The Black Australorp is a heritage breed of chicken from Australia and is the honorary national bird there.
These beautiful birds have a striking appearance with fluffy, iridescent black feathers and bright red combs and wattles.
Black Australorps are common in backyard flocks because they are decent meat birds, consistent egg layers, and have a quiet, friendly nature.
This breed of chicken will produce up to 250-300 large, light brown eggs annually and starts laying at around 5-7 months.
But are these amazing egg layers known to be broody?
The Black Australorp is considered to be a bird with average broodiness. Black Australorps raised for high production in hatcheries tend to be less broody than those raised on small farms. Generally, Black Australorp hens are known to be excellent mothers to their baby chicks.
These Australian chickens are more likely to be broody during the spring and summer months.
Broodiness is not typically a concern unless you depend on the hen’s egg production or her health begins to decline.
Keep reading to learn the signs of a broody Black Australorp hen and how to stop the behavior if necessary.
Signs of a Broody Black Australorp Hen
It is usually not difficult to spot a broody Black Australorp hen, even if you are new to chicken keeping.
The hen will display several signs of brooding, and the behavior may last for almost one month.
Monitor your hen’s health during broodiness to ensure she is still eating and staying hydrated.
The Hen Will Not Leave Her Eggs
Once your Black Australorp chicken becomes broody, she will not move from her eggs until they are fully incubated and her clutch of chicks has hatched.
The incubation lasts around 28 days, slightly longer than the average chicken breed.
An Australorp hen will only leave her eggs to eat and drink.
Broody Black Australorps are one of the few chicken breeds that steal other hens’ eggs to incubate them.
You will notice your hen staying in the same spot in the nesting box day and night.
Further Reading: When do Black Australorp chickens lay eggs? And for how long?
The Hen Appears to Be a Larger Size
While Black Australorps are typically very large birds, a broody hen may appear to be an even larger size than usual.
The broody hen’s larger appearance is due to her fluffed-up feathers, especially near the tail.
The Hen’s Poop Will Be Large
Another way to tell your Black Australorp hen is broody is by observing her feces.
Broody Black Australorp hens tend to leave large piles of poop compared to hens who are not broody.
The larger piles of poop are likely due to the broody hen waiting longer to defecate because she is unwilling to leave her eggs.
Her Comb and Wattle May Be Lighter
Black Australorp hens usually have bright red combs and wattles.
A dark comb and wattle are a sign of good chicken health.
Broody hens may have slightly lighter combs and wattles.
This color change may be attributed to a lack of nutrients since the broody hen will eat less to stay with her eggs.
Pay attention to your Black Australorp hen’s behavior if her comb and wattle are lighter than usual.
Australorps are a hardy breed, so as long as the hen displays other signs of broodiness, a lighter comb and wattle are generally nothing to be concerned about.
However, if your hen has other symptoms, such as lethargy or rapid weight loss, she may have a chicken illness.
If you suspect you are dealing with a sick chicken, seek veterinary care for a proper diagnosis.
She May Peck or Cluck at You
These giant backyard layers are very protective of their eggs.
Black Australorp hens are typically very quiet and docile, but it is not uncommon for them to defend their unborn baby chicks.
Your broody hen may peck or cluck loudly if you come close to her nest.
The hen may also peck at other chickens who get too close to her.
Further Reading: How Noisy Are Australorp Chickens?
What Happens if a Hen Stays Broody?
If your Black Australorp hen is sitting on unfertilized eggs because there is no rooster in the flock, she may stay broody for much longer than she is supposed to.
Broodiness lasting for more than one month may have serious health consequences for a hen.
Black Australorp hens are active birds, but a broody hen will only leave her nest once or twice a day to eat, drink, and defecate.
This routine is sustainable for the hen for a short time, but prolonged broody behavior will cause her to become severely malnourished and dehydrated.
When the hen loses weight, she becomes more susceptible to parasites and other diseases.
Broody Australorp hens may also cause other hens to become broody.
If there are not enough nesting boxes for the entire flock of hens, they may lay their eggs in unusual places.
This leads to broken eggs and an overall decrease in egg production.
Hens do not lay eggs after becoming broody, and it may take up to eight weeks for her to begin laying again.
A flock of hens becoming broody is not ideal if you depend on these amazing egg layers to provide lots of eggs.
How To Keep a Black Australorp from Being Broody
If your Black Australorp hen is suffering from health issues because she is broody or if you are relying on steady egg production, you may need to interfere.
When a hen is broody for a prolonged period, it will take longer to break her from it and for her to begin laying eggs again.
Remove the Eggs
Removing the eggs from the nest as soon as they are laid may prevent a hen from going broody, but it is not always guaranteed.
If any eggs are left in other nesting boxes, a Black Australorp hen may steal them for herself to sit on.
You may need to close off the nesting boxes if your Black Australorp hen remains broody even after the eggs have been removed.
Remove the Broody Hen From the Coop
Another method to break a hen of broodiness is to remove her from the chicken coop entirely.
This must be done carefully if you live in a hot and humid climate, as Black Australorps are somewhat sensitive to hot temperatures for long periods.
The broody hen must be placed in an elevated wire-bottom cage without bedding.
Ensure the hen has plenty of food and water, and provide shade for her in sunny, hot weather since these black birds are susceptible to heatstroke.
This sparse environment will discourage the hen from sitting on her eggs.
It is not recommended to keep the broody hen separated from the flock for more than three days to avoid any behavioral issues when she returns to the flock.
Keep the Hen’s Stomach Cool
Cold temperatures on the hen’s belly will prevent her from wanting to sit for a long time and discourage broodiness.
Some farmers place a bag of frozen vegetables, ice, or cool water under their hens when they become broody.
This method is typically a last resort because it is unpleasant for these sweet birds.
How To Know When Your Hen is Not Broody
You will know your hen is no longer broody when she begins walking around with the rest of the flock.
The hen’s eating and drinking habits will also return to normal.
If you return your Black Australorp hen to the flock and she immediately runs to her nest in the coop, you may need to separate her for three more days.
Read next: Can Australorp chicks be sexed?