Anyone's broody hatched out in a rabbit hutch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by FirewifeJess, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I currently have a new broody (she's a 9 month old Buff Orpington named Lucy) and she's in the coop nest boxes. Most of the girls lay there, but some lay in a rabbit hutch I have set up in the covered run as another laying box option. I want Lucy and her egg/hatchlings to be more protected, but I also can't figure out logistics of keeping her safe from bullies as well as keeping the chicks IN the hutch after they hatch; I also don't want anyone laying their eggs in her nest for the duration of her sit.

    Anyone wanna help me out here? I think it would be best to move here into the hutch, but I don't know if I close the door and let her out once a day? Or do I leave it open so she can come and go when her own body tells her to? Then when they hatch do I put chick feeder and waterer in the hutch with flock raiser for both mama and chicks? Walk me through this step by step! I don't want to mess this up, especially since she's brooding in the middle of winter when our days are only 30 degrees and our nights are in the low 20s if not teens before February. Thanks for your help!

    For more information, the hutch is raised off the ground on legs about 16" (total guess), and I have a basket in there for laying, but there's plenty of extra room in the hutch for feeders/waterers, etc. Tomorrow I will be putting some fabric up over the wire front to help keep out a draft.
     
  2. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a broody coop that is about the size of a rabbit hutch. It is actually 2 coops one on top of the other. I have food (flock raiser)and water (with ACV)for the hen while she is setting. Once the chicks hatch I change the food to medicated chick starter mash ...the hen will eat this too. The water is changed to electrolytes with vitamins. Keeping the broody coop clean is very easy since the hen poop at this time is large and easily scooped up. If it is really cold I put a black reptile light with a metal reflector over the waterer to keep it from freezing. The hen will provide enough heat for the chicks. The chicks will move in and out from under the hen to regulate the temperature that they want. It is important that the food and water is low enough that the chicks can easily access it. I use a rectangular cat litter tub on its side as a nest box and put the bedding material in it. It is important for the Chicks to always be able to get back under the hen to get warmed. My broody hens are Cochins. They seem to spend a longer time with their chicks than my other breeds. All my chickens are bantams. You shouldn't try to have the hen try to hatch more eggs than she can easily cover or some eggs will be too cold. Let the hen manage the brood she instinctively knows what to do. The broody hen should be in a safe, quiet, draft free place where the rest of the flock will not bother her. This does not mean that you shouldn't keep an eye on her and the chicks. When I get back on my computer I will post a picture of this setup. Good luck with your broody. :)
     
  3. Sweetlilbaby

    Sweetlilbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put my broody in a large dog crate in the garage when she was on her eggs. it gave enough room so she had to leave the nest to eat/drink and poop and then she could go back to her nest (a cardboard box) and sit on the eggs. Being in Washington I do not suggest leaving her outside and expecting the eggs to hatch. I think her half hour off them would cause them to get to cold.
     
  4. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Could a broody be moved into a garage kennel with heat lamp??
     
  5. Sweetlilbaby

    Sweetlilbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did it when my hen went broody and put shipped eggs under her. Only one hatched but she stayed broody. she was very committed.
     
  6. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    This is my small broody coop about the size of a large rabbit hutch. Pictured is my Cochin Frizzle hen sitting on eggs in the cat littler box on its side. She is my current avatar.
     
  7. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've decided to spare some poor defenseless egglets from dying in this freezing weather and just get her some chicks after 3 weeks. Hoping she'll take them!!
     
  8. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have put 3 day old chicks under my broody hen. The trick is to put them under her at night. When she wakes up she will by happy to have the chicks to care for.
     
  9. Sweetlilbaby

    Sweetlilbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My dad does that to his broodies because then you get to choose the breed of chicks you buy, and you can buy the ones that are 99% likely to be pullets. :) He says to do it at night and keep it as dark as possible so the hen doesn't see what you are doing. He also tries to use gloves when doing it because the hens know his smell and have refused chicks when he touches them, however I can show up and play with the chicks the day before he puts them under and the hens don't care LOL.

    Also just in case keep a brooder nice and heated ready just in case one chick gets injured, falls in a water dish, or for any reason one or more chicks is pushed away by the hen.
     

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