, hens that showed signs of broodiness were never included in the breeding process, while only those hens that did not go broody were chosen to breed. Eventually, the majority of the strain exhibited no broodiness or desire to brood.

But, no matter how hard they try, a broody hen appears every now and then. Nature is amusing in this way. Even sex links, the pinnacle of commercial hens, have been known to go broody on rare occasions.

Do Rhode Island Reds Go Broody

How To Tell If Your Rhode Island Red Is Broody

There are some tell-tale signs that your hen is in a mood. If you’ve never witnessed this phenomenon, here are some signs that your hen is biologically ready to give birth.

  • Your hen will spend the entire day and night in her nest. In the evening, she will not even perch on the roost with the rest of the flock.
  • She will puff out her feathers and cluck, squawk, or growl at you as you approach the nest.
  • When you try to retrieve the eggs beneath her, your normally docile hen may try to peck at you.
  • Feathers may be found in the nest. This is where she plucks out her breast or belly feathers to ensure that her body heat warms the eggs.
  • Your hen will be hoarding her own eggs and even rolling eggs from other hens under her body.

Read More: How To Tell If a Hen Is Broody

What To Do If Your Rhode Island Red Goes Broody

When you notice that one of your hens has decided to brood, you have two choices. One, you can leave her alone and allow her to go through her brooding cycle naturally, or, you can try to break her from her broodiness.

If you decide to help her break her broodiness, here are a few things that you can do.

Remove Her From The Nest

Depending on the hen’s tenacity, breaking her of her broody behavior may be as simple as picking her up and tossing her into the yard with the other hens.

If you catch her early enough in the brooding process, you may be able to toss her out of the nest several times over the course of a couple of days to break the cycle.

If she immediately returns to the nest, try putting her under your arm and walking around with her for a few minutes to distract her. You’re creating a “out of sight, out of mind” effect and allowing her hormones to settle.

Block the Nesting Box

If you remove the nesting box for a few days, the hen may decide she no longer wants to be broody. Rhode Island Red hens who are brooding can be fickle, and if the conditions for nesting are not favorable, she may decide that now is not the time to hatch her chicks.

If you have multiple nesting boxes, keep an eye out for her transferring to another box and hatching eggs in someone else’s box. Her instincts may be strong enough to pursue more than one location for egg hatching.

Temporary Solitary Confinement or Isolation

You can keep your hen in a cage with food and water by using a wire cage or a dog crate. If you put any bedding in the cage, she will build a nest and remain broody.

By suspending the cage, you can further reduce her proclivity to brood. This will make the cage drafty and reduce the desire for hatching eggs even more.

A chicken’s body temperature rises during brooding, and some believe that lowering the hen’s temperature can help stop the process.

Rhode Island Red Facts

OriginDeveloped by crossing the Java and Brown Leghorn chicken breeds.
TemperamentDocile and Active
Egg ColorBrown
Egg SizeLarge
Egg Production200-300 eggs per year
WeightHen: 6 1/2 lbs
Rooster: 8 1/2 lbs
Pullet: 5 1/2 lbs
Cockerel: 7 1/2 lbs
Primary PurposeEgg production and pet
Secondary PurposeMeat production
Lifespan8 years on average
VarietiesSingle Comb, Rose Comb
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