I have a broody hen (she’s lost her marbles, didn’t get the winter memo), so I built her a new special broody box for her own comfort and safety, out of hardware cloth, with a plywood base. A lobster trap meets a mailbox:First I put in a piece of foil, to reflect her heat on her eggs.Then cardboard.Then a “nest” of hay. A clutch of eggs (her eggs-I actually did the transfer very quickly from where she was setting in the main coop)A wall of hay bales around her, liberal hay underneath her box, and canvas for drafts and darkness (now it’s a covered wagon). There she is, settling in, front “mailbox” door shut. The first thing she did was throw a tantrum and knock over her dishes, but then she saw her eggs and simmered down.Naturally I had the usual helpers, doing anything in the GH:
Is that…Aluminum foil?
All done and closed up. Completely safe from any ground predators, just like the birds that get shut in their coops at night.
Now she gets breakfast in bed, in her prairie schooner. I plan to make a series of reusable kennels, for the broody hens next year. The cardboard box has many limitations. This is the right size for the first few days after hatching, when the chicks start to eat, but don’t go very far, and then they will go into the chickery after that.Snow White and her two white chicks lounging in front of the broody kennel installation on a warm day.
The temperature dropped over the holidays to “very cold!”, and I brought her and her mailbox into the house. She lives in the mud room now. I candled her eggs and they seem to be alive.
If she’s so determined to sit on eggs in the winter, well, we’ll try and give her a shot at success.
We’re gonna have house chicks!