Broody Baby In Winter

WallyBirdie

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My little Ira is a bantam Cochin with extra toes! She came as a mystery chicken mixed in with the ones I ordered. She is very sweet and outgoing, and she has proven to be a reliable layer.

But now... she has gone broody? Already? When it's just getting cold?

I have been routinely collecting eggs, but she has made a habit of trying to stash them in a far corner. And she looks so sad and tucks her head in when I take them.
It's been days since she's come out of the nesting box for anything more than food.

I have read a bit about hatching chicks in the winter, and I have a good space for brooding.

I might try and let her sit on a few.
But she is young. What if she gets up and stops trying to brood? I don't have an incubator on hand, and I'd feel terrible losing chicks unnecessarily.

Tips for caring for my broody gal?
Recommendations for inexpensive incubators, in case she stops brooding early?
 

DobieLover

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My little Ira is a bantam Cochin with extra toes! She came as a mystery chicken mixed in with the ones I ordered. She is very sweet and outgoing, and she has proven to be a reliable layer.

But now... she has gone broody? Already? When it's just getting cold?

I have been routinely collecting eggs, but she has made a habit of trying to stash them in a far corner. And she looks so sad and tucks her head in when I take them.
It's been days since she's come out of the nesting box for anything more than food.

I have read a bit about hatching chicks in the winter, and I have a good space for brooding.

I might try and let her sit on a few.
But she is young. What if she gets up and stops trying to brood? I don't have an incubator on hand, and I'd feel terrible losing chicks unnecessarily.

Tips for caring for my broody gal?
Recommendations for inexpensive incubators, in case she stops brooding early?
Have you considered just breaking her broodiness and waiting until spring to see if she goes broody again and then letter her try?
 

aart

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How old is she?
Do you have fertile eggs available?
Do you have space for more birds and a plan for the ~50% males that will hatch?
I've let a broody set in frigid winter weather, it worked out OK,
but was a lot of work and won't do it again.

Just how cold is it?
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
upload_2019-12-9_10-13-33.png
 

WallyBirdie

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Aug 2, 2019
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Have you considered just breaking her broodiness and waiting until spring to see if she goes broody again and then letter her try?
What's the best way to do break her brooding?
I just feel bad because she's trying so hard and she lost a friend a while ago.
 

DobieLover

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What's the best way to do break her brooding?
I just feel bad because she's trying so hard and she lost a friend a while ago.
You would set up a small dog crate inside the coop. Put it up on blocks or logs or whatever so that she has no bedding under her. You can put a board or something inside the crate for her to perch on. Put food and water in the crate and secure it in such a way she cannot easily knock it over.
Leave her in the crate all day. If you want to place her on the roost with the others after dark, that's fine. But you will need to watch her the next morning. If she makes a bee line for the nests again, back in the crate she goes for another day.
She will eventually break out of her broodiness and stop trying to set.
The longer you leave them sitting, the harder it is to break them.
It took me 8 days to break my most stubborn broody hen.
I broke three pullets in one or two days in the crate but I caught them on their first day being broody.
 

aart

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If you don't want her to hatch out chicks, best to break her broodiness promptly.

My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest (or as soon as I know they are broody), I put her in a wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop or run with feed and water.

I used to let them out a couple times a day, but now just once a day in the evening(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two. Or take her out of crate daily very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate.

Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
upload_2019-12-9_10-21-49.png
 

WallyBirdie

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Aug 2, 2019
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How old is she?
Do you have fertile eggs available?
Do you have space for more birds and a plan for the ~50% males that will hatch?
I've let a broody set in frigid winter weather, it worked out OK,
but was a lot of work and won't do it again.

Just how cold is it?
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
View attachment 1978157
She's around 8 months old.
We have fertile eggs.
I moved out and relocated 6 standard sized birds and lost one a while ago. Plus I plan to build an additional coop and expand the run when warmer weather comes. (This has been planned for a while.) Space isn't an issue. As for males- that can be a concern, but I don't think it will. I know at least three people locally who would be willing to add one to their flocks.

Temps currently drop to 30 but are primarily 50+ F.
I am not comfortable with putting my location anywhere online due to past incidents with a stalker.
 

DobieLover

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She's around 8 months old.
We have fertile eggs.
I moved out and relocated 6 standard sized birds and lost one a while ago. Plus I plan to build an additional coop and expand the run when warmer weather comes. (This has been planned for a while.) Space isn't an issue. As for males- that can be a concern, but I don't think it will. I know at least three people locally who would be willing to add one to their flocks.

Temps currently drop to 30 but are primarily 50+ F.
I am not comfortable with putting my location anywhere online due to past incidents with a stalker.
Your location doesn't have to be very precise, just general. Like "Southern Tier of NY"or whatever. It's just to give a general idea of where in the world you are.
If you are making plans to expand in the spring, then I would wait until the expansion work is complete before allowing any broodies to set. In the meantime, I would break the current pullet of her broodiness the way @aart and I have suggested.
Good luck.
 
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