Just when I was having to think up new recipes for the excess of eggs, two of the hens decided to halt their day job. The ever reliable Isa Browns are still doing their egg-a-day- routine, but both the Barnevelders have other plans.
Betty has decided that it’s a good time to get a jump start on the Autumn moult and is too busy losing feathers. Bluebell however, decided that it was a good time to get broody spending hours at a time on the nest. We tried shooing her off the nest, collecting the eggs more frequently but nothing seemed to work and when hens get broody, they stop laying, they’re not spending enough time scratching for food and in general they are more susceptible to health problems.
Enter the broody breaker.
I went hunting online after a tip off from a Facebook friend and found a great article on broody breakers. I did think about trying to buy one, but decided to take a look at what I had in the backyard and see if I could make one. The important elements are to allow circulation under the chook (to cool them down and help regulate their hormone levels), not allow any materials for them to make a nest, and provide them with the basics – food, water, shelter and a roost. It’s also suggested that it is set up away from the other chooks, but being the only fox proof area of our garden, I decided to set it up in the run.
I found two plastic crates and some wire panels. I cable tied them together to make the frame and hinged roof. I then used a wooden stake for a roost and created shelter at one end using two used yoga mats.
After placing this in the run I organised bowls for water and food bowl and placed Bluebell in the breaker. None of the chooks were happy but they settled down after a while. Bluebell spent three days in the broody breaker before I let her out (the longer you leave her being broody, the longer the hen usually needs in the breaker) and it worked. No more broody hen!
Anyone else have success with a broody breaker? I would definitely recommend it!