Hen went broody in bad area? with pics

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by maymay8, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. maymay8

    maymay8 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi All - As the weather cools here in New Mexico, I'm worried about my chickens because they refuse to go into their coop to sleep, choosing instead to sleep in the open roost they used in the hot months. In the picture the open roost area is to the left on the groud. All four of our bantam chochin/silkies sleep here at night with the three hens on the ground in the straw and our roo perched above them.

    For a while I've been meaning to write and ask about how to get them to go in their coop, but I really need help now because today our hen, Juniper, went broody for her first time. She is sitting on about 5 eggs in this communal sleeping area. I'm not worried about her getting picked on so much as I am the upcoming weather and the safety of the eggs.

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    What should we do? Is it OK to let her sit on eggs where everyone sleeps and poops? If so, how do I clean the area without disturbing her and her eggs (about 5 of them)?
    If not, will moving her turn her off from nesting forever since this is her first time? Should I move her into the nesting boxes in the coop? Move at night? Any and all advice welcome. Thanks. Here are some closer pics.

    Best,
    Maggie
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  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    I'm not 100 percent sure where they are "supposed" to be roosting, but I would look over your pen and think about whether maybe something isn't satisfactory for them in the intended roost area.

    Typically they prefer to roost about 3-4 feet off the ground.
    Also, a hen likes a "rounded" bowl to nest in (so the eggs don't roll out) and I noticed there's no "lip" on the front edge of your nestboxes so they hay doesn't stay in to make a rounded nest. There's also not much privacy on those nestboxes --some people even hang black cloths in front for darkness' sake.

    On the other hand, hens like to do what they like to do.

    I would be concerned about her being pooped on from above. But if you feel she's safe there from any ground predators and rain etc, I would "re-train" the others, and leave her be. You can retrain them by going in after dark and moving them yourself to the intended coop. Just do this night after night until they learn (usually takes 3-7 days in my experience). From what I read, if you let a chicken roost even one night in a new spot, they'll keep going back, so you must be consistent about it.

    You could move her and her eggs, but I've noticed that hens will just keep going back to their old spot. However, they are powerfully motivated by seeing that nest of eggs too, so if you make the changes to your nestbox and make it more private and better bedded she may go in there too.

    Trust me, that broody instinct will come back again if it doesn't work this time!

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    I looked at your pics again. A suggestion: Why don't you move the nestboxes to one side, maybe up a little higher than the plank floor (3-4inches), and then put a taller roost bar opposite and/or along the back. Just an idea so the roost area and nestboxes are a bit more separated.
     
  4. maymay8

    maymay8 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks for reading and responding. We'll build a better roost in the coop tomorrow then start moving the other chickens to the coop at night tomorrow night. We'll leave Juniper where she is for now. She is safe. But should I be concerned about her being warm enough?!!!
    Maggie
     
  5. Leah-yes I know I'm crazy

    Leah-yes I know I'm crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Skidway Lake, MI
    I can't say for certain if this will help or not with your broody hen, but a friend of mine has a hen that just picks a spot in the yard and pretends no one can see her. Often not a good spot. She has the top half of a plastic dog crate that she plops down right over her to cut down on the drafts and tosses a throw rug over the top to cover the opening. She slides food and water in little pie pans under the flap and ignores her other than that. Good luck.
     
  6. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Can't wait to see the babies [​IMG]
     
  7. maymay8

    maymay8 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    thanks for all the input. i think i'm going to contiue with my plan and also add a bit of the dogcrate idea by building an enclosure around broody Juniper where she is now. That will cut down on the draft and block some rain and i can put food and water in there that will stay dry. That way I can also add a heat lamp when the time comes.
    Maggie
     
  8. foreverblessed

    foreverblessed Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 1, 2008
    SE Tampa Bay Area
    Hi Maggie,

    We have 4 silkie hens (actually my daughters .... but you know who takes care of them). All four of them are broody right now and they are setting in pairs. It is exciting. We should have some EE and somemore silkies come Friday!!!

    They reason I am posting is to tell you that my silkies couldnt get to a 2 ft roost much less a 4 ft roost! I built a portiable 15" to 18" roost (oneside is higher than the other). So from what I saw the height would be fine for your silkie hens. Just some info for thought.

    I think your build around her is a great idea!!! HOpe you have a great hatch!!!

    Blessings!
    Laura
     

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