How do small egg farms handle broodies?

Redee79

In the Brooder
Dec 8, 2018
8
9
24
texas
So I've been a byc keeper for about ten years now, but in a few months we are going to move to several hundred acres of land and I'd really like to expand our small flock of 25 hens into three groups of 20ish so that we can sell eggs locally (we are moving to a very tiny town) and so that I can start breeding a few specific breeds to replenish my flock annually. But in all these years of keeping chickens, and allowing a few broodies a year to hatch a clutch here or there for me, I've never thought about how larger "for profit" egg farms handle broodies? When I have a broody I either immediately put her in broody jail or I happen to have a fertile clutch for her to set (and that seems to be what most byc keepers do! LOL) But what, if any advice, do those of you who sell eggs do with your broodies? I cannot imagine multiple large flocks with lots of little broody jails to manage! Do you just let those broodies set until they eventually exhaust themselves? Or maybe you just don't keep breeds that tend to go broody often? Given I want to occasionally replenish my flock, an occasional broody is indeed handy, but in my flock of just 25, on average I've got a broody a month...and right now I have two broodies in jail and one on a clutch, and that's a recipe for insanity on a larger scale!🤪
 

black_cat

♥♥Lover of Leghorns♥♥
Premium Feather Member
May 21, 2020
18,869
58,658
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Connecticut
I think that if you're having the flocks purely to sell eggs, I'd just keep breeds like leghorns that aren't prone to broodiness, or I'd keep a 'pet flock' with all the breeds I like that could be likely to go broody separate from the egg laying flocks of just high production birds.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
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Lincolnton, NC
I only keep non broody breeds... but go figure I have a broody BSL! But when it comes to one or two Broodies intake advantage and let them do the work of hatching and raising chicks. It’s so much easier that way.
 

Redee79

In the Brooder
Dec 8, 2018
8
9
24
texas
Yeah that’s what I figured, leghorns or other high egg production breeds 😒 but was hoping for some magical answer lol so that I could keep from going that route (no offense to leghorn lovers but I’ve never cared for them!). Maybe that’s the key black_cat, to just keep a pet flock so that I cancontinue to enjoy my diverse flock and a variety of colorful eggs for myself! Thanks👍
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,203
17,241
706
USA
I cannot imagine multiple large flocks with lots of little broody jails to manage!

I've read a few chicken books from 100 years ago, when even the best laying breeds still had plenty of broodies.

Henhouse furnishings included the usual (roosts, nests, feeders, waters) AND several broody cages. The advice was to check after dark each night, and any hen on the nest went into a broody cage for 3 days. Some would also put a colored band on the hen's leg each time they found her broody, and any hen with more than a certain number of bands got culled. (I think the cull point was about 3-5 legbands on one bird in one year.)

Since you do want some broodies, you could consider keeping one coop for chickens that go broody-- remove them from the main laying flocks and move them to the broody flock, then cull that flock as needed to keep the right total number of broodies.
 

RiverOtter

Crowing
11 Years
Nov 4, 2009
1,199
2,007
381
NY
What NatJ said - it's the only way to do it. It's not hard, either. Just get some commercial rabbit cages and hang them from the ceiling. You won't even notice them when they're not in use.
 

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