Broody hen in litter box. How will chicks get out?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lfreem2, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Songster

    Dec 27, 2010
    Waxhaw, NC
    Hi all. I've got a Speckled Sussex hen that went broody and is sitting on 2 eggs now for about the last two weeks. She is sitting in a typical cat litter box (with the top removed) that has a pan wall that is about 8 inches tall. Once the chicks hatch, how will they get out? Would I just move her and the chicks out of the pan and to a corner in the coop?

    I'm assuming I don't need to do anything like add a heat lamp or anything since momma will keep them warm, correct?

  2. Tanichca

    Tanichca Sparkle Magnet

    May 6, 2009
    Vail, Arizona
    Chicks can jump and fly pretty high, and fairly early. they'll be fine where they are, especially since they'll stay under their Momma for a while anyway. [​IMG]
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They don't need to get out for a couple of days. If you have a fair amount of hay or other litter in there, it will be enough by then, or sooner. You'd be surprised how high they can hop, at a very young age. In my old coop, the pop door was about 8" off the ground, so I put a 4x4 "step" by it, so they could get in. I don't think they ever used it, except to play on. But if you want to move them to a corner of the coop after a day or so, that's OK, too. They may choose to move themselves if there is hay to nest in. When mine hatched in a nest about 15" above floor level, they jumped out, then nested on the floor.

    And no, no heat lamp, mama takes care of heat.
  4. Quote:I don`t agree with this at all. New chicks cannot fly for over a week and by that time they will die. The nest needs to be accessable to chicks, both coming and going, as the hen may return to the nest at night for a while. I would go out there at night and trim a big entrance and exit notch in one end or side. It should be low enough so the nesting material allows exit and you can put a brick on the outside so they can get in. If they can`t see mom, they won`t be able to get in and will get cold and die. Trim with metal shears/snips and do it at night with as little light as possible so as to not stress her..........Pop
  5. [​IMG]

    That kind of plastic cuts very easily with a kitchen paring knife. My chickens are tupperware addicts, so I've learned to accomodate their every desire. Cutting a smooth round door in the corner or side can work.

    The chicks will need an escape route should another chicken try to kill them. Or, you could pen up the perimeter space where the hen is brooding, we staple chicken wire to the floor and up to the bottom of the upper shelf, to give the hen a safe broody pen about 3ftX 3ft. That way the chicks and hen will have food, water and safety from hungry big chickens for a while, til the chicks are big enough to get out of the way on their own, which takes approximately the blink of an eye in time. (For us, its about 4 days)

    Yah, making a pen around your broody can keep your hen's favorite tupperware intact and pristine.
  6. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Songster

    Dec 27, 2010
    Waxhaw, NC
    I have a large wire dog cage that I could certainly pick up the broody hen in her kitty litter pan and put her in that. I can certainly cut out a opening on the pan front as well with some snips. I'm assuming I can put the chick feeder and their water inside the wire cage to try to keep the main chickens away from that as well--though I confess I don't know if you could really keep the other chickens away from the chick feed an water at the end anyway.
  7. greenscape

    greenscape In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    With 2x4's build a rectangular frame ,use small pieces to support the corners. On the long side of this frame attach wire and bend it over and attach to the other side. You now have a dome shaped pen. Inclose one end with wire ,build a door for the other end. This can be any size you want. mine are 4'x6' cover the entire top of the inclosed end with Black plastic bags and then Burlap bags. Tie down well.
    You can wet the burlap in the summer and the blk plastic will break any wind Use a detachable cover for the closed end ,makes a three sided covered area. Put you nest box and all inside.
    It is easy to build and does the job of a brooder pen.
    As soon as the hen is setting move her into this. Most Hens will not be disturbed by the one move. If you can move her box and all that's even better

  8. Quote:If the chicks can fall through the dog crate wire, or slip through the side bars, they will be alone and unprotected if they can't find or jump their way back in. Primary concern is keeping the bigger beaks off the chicks. Some chickens will even pull the broody off her box and attack the chicks. It takes a few days for the broody hen to come out of her "zone", its a little like a person awakening from anesthesia after surgery, to me. It takes a couple days. Sure, she'll freak out and puff up and growl if threatened, but won't be making any decisions or function usefully until her "broody zone" la-la land [​IMG] brainless wonderment over her warm cozy eggs wears off.
  9. Quote:Yes, this.

    Plus, she'll be very relaxed in her little spa, and that will help her be a good mother. She'll be able to show her babies how to eat and drink without distractions. Its only for a few days after hatching, maybe a week or two. If the other chickens can still be around her, and peer into her spa, she and her chicks won't be strangers when they enter the flock, it will be more of a little squabble over pecking order versus a mass murder of "flock invaders".
  10. lfreem2

    lfreem2 Songster

    Dec 27, 2010
    Waxhaw, NC
    I would imagine a chick could pass through the bars on the dog crate yes. I do have a bunch of chicken wire on a roll that I could wrap around the dog crate with plastic ties to prevent that from happening. I could also build a simple box with 2x4's as well since I have plenty of scrap lumber too.

    You've give me lots of great ideas. I've got to get cracking as I think they will be born in the next week based on when she started sitting on them.

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