Do White Leghorns Go Broody?

Do White Leghorns Go Broody_

Do White Leghorn Hens Go Broody?

If you’ve ever asked the question, “Do White Leghorns go broody?” here’s some insight from my homestead. I’ve had a number of White Leghorn hens over the years and none of them have gone broody, until now! I definitely have a broody White Leghorn hen in my chicken coop so I know that some White Leghorn hens do go broody.

What are the best breeds of broody hens for a self-sufficient flock?

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Broodiness vs Egg Production

White Leghorns have been selectively bred over the years to lay a LOT of eggs. Broodiness is not advantageous to productive egg laying.

Hens that go broody stop laying eggs once they have a clutch in their nest. Their instinct is to lay enough eggs in a short period of time so that the chicks will all hatch around the same time. It also allows the hen to set on the nest for 21 days without getting up often to eat and drink. Leaving the nest often chills the embryos and can lead to a low hatch rate.

For these reasons, broodiness isn’t a sought after quality in high production laying hens. However, each chicken is a unique individual, and some revert back to instincts we don’t expect from their breed.

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White Leghorns Are Heritage Layers

White Leghorns are one of the best white egg layers and were the industry standard until the California White hybrid was developed. These hybrids lay more eggs and require less feed than the White Leghorn.

However, White Leghorns are still, by far, the best heritage breed of laying hen for producing white eggs. My current flock of 4 White Leghorn hens and 1 rooster produces 4 large eggs almost every day. Every other week or so I will only find 3 eggs in the nest.

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She isn’t very photogenic, is she?

My Experience with a Broody White Leghorn

With the unexpected broody hen in my coop, I’ve been wondering what to do? I’ve always wanted a broody hen to raise chicks the old fashioned way. But it’s December! And right now I would rather have more eggs and no chicks. 

Each day I go out to the chicken coop and gently move the broody hen off of the nest to collect the eggs. She takes that opportunity to eat, drink and get a bit of exercise…and the next day she is right back on the nest. This has been going on for about 3 weeks. 

With the cold weather we’re having, it’s kind of nice to have her setting on the eggs. I haven’t had a single egg freeze and crack, despite the freezing temperatures in the coop!

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Better Luck In The Spring…

Maybe if she is still determined to set on a clutch of eggs, I’ll let her try setting and hatching out some chicks in the spring. Since White Leghorns have had brooding and mothering instincts bred out, it seems unlikely that she’ll succeed. But I’m willing to give her a chance when the weather is warmer.

Do you have a white leghorn hen that is broody? Share your experience in the comments!

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6 Comments on “Do White Leghorns Go Broody?

  1. My one leghorn insisted on laying ontop of my broody hen everyday. Now she is broody! but I feel she is unsure. I lift her out and she usually stays out, maybe one more time she tries to stay in. It is HOT! I don’t want her being broody all day in the hot coop either and I already have the first broody mom and chicks in the dog house. 🙂 I hope she gives up.

    1. Hi Deana,
      That is a tricky situation. You could try putting her in a cage with a few eggs to see if she will set, or you could keep taking her off and maybe remove her from the coop?

  2. Hello I have two broody leghorns currently. That are still laying because the nest is always increasing and others lay there eggs there too. One was the original and the other one started shortly after her pulling a copy cat thing. Yesterday I tried to move one because its been over 21 days so i.figured it did not work but a little yellow head and a peep happend. I am hopeful and optimistic there is more than one but we shall find out soon ennougg and I hope they are good mothers.

    1. How exciting! Best wishes with your mama hens and their hatchlings, Anika!
      A friend of mine told me that one of her best broody hens and mothers was a white leghorn. 🙂

  3. Thanks for contributing to the Homestead Blog Hop! Very interesting that you’ve got a broody leghorn, didn’t know that could happen 🙂

    1. I never expected it either, Lesa. Now I have to pick her up to gather the eggs every day. She is not giving up easily!

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