Free Ranging and Broodies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BarredBuff, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last spring I had a BR go broody outside where I will never know, but a predator got her. She came back the next day with a mauled leg. Now my question is...If you free range all the time have you had chickens brood inside of the coop? If they brooded outside of the coop did they come back with chicks?
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    One time I was sure a predator got her, and 3 weeks later, here she came with 6 chicks. Never did find where she had that nest hid out. But the predators win most of the time. Mrsk
     
  3. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mrs. K :

    One time I was sure a predator got her, and 3 weeks later, here she came with 6 chicks. Never did find where she had that nest hid out. But the predators win most of the time. Mrsk

    Did you ever have any set a nest in the coop?​
     
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had them try to brood outside the coop, but I find them and bring them back to the coop or if the space is available, one of two smaller pens that I use for broodies, chicken jail and/or chicken hospitals. Sometimes they break when I move them, but between the coyotes, raccoons, bobcat, and neighbors that let their dogs roam at night it's just not worth the risk of leaving them out.
     
  5. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I get any this spring, I am going to find them and let them brood somewhere safe.
     
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I think it's for the best. I have the best luck if I move them well after dark--I take the hen off the nest, tuck her head under a wing so she stays calm, hand her to dd and then carefully remove the eggs and put them in the new nest and plunk mamma down on top of them.

    I have a few extra large dog crates that I use for the broodies (in and out of the main coop) and I shut the door and cover the crate for the first 24-36 hours. Most of the time when I do it that way they'll stay broody. By the time I uncover the crate (I put food/water in there btw) she's usually back in her broody trance and will stay put.

    You want to make sure they can't get back to their original nest site though. I've had broodies take a detour after their daily poo/eat/drink/dustbath sesion and go back to the empty original nest site instead of their eggs.

    Over half of my freeranging broody hens have opted to sit in the coop though so hopefully some/all of yours will as well and you won't have to mess with moving hens at night.
     
  7. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls free range and I was afraid they would start laying eggs out of the coop. I am no genius, but I did get lucky. I have a BO that I affectionately refer to as my Bio-Bater. She started setting on eggs in a barrel that I kept straw in. It was away from the main coop area but in the chicken yard. I didn't want other girls making deposits in her nest after she started setting so I fashioned a brooder box out of a wire dog kennel. I moved the brooder box and the Bio-Bater to another building. She hatch the eggs and raised the chicks from that box. The other chickens could get to the area where the brooder box was but they didn't bother mother or babies. I left the brooder box in the other building after the chicks were introduced to the flock. The Bio-Bater returns to that brooder box when ever she gets the urge to set. She hatched 3 clutches this year.

    I have since built a brooder coop. Once the clutches hatch, I move them to the brooder coop. It is next to the main coop and when mother hen is ready, she takes the babies to the main coop. So far so good there. I also have a banny Bio-Bater who has a special place under my radial arm saw where she hatches her babies. I have a third Broody who I have another broder box that she claims as her nursery.

    I guess the point of my ramblings is if you give them a safe palace away from the flock, chances are they will remember it and use it later.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine did go broody in one of the nest boxes. The year before I had had a hen go broody there, and moved her away from the other hens, and 3 days later she left the nest and went back to "her original nest'. I lost the clutch. So this year, I left them set where they wanted. And as it was in the hen house, they were safe.

    I have 8 nest boxes, but usually they only use 2 nests. So I block off the others. When she and her sister went broody side by side, I just opened up a third nest for the layers, and let everyone alone. My nests are a one bird at a time, and no one laid in their nests.

    I set up a card board box on its side, threw in some hay, and the day they hatched, within 24 hours she had them out of the nest, it was about 2 1/2 feet off the floor, and on to the floor and in the box nest. At first both sisters used the box, but once the chicks were more mobile, one of the sisters went back to her nest at night, and several of the chicks would fly up there, and crowd under her at night. The girls shared the mama duties and I kept them right with the flock and it has worked great.

    For the first two days, I got down early in the morning, and let the layers out to free range, keeping the hens and chicks in the run. But then I just let everyone out and they did just fine. The mama's would put the chicks to bed a bit earlier than the layers, and neither let the layers pick on the chicks till they were much bigger, and then it was just pecking order stuff.

    good luck, Mrs.K
     
  9. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Guys and Gals. [​IMG]
     

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