Please help! Unexpectedly broody!

Minky

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Nov 4, 2017
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Hi I'm hoping someone can give me some advice.

I got my chickens (7 hens) last Sept, one (Feather Face) went broody in early Jan after a 2 day mild spell, and I broke her of that by 4 days in a broody buster box. Well, in Feb I got a rooster and he met the hens last week, suddendly, FF is broody again today. I want to encourage her this time, but the nest box is high and unsuitable for chicks. I have an animal crate (like the type to ship cats on a plane) I would like her to use that to brood in. Shall I transfer her now into that crate, or should I slip the fertilised eggs under her, hope she goes the distance, and then put her in the crate with eggs on day 21?
How shall I manage this? My set up - hens and rooster share a coop, and free range, and I have an extra very large coop not being used that shares a wire wall with main coop. So I have a bit of space to separate her in her own pen, if that is something I should consider? or keep the pen inside the main coop- or use the cat crate.
Any ideas on the best way to achieve a happy broody hen in a safe environment would be amazing.
All ideas welcome.
Thanks!!
 
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Aug 13, 2017
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the coop
Definitely keep her separate from the rest of the flock for hatching chicks. Other flock members may pick on her while she broods or try to lay eggs in her nest and get her all confused.

I would move her to the place you want her to brood an observe her to see if she keeps the broody behavior (maybe put a fake egg in there to encourage broodiness). Then, after you're sure she is broody, slip the real eggs under her. :)
 

bobbi-j

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I agree with moving her before giving her eggs, if you do decide to move her. Put golf balls, rocks, door knobs, fake eggs, store eggs, or whatever other egg-sized thing you can put under her when you move her to see if she will set.

Moving her out of the coop is personal preference. I've done it both ways. One thing I like about having a hen brood within the coop is, she's still part of the flock, and the chicks get integrated right away. (A bonus if something happens to Mama before they're weaned). Even if you could separate her in the coop, but within sight of the flock would be good. Then you don't have to deal with "donated eggs", possible broken eggs from others in the nest, and you can keep the hen and chicks separated for a few days after hatch so they're stronger before you turn them in with the rest of the flock. (This is actually my preferred way of managing a broody, but I had a stubborn one last year that insisted that she brood in the main part of the coop). If you separate your broody within the coop, make sure she can either get out once or twice a day to eat, drink, dust bathe and poop, or has plenty of room to move around in her enclosure. Otherwise you may end up with eggs that are pooped on and not viable, and a messy nesting area. I am able to close off the entire end of one coop, with plenty of space for moving around.

If you decide to let her brood within the general population, be sure to mark the eggs you give her to set, then check and remove all extras every day. Otherwise you will end up with a staggered hatch, and that doesn't always end well. Mama will often leave the nest within 24 hours or so with whatever eggs have hatched, figuring the rest won't hatch. Then you end up having to incubate or brood a bunch of chicks or have chicks dying in the shell, days before hatching.
 

Minky

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Ok, thanks. I have some of those wooden Ukrainian eggs

I have a 3.5 x 3.5 pen (made from chicken wire, has a lid) that I can place in the coop,
and put a nesting box in there. Will that work?
Will the other chickens sit on the pen, and poop ?? Should I cover it with cardboard etc?
 
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Minky

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Thanks Bobbi-j ! Sounds great- I will do exactly that. I will attempt to move her tomorrow, and if it doesnt work, Ill enclose the nest box she has chosen and a small section of the coop with some chicken wire, tricky- but possible.
 

bobbi-j

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Ok, thanks. I have some of those wooden Ukrainian eggs

I have a 3.5 x 3.5 pen (made from chicken wire, has a lid) that I can place in the coop,
and put a nesting box in there. Will that work?
Will the other chickens sit on the pen, and poop ?? Should I cover it with cardboard etc?

Thanks Bobbi-j ! Sounds great- I will do exactly that. I will attempt to move her tomorrow, and if it doesnt work, Ill enclose the nest box she has chosen and a small section of the coop with some chicken wire, tricky- but possible.
The 3.5x3.5 pen could work. If it's going to get pooped on, yeah - I'd cover it. Is there a way for her to get out during the day to take care of business? Will be waiting to hear how things are going.
 

aart

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I have an extra very large coop not being used that shares a wire wall with main coop.
I'd go with this...but what does "extra very large" mean in feet by feet?

I put my broodies in a 4x6 area separated by wire wall in coop.
Gives them plenty of room to stretch their legs,
even if the separate attached run is not accessible due to the recent blizzard.
I take down the wall a week or so after hatch.
 

Minky

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The coop i could put her in would be 20 x 16 maybe? Has a roost that is the same hieght as main coop, and they share a wall. There is even a pop door between them. The chicks could fit through the squares in the wire I think- for the first week or so... so they would be able to wander ofver and get lost or injured by an adult flock member... - but I could put up some chicken wire across the lower foot all the way down the wall they share.

Anyways, I moved her to the pen just now (its inside the coop, next to the nesting area. )
I made a cardboard box nest box the same dimensions and moved her 2 fake eggs to the new carboard nest box.... she screeched at me put kept in pancake shape.... :) Then she seemed happy to be standing and took a drink and ate a strawberry top and had some feed, and then started to squak and chatter at me. I left to come back for dinner when she was still walking about in the new pen, squaking. I showed her twice where the eggs are, so hopefully she is all snugged in when I check on her after dinner.
 

Minky

Crowing
Nov 4, 2017
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Ontario
Ps. my husband missed an egg when he collected them, it was behind a bale of hay. I checked at 930 am, so it was out there most likely 2-4 hours in zero. (32 F) all day here.

Is it still ok to incubate? or no...
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
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Mar 15, 2010
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On the MN prairie.
Ps. my husband missed an egg when he collected them, it was behind a bale of hay. I checked at 930 am, so it was out there most likely 2-4 hours in zero. (32 F) all day here.

Is it still ok to incubate? or no...
You can try. The worst that will happen is it won't hatch.
 

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