Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘incubating eggs’

Last year, during our adventures in trying to get our Chantecler chickens to hatch out and raise some of their own eggs, we learned a lot about broody hens. After last year’s mostly unsuccessful attempts, this spring I bought a trio of Bantam hens to act as surrogate mothers for the Chantecler eggs. And I waited for one of the banties to go broody. And waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, just over month ago, one of the banties decided to start fighting her way into the Best Nest Boxtm and trying to sit on the same eggs that two or three of the Chanteclers were trying to sit on, but which I kept taking away from them (for our breakfast, and my baking!) We were about to head off to Kaleidoscope Gathering for 6 days, so I ignored them, plus I thought it was too late in the summer for the chickens to start hatching eggs. When we got back, the banty was still sitting, and the Chanteclers weren’t (much), and I talked to a chicken-knowledgeable local friend. She had some eggs being sat on, and didn’t think it was too late in the summer for baby chicks, “Think of it this way,” she said, “by the time the really cold weather gets here they’ll be three months old. And they’re tougher than we think they are, usually!”

So we decided to let the Banty sit on some eggs. I picked (pretty much at random) half-a-dozen of the (Chantecler, as opposed to bantam) eggs that were already in the nest box, and marked them with a big X in pencil so that I could tell them apart from the new eggs layed subsequently. For the past couple of weeks I have been taking the Banty (and no, like the rest of our livestock, she doesn’t have a name) off her nest daily, retrieving all the non-Xed eggs, and letting her hop back onto her eggs. In the past few days, however, the Chanteclers have started trying to get back in on the act, and have started sitting on the clutch of eggs, sometimes shoving the poor little Banty off “her” nest. I put “her” in quotes, because of course she’s sitting in the “best” next box, which is the one they all want to lay their eggs in.

So today I decided it was time to build her a Broody Coop, an enclosure in the corner of the coop to keep the rest of the chickens away from her and her nest.

Materials:

– a bunch of off-cuts and leftover bits of wood, some from the set of last year’s local community theatre production

– two gauges of galvanized wire fencing

– screws (a dozen or so different sizes & kinds)

– nails (3 or 4 different sizes & kinds)

– glue

Tools:

– electric drill, bits

– jigsaw

– extension cord

– backsaw (hand)

– measuring tape

– pencil

– shears

– cup of tea

– hammer

– and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t end up using but was good to have on hand in case I needed it…

The top and bottom frame were leftover pieces of theatre set; I wouldn’t normally choose 2″x3″ lumber as a construction material for this size of project, as it’s much bigger and heavier than needed, but they were the right size & shape, so I used them.

Step 1: Cutting the uprights, marking them, drilling pilot holes for the screws, starting the screws in the holes:

Step 2: Assembling the frame:

Step 3: Cutting and attaching a wooden “shelf” to one end of the frame to hold food & water containers:

Step 4: Cutting the wire fencing to size and attaching it to the frame. I used a combination of staple gun and roofing tacks:

All done:

The nesting area of the coop before:

(The smaller hen with her back end to the camera is the bantam who’s supposed to be sitting on the nest, she’s just been shoved out of the nest box by one of the Chanteclers).

And after:

She looks quite comfy in there:

The eggs she is sitting on might start to hatch as soon as Friday, or as late as Monday, since I don’t know exactly when they were laid. Hopefully we’ll get some healthy baby chicks!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »