Saturday, July 14, 2012

DIY Broody Buster

Our alpha bird, Queeny, went broody. Since we are not planning on getting fertilized eggs for her to sit on, or to use the late-night egg/day-old chick swapperoo, we need to break her of the broodiness. Broody hens don't lay eggs, and it can really stress out a bird to remain this way since it can last for months given nothing ever hatches to break them out of it. 

So I built a broody buster, which is a fancy name for a mesh-bottom cage that you can keep the broody hen in for 3-4 days until she snaps out of it. The mesh on the bottom lets air get to her underside, which convinces her hormonally that she needn't be broody anymore. That's the theory at least - the wire cage could also block the transmissions from the mothership making her a demented finger-pecking menace.


This is made with 2"x4" mesh fencing and the bottom is 1/2" wire mesh. It features a fancy carrying handle that I found in the trash.The cage opens on one side and the door held closed by a spring-loaded wire catch, the spring was from the junk bin and the catch is simply bent fence wire.

The trick is to have the cage up off the ground  to let the air get underneath. I put a couple of bricks on the ground to raise it up, with some food and water for the crazed bird. The other hens are helping her get used to the chicky slammer (and by helping, I mean, eating her food and drinking her water).

Shouldn't be long now...

Update: After 4 days, the hen is no longer broody! She is back with the flock and acting normally. The Broody buster is a success!

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