I have several EE hens and one Rooster. They were all born last spring (2011).
We have been happily eating the eggs the girls give us, but almost 3 weeks ago, one of the hens pecked me and wouldn't get up when I went to pick eggs.
I figured we might as well give it a go and just let her sit.
It must have been contagious, because two more became broody within a couple of days.
So we have been picking the eggs that the other girls are laying on the floor, etc. but have left probably a total of 20 eggs under the 3 sitting hens.
I am watching every day to see the signs of a hatch and found 1 egg partially open with a dead chick.
Currently all of the chickens including the rooster share a coop and are able to go out into a fenced in yard any time.
I think I need to build a platform and ramp for the chicks to walk down after the hatch as the nest boxes are about 2 ft. off the ground with no ramp/steps. The hens have no problem jumping up in, but chicks certainly couldn't.
Should I close all of the chickens in the coop until hatch is over?
Should I set up a box to put the chicks in after they hatch?
I know I will have to put a small waterer and lower feeder in for the chicks, but how would I then keep the adults from eating their food (the hanging feeder I have for the adults is always available and full of food, so they aren't hungry)
My coop takes up half of the building it is in and the other half is where I store the food/bedding, etc.
Maybe I should set up the box with a heat lamp outside the coop but still in the building and take the chicks and put them in their away from the adults?
What should I do?