When I was growing up, I understood that the term broody meant moody, pouty, or focused on something internally.
Now that I own chickens I have found that definition to still be correct, with just a little addition.
Let me explain..
I have a barred rock hen who is the smallest hen in my flock. She is also the toughest. She has to be, hens can be pretty mean to each other. Rockie was named by Steve, when I brought her home as a one day old chick. The name reflects Steve’s wild imagination (ok maybe not). But the name stuck as she became the feisty girl that she is. She is first to the table, and the first to go “broody”.
Actually, when referring to hens, broody means that the hen wants to sit on, and hatch some eggs. Even though the eggs in my chicken yard are not fertile (I have no rooster); Rockie is sitting on the nest, and will not move. The other hens try to lay their eggs in that nest, and she fights them off. Can you see the eggs that have been laid next to the nest? When I approach her; she fluffs herself up like a turkey. She is trying to appear larger, and scarier than she really is. She growls at me (moody and pouty), but does not peck at me. I just pick her up, and force her to go to the area where I feed the girls. She will eat, then fluff herself up again, and “zombie trance-like” ignore everything else in order to get back to the nest (focused, very focused).
A friend of mine gave me a couple of fertile eggs. So I marked them, and put them in the nest. Rockie is laying own eggs as well (which I remove) and she is dutifully taking care of these. I hope that she is rewarded for her efforts. Until then, I will collect any unfertile eggs that my hens lay, and make sure that Rockie eats everyday.