Broody breaking in cold weather

TheresaV

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
36
72
54
Northeastern Washington State
My 7 month old Cochin, Casey, went broody a couple days ago. We have cold weather here and snow on the ground. I do want to try breaking her this time since I am not really prepared for chicks especially in the winter. Also I am concerned it will be detrimental to Casey's health to hatch chicks in cold weather.

I have tried moving her off the nest a few times. Each time she flounces away angrily, gets a meal and goes right back to her nest. When I blocked her nest she just moved to the one next door.

I can't try any of the chilling methods because of the cold weather. I can't block off the nest boxes because my other chickens need to have access to them. Anyhow, she will just flop on the ground or go nest somewhere outside (like under the deck, which would be disastrous) if she can't get to the chicken house nests.

This leaves the chicken jail option which I think is the best anyway.

I have a wire dog crate that will be ideal but I don't think I can keep her in there continuously for 3 or more days because of the cold temperatures. Temperatures here will be ranging from 23 F at night to 36 F in the daytime for the next few days. I can see keeping her in the crate on our deck during the day but I think she needs to be roosting in the chicken house with the flock at night to stay warm. (I do not heat the chicken house.) I can try putting her on the roost at dusk and hope she stays there but she will probably go back to her nest when she wakes up in the morning.

Any advice will be much appreciated.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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My 7 month old Cochin, Casey, went broody a couple days ago. We have cold weather here and snow on the ground. I do want to try breaking her this time since I am not really prepared for chicks especially in the winter. Also I am concerned it will be detrimental to Casey's health to hatch chicks in cold weather.

I have tried moving her off the nest a few times. Each time she flounces away angrily, gets a meal and goes right back to her nest. When I blocked her nest she just moved to the one next door.

I can't try any of the chilling methods because of the cold weather. I can't block off the nest boxes because my other chickens need to have access to them. Anyhow, she will just flop on the ground or go nest somewhere outside (like under the deck, which would be disastrous) if she can't get to the chicken house nests.

This leaves the chicken jail option which I think is the best anyway.

I have a wire dog crate that will be ideal but I don't think I can keep her in there continuously for 3 or more days because of the cold temperatures. Temperatures here will be ranging from 23 F at night to 36 F in the daytime for the next few days. I can see keeping her in the crate on our deck during the day but I think she needs to be roosting in the chicken house with the flock at night to stay warm. (I do not heat the chicken house.) I can try putting her on the roost at dusk and hope she stays there but she will probably go back to her nest when she wakes up in the morning.

Any advice will be much appreciated.
Chickens don't keep each other warm. They keep themselves warm.
She will be perfectly fine in the crate at those temps as long as she is out of any drafts and has plenty of food and water.
Can you crate her in the coop or is it too small for that?
 

DobieLover

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To clarify, I do not have a rooster. On her first broody day, I took the egg Casey was sitting on. She is continuing to nest without any egg under her.
Broodies graft more to the nest site than the eggs. The reason why the wire crate with no bedding works so well to break them is because they can't nest in there and the open wire crate helps cool their bellies when elevated.
 

TheresaV

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
36
72
54
Northeastern Washington State
Chickens don't keep each other warm. They keep themselves warm.
She will be perfectly fine in the crate at those temps as long as she is out of any drafts and has plenty of food and water.
Can you crate her in the coop or is it too small for that?
It would be a little cramped but I think I can fit the crate in the chicken house. I would try to give her a roosting spot inside the crate. I worry about her standing on the cold metal wires of the crate bottom all the time.

Would you recommend keeping her in the chicken house for the entire jail time? The other chickens will be mostly outside during the day. They usually stay near our back deck which is why I was thinking of keeping her there so she isn't isolated from the flock as much. I may be able to move the crate into the chicken house at night.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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It would be a little cramped but I think I can fit the crate in the chicken house. I would try to give her a roosting spot inside the crate. I worry about her standing on the cold metal wires of the crate bottom all the time.

Would you recommend keeping her in the chicken house for the entire jail time? The other chickens will be mostly outside during the day. They usually stay near our back deck which is why I was thinking of keeping her there so she isn't isolated from the flock as much. I may be able to move the crate into the chicken house at night.
Put a piece of 2x4 on the bottom of the crate for her to stand on.
If you are okay moving the crate around where the flock is, that's fine too. If the crate won't fit there, do you have a garage you could put her for the night?
 

rayrose

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
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I'd keep her in the run, so she can see the other hens, but I'd
leave her there, when the others roost in the coop. She won't
like it at first, but it will help to break her faster. Make sure the
crate is raised a few inches off the ground for ventilation. Keep
in mind that she's in broody jail, and it's meant to be uncomfortable.
The whole idea is to break her as fast as possible.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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I just leave mine in the coop, but I do not free range and feed and water is in coop.
Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
1606147726294.png


This bird was being treated for sour crop, but it shows the 2x4 'roost'.
1606147773821.png
 

TheresaV

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
36
72
54
Northeastern Washington State
I have the crate set up in the chicken house. It will be too difficult to move so she will be in there for the duration. I got the food and water dishes rigged up already- I am just waiting for hubby to help me put a smaller mesh floor in the bottom and a 2x4 board in for a perch. I raised the crate up on some bricks so it will be ventilated underneath.

I took Casey out of the nest while I was rigging up the crate. She went outside for a few minutes then got right back in the nest. She certainly is showing lots of commitment. If she gets this way again in the spring I will definitely rassle up some eggs for her to hatch. It would be so much fun under better conditions.
 

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