The broody problem

I always recommend urban chicken owners to get a bantam or two with their first set of chicks. My main reason for doing this is that having a hen that will go broody makes adding subsequent generations to your flock a whole lot easier. Also, the youngsters get picked on a lot less as adults than when you add teenagers to the flock.

That said, I always forget the downside to broody hens. Egg production in the entire flock plummets if the broody decides to sit in the flock’s favorite laying spot. I’m not sure how they do it, but my flock is holding their eggs in. I went from getting 5-6 eggs/day twelve days ago to getting 1-2/day four days ago.

It’s been raining fairly often and heavily here in mid-MO so even after I decided on a plan of action it took me a few days to gather my supplies and find free time when it wasn’t raining to get out to the coop. I cleaned the coop two days ago, but forgot to pick up supplies for my Returning the Flock to Production plan.

Yesterday I rummaged through a recycling bin until I found some smallish boxes. I cut the bottoms and tops off the boxes making a tunnel. I then slid each of my broodies through a tunnel. In effect, cutting them off from rolling eggs under them and seeing the flock’s favorite laying spot. I had to move Calliope, my splash bantam Cochin back into her tunnel a few times, but she seems to have figured it out now. Georgia, My mille fluer bantam Old English never even blinked at me.

If yesterday and today are any indication my plan is working beautifully. 4 eggs each day.

Normally this 3 foot wide nesting box is not divided. All 6 of my hens lay in the far right corner most of the time. Occasionally I’ll find an egg in the middle or on the left.

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