Calamity Jane has been broody for three months now. Although she failed to successfully hatch the fertile donor eggs in April, she was not clearly at fault, so I have decided to let her try again.
Yesterday I stopped by the Bradley Farm near my work in Puyallup. I petted a pair of adorable miniature goats and purchased a mix of fertile eggs; Black Copper Marans, Lavender Orpington, Blue-laced red Wyandotte, and Delaware. It’s not like I can keep all these chicks, even if the hatch, but I still want to see them!
Among the lessons learned from April’s trail of tears was that I should isolate my broody so that 1) she can’t abandon the nest and 2) other hens can’t mess with her eggs. Another suggestion was a larger nest (mine are a bit sub-standard and CJ is a big girl).
With the eggs in hand, it was past time to build a Broody Box where CJ and her eggs would be safe. I looked at pictures online to get some ideas, came up with three designs of increasing complexity, and went with the middle one (after Scott’s reaction to my chosen model 3 made me realize I was being unnecessarily ambitious).
It took me 6 hours to build the broody box, using mostly materials I had lying about the garage. First I built a frame from 2 x 2 s, similar to those I built for the chicken tractor train.
Next I added a floor and siding to one end to hold the over-size nest box. The 100-year old cedar siding I used from our bathroom remodel still smelled delicious when I cut it to size. I figure it will help prevent pest problems. I gave the nest box a 3″ lip to help hold in bedding and eggs, and added a small floor outside the lip to prevent day-old chicks from falling to the ground. (Ojala that we get that far!)
I built a door that would open from the side, allowing the chicken to come out if I prop it open during the day. Chicken wire is stapled to the remaining sides and top, except where a removable solid roof prevents the nest from getting wet and allows easy access the eggs/hen.
I gave CJ the eggs this afternoon and plan to move the whole brooding family tonight. Hopefully she will take to the new nest!
[UPDATE: Broody loves the box]
we’re rooting for CJ!