"Broody hen" section in my coop....is my idea sound or should I go another route

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TDog77, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. TDog77

    TDog77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2015
    Weather permitting I am starting my Coop build this weekend. It is a 10x10 and in one corner I was going to have a 4x4 area with removable hanging partitions covered in hardware cloth with a door to get into it. I would leave the partitions down until I have some girls that are going broody at which time I was going to cage off that corner and provide two separate broody box/nests to accommodate up to two broody moms at once. Will more then one broody mom (with their own nest boxes) work well with each other in the sectioned off area sharing a common area outside of the nests and sharing food/water? If so how big should the nest box be and more specifically how far off the ground to facilitate the chicks getting in and out? Thanks for your time. Travis
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Multiple broody hens in tight confines are a hit or miss with respect to outcomes for chicks. I raise many broods of chicks annually and go to some length to give hens opportunity to space themselves. Failure can result in loss (death) of chicks. The also choose their nest site before going broody. If you have a hen know to go broody, then confine her to the box when she is still in lay.
     
  3. TDog77

    TDog77 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was figuring that if she went broody in one of the standard nest boxes then I would move her and her clutch of eggs under the cover of night. I know some will move and others are problematic but it seems as though many have success moving the birds. I could instead build two separate nesting boxes in that area instead of a sectioned off area if the box dimensions work. You seem like you have moms raise quite a few...what accommodations could I provide size wise that could stack or mount on the wall to keep the two girls separate.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Many hens do their business free-range with some of those provide proper nest boxes. Most nest in field with three getting to nest either in garage or front porch. About half are each given their own pen with a nest elevated in it. If a hen get gets broody and I do not want her to be (break her of broodiness), I move her just like you plan.. Success by others in such moves would be very low relative to what I realize.

    Pens I use are 4' x 4' for each hen.
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had hens that worked together & combined their clutches of chicks and I've had hens that attacked each other and killed each other's chicks. Usually it's the game & bantams that are highly agressive when they have chicks but it depends on the individual hen's personality.
    My current nest boxes are 16x16. I've hatched chicks in 12x12 but that was a bit cramped and the hen tended to break a lot of eggs jumping in & out of the nest for 21 days. My nest boxes are waist high and the chicks have no problem jumping out from that height. They need a lip across the front to prevent the early hatchers from falling out of the nest when they go roaming.
     
  6. TDog77

    TDog77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm, I am not doubting but rather surprised of the perceived low success rates of moving an already broody mom. I thought it was pretty standard practice by all that I have reading but then again.
     
  7. TDog77

    TDog77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Chicken Legs...How much of a free area for the feed/water/exercise (kept closed off from other chickens and such did you provide in addition to the 16x16 box? I am trying to envision how I could configure this corner to accommodate two broody hens. ultimately our goal is to turn this 10x10 coop into a brooder house and build our larger coop. Unfortunately we are building about 15 different things right now on the homestead and cannot afford to do exactly what we want right at this time.
     
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TDog I have never actually done what you are describing, I was only describing nest boxes that I've hatched chicks in, but I see no reason that it wouldn't work. When I use broodys I either leave them in the layer pen with the rest of the hens or put them in their own pens and they have free choice to eat, drink, poop, dust bathe, exercise at their own schedule. Centrarchid uses 4x4 pens; my hens flip out if I put them in that small of a space.
    Far as moving broodys, I've only moved a few. I've moved their nests to different pens and most wanted nothing to do with it. They paced the fence and would not get back on the nest till I moved it back where it was.
    One of my hens, a large bantam hen, simply don't care what happens as long as she has an egg to sit on. She went broody in the layer pen several weeks ago and I didn't want to tie up any boxes with a sitting hen, but I didn't want to break her either because I needed her to hatch some eggs because both my bators were full of quail eggs, and I was expecting some nice eggs from another hen. So I moved her and 1 egg into an empty pen. Several days later I needed that pen for a bunch of roosters so I moved her & her egg into a grower pen with about 15 five week old pullets. Several days later I had the eggs I wanted so I removed her egg and replaced it with the ones I wanted to hatch.
    Sorry about all the mindless drivel but there's no exact answer for your questions. I can only give you examples of my experiences because it all depends on the personality of the individual chicken involved.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Not a perception, but needs qualification. Hens late in the incubation cycle will have begun imprinting process with embryos through two-way sound communication. Imprinting is started by day 19, prior to that hen is imprinted on nest and it's location. Thus, prior to imprinting, if you move clutch / nest more than a couple of feet, then hen will often fail to recognize it. This holds even when hen on clutch as it is moved. She will have to come off nest each day to eat, drink, and defecate. When she wants to return to the nest she does not take into account what she left, rather where she went the previous times she got onto her nest.

    I can get around this by moving the entire surroundings of the nest as a unit with the nest. My 4' x 4' pens are moved in their entirety once incubation with orientation relative to compass maintained. Moving nest only or even changing orientation of pen can cause hen to abort brooding even though she is obviously in a broody mindset.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you have the ability to allow broody hens with chicks to free-range in relative safety? Then chicks could be reared outside on largely natural foods. This route tougher for most but does enable the more sustainable approach.
     

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