Really need to clean the coop!

Scottish-Hen

In the Brooder
May 15, 2015
58
3
43
Scottish Borders UK
A friend of mine who kept chickens for years before his wife passed away taught me a trick to keep the birds warmer during a cold winter... He called it layering, where you spread fresh sawdust & hay on top of what you you normally clean out in the coop. (Was reluctant as it sounded gross! But I could see the theory.

Unfortunately our house sits in a wee dip and the temp can literally be 3/4 degrees C cooler in the 12 foot drop from the main road down the drive.

After losing birds for two years in a row during bad winters he said to try it. So we did and it worked - never lost a bird over winter again. The principle is the same as composting... As the bottom layers break down they release heat into the coop.

Problem is as soon as it started to warm up you have to clean it out (like a REALLY good scrubbing out!) this is always usually April/May but I have a very broody bantam in there.

Her sister just hatched all 11 of her eggs though we lost 2. And she went broody about a week after her sister hatched.

She had been coming out the coop daily for about 15-20 minutes until two days ago and now she won't move. We have water & feed in there for her.... She'll be reaching the three week mark soon.

Do I hang off for another week and see if she hatches (if she does we'll pop her in our 'indoor nursery coop') but if doesn't shall I just clean out the hutch but what do I do if she's still broody? Make up a box and pop her and the eggs in it? Get those dummy eggs for her? Take the eggs away (after candling them to be sure)

This is our first year of chicks in 5/6 years of having chickens because they've all been rescue hens till now so I've never had anything to delay me.

Just need to know best way forward to get this coop cleaned. This is the biggest thing Jock (my friend) said about layering - the urgency of getting it cleaned out as soon as the weather warms up. But I don't want to disturb a potential mama hen.

What is the LONGEST a bantum can sit on her eggs and still produce chicks?

Thanks!!!




Scottish Hen
 

3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,453
3,291
512
I would really like to see an answer to this as I have the same issue. The eggs she is sitting are very wanted and I am not sure she will stay on them if I move her and the nest to clean this coop.
What to do?
Thanks,
Karen
 

curious chickee

Songster
Mar 18, 2015
1,082
155
148
central valley, California
This the deep litter method. Some people clean it out 18 months instead of 12 months. It would depend on the size of your coop/ run. Smaller coops & runs need more frequent cleaning. My large run 22'x23' can go 18 months to 2 years before deep cleaning. I just a layer of mulch every 2 months and daily I toss BOSS and mealworms around the run to have my chickens mix up the litter for me. My sleeping roost needs to me cleaned more often. About once a month I scoop out the litter, throw it into the run and add more below the roost.
 

3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,453
3,291
512
What do you do about moving that sitting broody hen when you clean the coop? Does it reduce the chances of a successful hatch if you move her? Any things that can be done in a move to encourage a more successful hatch?
Thanks,
Karen
 

KayTee

Songster
8 Years
Sep 21, 2012
941
257
211
South West France
I recently had to move a broody hen before her eggs hatched - simply because she insisted on brooding in the highest nest possible, and I couldn't let the chicks hatch up there and fall out!

Three days ago I prepared a new nest in an enclosed area (to keep the new chicks safe and to stop her getting out and going back to the old nest). I used exactly the same bedding materials, and since she's a very docile broody I just took the eggs out from under her and put them in the new nest. I then picked her up and carried her over to the new nest, to show her the eggs. She looked a bit confused for about 30 seconds, but I kept pointing out the eggs to her and she sat down on them without any fuss. Yesterday she hatched me 3 copper black marans and a bielefelder! 3 eggs didn't hatch, but when I cracked them open they were bad inside, and seemed to have stopped developing very early on, so nothing to do with the move at all.

The decision is ultimately an individual one, depending upon the current coop situation, temperament of the hen etc. At the beginning I tried to move this hen, but when she got off the nest each day to eat and poop, she insisted on going back to her original nest. However, near the end she was happy to stay where she was put (especially as I made it pretty **** difficult for her to get out of the enclosure!) If your coop can stand another week or so before it's cleaned then I would be inclined to hang on a bit, but if an urgent move is needed then I can say that in my case it worked without affecting the hatch rate in the slightest.



What is the LONGEST a bantum can sit on her eggs and still produce chicks?
Chicken eggs are extremely predictable - they hatch 21 days after first being incubated (give or take 24 hours). At 23 days I would say to remove any unhatched eggs, place them in a bowl of water at 37°c and watch for movement (known as 'water candling'). Chances are there will be none, in which case they aren't viable. Should you be lucky enough to see a rocking movement then you still have a chance of a chick hatching and can put the egg back under the hen.

If none of the eggs hatch (fingers crossed that's not the case) then the best thing would be to get some day old chicks as soon as possible, move her to a new nest, and put the chicks under her. I've done that three times and had the chicks accepted every time.
 

curious chickee

Songster
Mar 18, 2015
1,082
155
148
central valley, California
The way my coop is set up my, I just clean the coop and leave her be. Me using my pick fork in the coop doesn't bother her. I scoop the coop farthest away from her and then use a rake to get the litter near the nesting box. I don't get close to her so she isn't bothered.
 

KayTee

Songster
8 Years
Sep 21, 2012
941
257
211
South West France
Congratulations on your hatch!
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Don't leave the unhatched eggs under her for too long though - she won't want to get off the nest and start looking after her new babies.
 

Scottish-Hen

In the Brooder
May 15, 2015
58
3
43
Scottish Borders UK
Congratulations on your hatch! 
Don't leave the unhatched eggs under her for too long though - she won't want to get off the nest and start looking after her new babies.


Two of the eggs hatched fined but the last needed help. Aft a few how's of having pipped I decided to intervene. She was very dry and literally couldn't move in the egg. However once she was out like you said mama sprung into action showing the others how to drink and eat THANK YOU
 
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KayTee

Songster
8 Years
Sep 21, 2012
941
257
211
South West France
I'm really pleased for you and your new chicks. Now be prepared to spend hours and hours wasting your time just watching them!

Mine are a week old, and I can't stop going out into the garden to see what they're exploring for the first time with their mum. They've already found the dustbathing areas and the bird feeder with all the dropped seeds, and mum has taught them that every time I come out of the back door there's a pretty good chance of treats, so they need to come running fast! They're so cute - everything is new and exciting and different (and sometimes scary!) Today my husband put the mower over the lawn - I was terrified that it would freak the chicks out, but they stayed close to mum, out of the way of the mower, and were absolutely fine!
 

MANNA-PRO

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