Newbie hatcher alert! What dimensions for broody pen?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Silkiebawkbawk, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Silkiebawkbawk

    Silkiebawkbawk Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    22
    Jun 30, 2011
    Laveen, AZ
    I lurk around a lot on here, but I'm gonna step up to the plate and just ask. :)

    I have two broodie silkies right now and would like to buy some fertile eggs and give a go at my girls hatching them. I plan on making a little broody den inside my run but I'm unsure how large it needs to be.

    My run is 12' x 16' (converted horse stall) and the coop is 2' elevated and approx 3'x4'. I was thinking a 3' x 3' fenced off area with a nesting box would probably be adequate since the broodiy(ies) does nothing but sulk in the box and the real room would be for the baby chicks.

    Any suggestions?

    Oh! Also, I was wondering if it was okay to have 2 broodies sitting and hatching at the same time (in which case I'd probably make a larger broody area). Silkies are MAD popular in my area and since have two broody girls I figured it'd be nice to have them all on the same schedule with hatching.

    Thank you in advance!


    p.s. one more.. Favorite sites for ordering pure fertile eggs? I'm annoyed with my local craigslist posts. Seems no one is able to separate their roos and hens at the right times and only offer "mystery eggs" [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    My broody pen is about 5'x6', with a little of that used for storage. Plenty of room for the chicks for a few weeks, if necessary. The 3'x3' would probably do for one. I believe if I was going to build for two, I'd make two pens, or actually, make them so it would be easy to remove or replace the divider between them. I'd likely remove the divider a couple of days after the chicks hatched. Broodies will steal each others' eggs and get on the wrong nest -- which would be OK while setting, unless they both decide to sit in the same nest. Moving and squabbling over a nest can of course break eggs, too.

    Broodies do spend most of their time on the eggs, yes, but they need some room as well. They need to get up and get a little exercise every day, and be able to do a little scratching and pecking, and even dust bathing, if they wish. I won't keep their food and water too close to the nest. I also remove mine from the nest and prod them til they get moving, at least once a day. Occasionally they won't get off the nest at all, and they will die there, so I prefer to make sure I don't have that happen to me.
     
  3. Silkiebawkbawk

    Silkiebawkbawk Out Of The Brooder

    34
    0
    22
    Jun 30, 2011
    Laveen, AZ

    Thank you! I too rustle my girls out of the nest around breakfast time so I knwo they're getting some food and water into them. I pray for some personal hygeine time for them too.. They're bum feathers are looking a little haggard. I wondered about sticking the two together because both broodies practically sit on each other in one nesting box as is. But I have definitely caught them scooting eggs around when the other hen leaves the nest.

    One more Q; since I planned on making the broody pen inside my run, I wasn't going to put up tall no climb.. I hoped to use 3' tall so I dont need a gate or anything and can just reach in to change water/food, remove chicks/hen, whatever. None of my other hens are fliers, so I doubt they'd try to fly or jump into the broodie pen. That being said, would 3' tall no climb that is hardware cloth lined at the bottom be appropriate? (the rest of the run is 6' no climb)

    thanks!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by