ambitious plan for this year is to get our
broody hen to raise
three batches of chicks from our flock’s eggs, keeping several of the
pullets as layers and putting the rest in the freezer at broiler
age. For her to get her work done and all of those chicks raised
up before cold weather hits again, I figure we need to get started in
Harvey Ussery has an
excellent article about using
broody hens to raise your own chicks, and I plan to follow his
advice in as many ways as possible. However, since I have a bit
of time before our hen has to become broody, I’m
starting with a slightly simpler method of inducing broodiness.
First, I moved our nest box out of the entranceway to a more secluded
location at the back of the coop, then I added in eight golf balls to
simulate a nest full of eggs. If our cochin starts to show an
interest in the nest within the next week or two, I’ll move the
rest of the flock to their spring pasture (not built yet!) and let her
get to work. On the other hand, if our broody hen is
recalcitrant, I’ll move her into isolation to jump-start those maternal
urges. Wish us luck for a bountiful chick year!
refreshing your flock this year? Our homemade chicken
waterer works from
day 1 with chicks and keeps brooders dry.