Every prison movie threatens inmates with the “The Hole” That tiny cell, in the dark, with just food and water. We recently sent our broody chickens to what I am sure is the chicken version of “The Hole.”
I had two chickens that had gone broody and all the nice tricks that might have helped to break that cycle didn’t work. These two birds would sit on the nest box for hours, day and night. Refusing to leave except for a quick bite and drink of water. They forced my remaining egg layers to share a single box for laying. These two had stopped laying a couple weeks ago. We finally accepted that we could not break the cycle and this called for drastic measures.
We got out unused dog crates, decked them out with food and water and move the broody babes from nest boxes to dog quarters. The idea behind all this is first they can not get to the nest. It is a cooler environment that also contributes to stopping broody behavior; hens get warmer when they are trying to hatch eggs. Generally if a hen is confined to these quarters in 48 to 72 hours they will finally give up and go back to being a “regular hen”
I am happy to report that Lucy after just 48 hours is free and running wild like the free ranger chicken she used to be. I took Fluffy out and took her down to the spot where the rest of her flock were scratching and looking for goodies. She immediately headed back to the coop, and 30 minutes later she was still there. Back to the hole for her another day to see if we can convince her that we want her to get out and enjoy life and that fluffy chicks are not in her future.
I guess I am a prison warden of chickens.