When your hen decides to sit on eggs it can be a real disruption for the entire flock. She usually decides to sit in her favorite nest box which happens to be everyone else’s too. Stubborn hens get in the nest box with the broody and add eggs to her clutch. It becomes difficult to tell which eggs were her originals and which are new. A staggered hatch will not work with a broody. She will abandon unhatched eggs, choosing to mother her babies instead. After the eggs hatch things get even dicier when the broody is mixed in with the flock. If anyone gets too close to her babies she will fly off the handle and subject the trespasser to a beat-down. I prefer removing broodies after I am sure they are in in=t for the long run. I like to put them in a separate safe place to wait out the 21 days until their babies arrive. My old plan no longer works since I have roosters in the areas where I used to move my broodies. If the hen is mated the eggs can be fertile from that rooster for several weeks. Since I sell only pure eggs I have to suspend sales for thirty days after returning a broody to the flock. I needed a place for the Icelandics to brood and raise babies within the confines of the Icelandic coop. This morning I decided to remove a couple of tool boxes I was using for storage and turn that space into a broody condo. I was able to accomplish this for zero dollars by using material I already had. I tore down a grow out area we used for quarantine for new birds coming into the Buck ‘n Run and put them back together in the Icelandic coop. the condo is spacious at 25 square feet. It is light and airy from being close to the front glass door. The front wall is made of hardware cloth for ventilation and safety.
Here is the view from the inside. The broody condo occupies the corner to left of the door in this picture. I plan to construct a little pop door in the wire wall between the broody condo and the main coop. When the babies are a bit bigger and mama wants to take them outside, this will be their access. Please pardon the dust. Chickens are lousy housekeepers.
The broody condo was completed just in time to welcome it’s first tenant, a pretty Icelandic hen with two Icelandic chicks that hatched yesterday. This is her first time being broody. I gave her eggs from my incubator so she only had to sit about a week versus the normal twenty one days. She was a bit overzealous in sitting on the eggs and yesterday I found them flat as pancakes with little baby chicks squirming to get out. I gently removed the cracked shell and pried the baby out of the dried membrane encasing them. I handed them back to the broody who tucked them under her like she has been doing it forever. I fully expected to see dead chicks this morning from her sitting too hard on them. I was delighted to find two beautiful chicks being lovingly cared for by their Mama. I picked them all up and moved them out of the tiny nest box and into the broody condo.