How to Break Up Your Broody Ducks & Geese
Ducks become broody when their hormones tell them it is time to sit on their eggs. If you want your birds to hatch and raise their own, this is good news, but if you want them to continue laying, this is not good news as once a duck becomes broody, it stops laying eggs.
How do you know if your bird is broody? She spends much more time on the nest and refuses to leave if you try to remove her. She may put more of her feathers in the nest or she tucks her head lower when she is off the nest or complains more when she is disturbed.
How to Break Up a Broody Bird:
1) If you have other nests, destroy her nest as well as the nests close it so your broody bird cannot get back and sit. To discourage her from attempting to make another nest, make sure there are no materials around for her to use to make a new nest.
2) Another alternative is to put a freezer pack or two in the nest. The cold will persuade her she should not be sitting there.
3) If she continues being broody, put her in a new, smaller pen within the same pen she was in. You do not want to move her to completely new surroundings as then she will definitely stop laying. She needs to be in sight of her pen mates so she is not stressed.
4) If she immediately becomes broody in the new pen, remove all bedding so she is on a concrete, wood or plastic floor.
5) If this is a big problem in your flock, you may want to make a separate broody pen for this purpose. Line it with concrete and put in ½” of water. This will definitely stop the broodiness.
6) Typically it only takes 3-5 days of “treatment” to break the broodiness. You can then re-introduce her to her pen mates.
7) If you are concerned that she might quickly return to broodiness, mark her with a dab of paint before you put her back in with her pen mates. This way if she becomes broody again you will know you are dealing with the same bird.
Some breeds are more susceptible to broodiness than others. We personally find Rouens, Cayugas and Sebastopol geese to be very broody at our farm whereas Runners seem least susceptible. In reality though, any bird can become broody. You need to be vigilant when dealing with broody females if egg generation is important to you. Broody ducks mean less egg production and possible ducklings on the way!