Broody Hen Housinggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
I was speaking with my mom and she told me her mother always kept the good broody hens in their own yard with their own little house. Mom said that the hens were always respectful of each others parental rights and didn't mess with anyone else's chicks. She said the hatch rates were quite good, and Grandma liked to do it this way because the hens wouldn't mess with the nests when one got off to eat. Does anyone do this, or have any experience with it?
-- Doreen (email@example.com), April 24, 2001
Smart grandma. Sounds like an ideal set-up. I recently had two hens brooding in my goat's feed room, which was almost perfect. No non broody hens to bother them, and they could come and go as they pleased. Only problem then is after the hatch, you got all those chickens scratching around in the goat coop;) It's true that most broody hens are smart about always going back to the same nest, wouldn't have any interest in bothering anybody else's nest, or any interest in the other hen's chicks. Last year two of my australorps hatched eggs about the same time. It was interesting to watch them at the feeder/water because the hens looked the same, the chicks looked the same. But when the hens walked off in different directions clucking, the chicks knew their own mother's clucks and separated off to their own moms.(Some hens, on the other hand, will insist that another brood keep their distance, but I've never seen any harm done that way. And one year I had two hens actually mother together. They were in areas next to each other, and got to looking over the short wall at the other's chicks which looked the same. Before you know it they were going around together, bedding down together.) I've also put hens in rabbit cages for brooding. They have room for their nest and their feed/water, but of course then they don't have room to run around and stretch their legs, so it's not ideal. They seem more likely to foul their eggs. Yep, a separate coop area would be perfect.
-- mary, texas (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2001.
My grandma was really incredible. I miss her. I've not had more than one hen go broody, so I wasn't sure how they'd behave with eachother. Based on my mom's tales and your experience, I think I will do that. I have the room, so it isn't an issue. Thanks, Mary!
-- Doreen (email@example.com), April 25, 2001.