Do Plymouth Rock Chickens Go Broody?

Plymouth Rock chickens are one of the more popular breeds and for a good reason! 

These are productive birds (especially in egg production) and fit in with almost any flock. 

But if you’ve asked around, you may have heard other poultry farmers complain about how they go broody. 

Do Plymouth Rock chickens go broody, and is this really such a problem?

Key Takeaway:

Plymouth Rock chickens do go broody fairly often. Going broody means the hen feels the need to stay on her nest and protect her eggs, denying herself the normal amount of food and water. Broody hens are also cranky and peck at people who move them or mess with their nests. 

Broodiness isn’t always a problem, but good pet chicken owners like you and I need to know the facts about it and how to manage it. 

do plymouth rock chickens go broody

Plymouth Rock Broodiness

The Plymouth Rock is considered the ideal among the breeds of chicken for farms because of its docile personality. 

Hens typically lay their first egg between 18 and 20 weeks of age.

The average Plymouth Rock lays approximately 4-5 eggs per week, or around 200 eggs yearly.

Watch for Broodiness

Farmers with experience and knowledge of chicken behavior know when a chicken is beginning to go broody.

This behavior change can’t be missed.

Here are some of the signs of broodiness:

  • Sitting on the nest even if it doesn’t have eggs on it
  • Not leaving the nest except to quickly eat and drink before returning to it
  • Pecking at your hand when you remove an egg from her nest
  • Stretching out over the nest even when the hen hasn’t laid any eggs yet

Plymouth Rock Hens Take Motherhood Seriously

Plymouth Rock hens are good mothers who are devoted to their future chicks.

They focus all of their energy on incubating their eggs. 

They will even sit on unfertilized eggs which never hatch.

It takes 21 days for the chicks to develop and hatch from their shells from the day of conception.

Other broody hens often steal one or more eggs another hen has laid. 

Farmers sometimes separate the first broody hen from the others, so this doesn’t happen.

Experienced backyard farmers have seen hens displaying unusual behavior if several hens are brooding at the same time.

Broody hens may pile on top of each other. 

There is a lot of competition for eggs to fill their empty nests.

Move the broody hen to her place where she can care for her eggs.

The hen may have a small, fenced-in area away from the others who attempt to steal her eggs. 

This eliminates cracked eggs.

Some people use dog crates to protect the hen and her eggs.

Giving your mother hen her own space to care for her chicks after they hatch is a good idea too.

Providing ample clean water and plenty of food for brooding hens is critical. 

They won’t always go get it for themselves, so making cool water close and available at all times will help them stay healthy. 

Plymouth Rock chickens will sit on an egg that isn’t their own. 

They will also care for orphan chicks.

How to Encourage Broodiness in Plymouth Rocks

There are some circumstances when you want to encourage broodiness in your chickens. 

You never know when you need a willing friend to sit on a nest.

One reason is if you have some fertilized eggs needing sitting by a hen, but the mother hen is unavailable.

Some breeds don’t go broody often. 

In this case, your eggs will be abandoned. 

It also comes down to individual personality. 

If you want to encourage a hen to go broody, place artificial eggs in her nest.

Then, replace these with the fertilized eggs when the hen is interested in setting on the nest.

Broody hens are great mothers from when they lay their eggs until the chicks leave the nest. 

The chicken’s careful care ensures more healthy chicks for your backyard farm.

Stopping Broodiness in a Brooding Hen

Just as we sometimes need to encourage broodiness, there are also times when we need to stop a hen from being broody.

This is usually true if you know there are no fertilized eggs in her nest or if you’re worried about the chicken’s health. 

Here are a few ways to stop this behavior while being kind to your chickens:

  1. Gather the eggs from the hen’s nest as soon as possible. Keep the nest empty or only allow one or two eggs to discourage brooding.
  2. Cool down your hen’s body temperature by giving her a cool shower on her breast feathers. This helps to stop brooding behavior.
  3. Don’t allow the brooding hen into your nesting area. Keep the door closed and make sure she doesn’t enter.

Temperament of Plymouth Rock Hens

Plymouth Rock hens are very calm and trusting. 

If you put your hand under her nest, she will not be disturbed, especially if she knows you.

Their calm behavior leads them to be good with children. 

Plymouth Rock Chickens like to be picked up and given attention by humans.

A flock of chickens may even follow you around the chicken yard as you do different chores on the farm. 

Farmers say they are curious animals with distinct personalities.

Some backyard chicken keepers even say they become lap chickens over time!

This chicken breed doesn’t cluck and make as much noise as louder species.

Further Reading: Plymouth Rock Friendliness And Aggression

More About Plymouth Rock Chickens

Plymouth Rock chickens have been crossbred with 4 other breeds. 

They were very popular during WW2, when troops needed eggs and meat for maximum strength.

The end of WW2 resulted in fewer farm-bred Plymouth Rocks. 

Mass production of eggs and meat from chickens became the norm to feed the growing population.

Plymouth Rock eggs are large in size and brown in color. 

They have a delicious flavor, and the backyard chickens consistently produce eggs for about 3 years.

Most adult chickens lay fewer eggs after the 3-year mark. 

Many chickens lay fewer eggs in the winter, but the Plymouth Rock lays eggs year-round. 

Though, if it’s really cold, they may skip laying a couple of times. 

Read more: Plymouth Rock Chicken Egg Growth Rates

Appearance of the Plymouth Rock Chicken

There are several types of Plymouth Rock Chickens, but the one we have been describing is the Barred Rock.

Barred Rocks have a beautiful pattern of black and white stripes, giving them their unique appearance.

The White Plymouth Rock is another variety of this American breed with some variation in color from the Barred. 

They have (you guessed it) more white! 

This breed of chicken still features a meaty body, single comb, and high egg production. 

Fewer farms had Plymouth Rock chickens after WW2, but today’s popularity for homesteads and backyard animals has boosted the number of these chickens living on small farms.

They’re friendly chickens from when they’re baby chicks to adulthood. 

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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