Mother hen

Photo by Barbara DuVall

When selecting a broody hen, you want a hen that will be a good setter and a good mother.  Our Facebook fans helped us come up with these lists of desirable traits and behaviors.

A hen with good brooding, or setting traits …

  • is protective of her nest and eggs,
  • is not easily discouraged from setting,
  • and will not quit the nest before the eggs hatch.

A hen with good mothering traits …

  • knows where her chicks are at all times,
  • teaches them to forage and dust bathe,
  • protects her chicks against predators,
  • is attentive to her chicks,
  • nurtures her chicks,
  • teaches her chicks to eat,
  • will accept and care for chicks that she did not hatch,
  • and protects her chicks from the rest of the flock.

What Are Your Thoughts?

What are the traits, instincts, or behaviors that you most look for in a good broody hen? And in a mother hen?  Which breeds have you found to be the best setters? And the best mothers?