A Tale Of Two Broodies And Two Chicks

| 6/17/2016 4:29:00 PM

Jennifer Quinnbroody heb

I had written back in April about my frustrations awaiting a truly broody hen to hatch the dozen eggs I had on order. Finally by April 23 I had my broody hen — one who had never shown any indication of broodiness before, and settled right in the first day. Within a week I had my shipment of eggs and by then a second hen had gone broody! So I set six under each hen — one in a nest box I had placed in a cage and one in a pen I had fashioned from a storage space under what had been a bench in my converted camper:

broody pen

On the third morning, however, Broody #2 was off the nest, letting me know in no uncertain terms that she wanted out of the coop. So I placed her eggs under Broody #1, while Broody #2 enjoyed a normal day outside.

Unfortunately, I overlooked one detail in my reading material on broody hens. It’s considered advisable to switch them to an all-grain feed ration, so that if the hen should poop in the nest it’s less likely to be messy and soil the eggs. Hens eat and drink very little — or sometimes not at all — while they’re broody. They do, however, produce very large and smelly poops every now and then, especially in the early days.   

Shortly after setting the eggs I noticed one of these in Broody #1’s pen (not in the nest), and cleaned it out thoroughly, I thought. Still, I kept noticing the odor. On the third evening, when I went to candle the eggs I discovered the reason: there was actually quite a mess in the nest box itself, which had gotten over most of the eggs!