|This is where she wants to be.|
Evening head count for the chickens is at chore time when we toss scratch into the chicken yard. They come running and are easy to count then. If I come up short I check the nest boxes, where the missing hen is usually to be found. If I get a short count several days in a row, I check to see if the hen in the nest box has gone broody.
A broody hen will maintain a puffed position even after being removed from the nest. I collect the eggs and wait to see what she'll do. If she keeps returning to the nest, then sure enough, she's broody. With no rooster at present, the eggs she's trying to set on are infertile.
I've actually been waiting for a broody so that I can get our next batch of chicks. All our hens are getting older and we haven't had any pullets hatched on the homestead for a couple of years. Egg production is down quite a bit so it's time to get some younger hens into the flock mix. Also another rooster, so we can keep on perpetuating our own flock.
Our nest boxes are a tad too small for a mother hen and 16 chicks, so I set up my brooder area in the chicken coop.
|This is where I want her to be.|
My primary reason for this is not only to give the chicks room, but to keep other hens from laying in the broody's nest. My chickens love to lay their eggs in a broody's nest. Does anyone else have this problem?
Unfortunately, my broody doesn't want to be where I want her to be! She keeps jumping fence and returning to the nest boxes. The non-broody hens have managed to get into her pen anyway and have been laying eggs there. In fact, it's become the number one egg laying spot these days.
I have until the end of next week to figure out what to do. I'd like to get her settled and used to the new nest at least several days before the chicks arrive. Seems a more secure pen with covering is in order, wouldn't you think?