Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 26 March 2009

A hormonal Violet Dorking hen

Violet Dorking has gone VERY broody in the last week :-(

She sits all day in the Eglu nest box and is very vocal and aggressive if you try to feel for eggs under her or move her off the nest....and if you DO move her she squats down and "nests" wherever she is....

I have dunked her bum in a bucket of icy water , to try to "snap" her out of being broody..I did this 3 times in the space of one day...but she is STILL broody.

I don't want her to hatch out chicks at the moment as I don't want any more young ones just now, also I have not yet organised the houses for any more chickens or where I will pen them in to be safe and have lots of space and NOT trash my garden!

I plan on putting the chickens out in a big pen in the wood, but not just NOW!

And I don't like the possible option of putting her on fake eggs and letting her sit on them. I don't really want to put her through that for no return of chicks to rear AND she will not lay eggs for a long time.

hm mm will have to put her in a wire bottomed broody pen next, I think!

This cools her "nether regions" down due to the air circulating around...and she has no access to nesting material so it helps to stop the brooding instinct..

She will still have food and water and shelter...just not be able to make a nest and brood in it.

Poor hormonal Violet hen! She only started laying 6 weeks ago so is a classic hormonal teenager....I DO feel sorry for her but I cannot afford to just leave her be as she is disrupting all the other Dorking girls, who also want to lay and sleep in the Eglu...

Sometimes I feel a bit too emotionally involved with my hens...(!) but I am their surrogate mum and *I* have to decide what is best for them all..

Gosh it is like being a parent to 12 teenages at the moment I suspect! ( probably not really but you get the gist of what I mean! ;-)


  1. Oh crap, is this what I have to look for? First splayed leg, now broody hens? I have a feeling my 27 chicks are going to teach me a lot that I never knew before...

    PS: Going to check out your post on composting right now. :)

  2. She is determined to be a young mother isn't she? Pretty chicken, even if she is being a bit of a pain.

  3. I used to really fret when one of mine went broody. Nothing I tried ever seemd to work either.

    Now, after 13 years of hen-keeping, I just shrug and let them get on with it. It stresses them less.

    I currently have one who has been broody for 5 weeks. The other 11 simply barge in and lay in with her and I remove the eggs every day (she keeps them clean!).

    Uually they stop after about 3 weeks (their usual incubation period). Any more and one can safely conclude that they are dim!

  4. Yes, I have stopped hens in the past by a dunk in a cold bath or by putting in a broody house, but Violet Dorking seems particularly determined to stay broody...so I shall just leave her to it I think. The other dorkings are laying on top of her with no apparent problems, so apart from the mangled squarking Violet is making ( which is ear splittingly nasty!) I am not too worried...

  5. hmmmmm. what a situation, teens what to do with them.... I'll be watching to see how this turns out.


  6. She is certainly determined! Just out of interest, have any of your ex batts ever gone broody?
    Karen x

  7. Well I certainly wouldn't want to get hormonal around your place. The thought of you dunking my nether regions in ice water - well I'm speachless. LOL

    Seriously though, I hope she is feeling better soon.


  8. One of my wyandottes went broody a couple of weeks back,I ummed & ahhed but yesterday got 6 light sussex fertilised eggs under her & moved her to the broody coop out the way. We will eat what hatches so only have an increase in hens/cockerals for a few months. I was tempted to go for Sassos but then really heard how much they eat,great scott!!!!


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