help with my broody box?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rebecuna, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. rebecuna

    rebecuna Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2012
    My coop is an ark-style tractor (see below), so it doesn't give me easy access to a new nest area for my broody hen, and there's not enough space to make a broody box/area for my broody hen that's isolated from the rest of the flock. The hens are let out of the coop into a run during the day, and free-range in my yard for 2-3 hours in the late afternoon. I'm trying to find a solution that will allow my broody hen to not be disturbed (no signs of it so far, and my girls all normally get along great) and keep her safe from predators.

    [​IMG] Ark tractor
    [​IMG] Daily access (I can also take the clear side panels seen in the top photo off but it's a bit harder, so I only do it for cleaning)-- upper egg door and lower entrance/exit for the hens. The nest is a cat litter box-- I have a second that I've set up so the other hens have a place to lay (but I don't know if they'll accept it yet or if they'll get in the nest with my broody). My broody hen is now in her own nest behind where the nest is in this photo, more in the center of the coop, but I don't have an easy way to access it (which is fine, I think?)

    So to make her a broody box... I have a large storage shed that is predator safe. Can I put a big cardboard box with her nest inside, with food and water? Does it work for her to be indoors (there are windows) since she's not moving around much? Does she need a dust bath in there too? How often should I let her go outside? Do I lift her off the nest or just open the door to the shed and see if she gets up and goes out?

    Or, should I just keep her with the rest of the flock as long as there are no problems? I could put food and water for her right outside her nest on that middle level so she doesn't have to get off for long. That's definitely easier but I want to set her up for success as much as possible.

    Once the chicks hatch, after a few days at least, I'm planning to reintroduce them to the others and live in the coop, rather than keeping them in a brooder. What precautions do I need to take for the chicks? Will they be able to climb the ramp or do they need to live on the lower level? (I could just move the nest down there) How do I keep their food available to them but not the rest of the flock?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    During incubation, my hens are in the coop with the other hens and I mark the eggs that have been there since day one and remove the newly laid eggs. I always keep my broody hens and chicks separate from the flock once the chicks hatch. Works for me, but I have a huge coop and two large grow out pens.
  3. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 12, 2013
    Eastern WA
    That is the way to do it! Love Phoenix area by the way WE "BUY"cot AZ!!! and Boycott Cali!

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