We lost two batches of eggs to a snake. Mama hen had been on them for 10 days the first time, snake got them all, then we put in new eggs. New Hampshire is our chosen breed. When the old rooster croaks, we'll have exclusively NH roosters.
Five days later, a snake got most eggs again. I had only taken the first 300 yards away, but locals said that's not far enough. The second snake went to snake heck, or wherever they go.
I didn't know if it was healthy for the mama to continue on with another set of eggs. I checked with our localchicken guru. She said a mama hen will break off by herself if she's done. but we should give her room to do so, food and water.
So I built her a sturdy snake-proof mini-coop from a big dog training cage. In it she has her little egg nest cardboard box with pine shavings. She can get out at will to poop, eat, drink water. The only thing she doesn't have is a dust bath. And she's itchy we can tell, but we don't see any mites. She also has a touch of diarrhea, but our chicken guru says a brooding hen will do that often.
Only 4 days to go now! Go, mama hen!
Bolar clay loam ph 7.4 lightened with mulch, sand and sulfur. Caliche limestone 4-12" under that, so we build up deeper with retaining walls.
Agorist, Texas Master Gardener, 0-3 zone permaculture = from slippers to cattle.
Yeah, you have snake trouble. It sounds like you've taken care of it, though.
If, for whatever reason, you decide to move a critter to avoid having to kill it, a couple of kilometers/miles is a better distance. (I have friends who live catch and release mice and will drive a good 10 miles out from their place to "set them free".)
Your broody should be fine. I have hens set for a couple of months. They will get up to eat, drink, take a BIG "Broody Poop" (and they're very noticeable). They do quit when they've had enough. If you want the chicks, it's not a Bad Idea to have an incubator of some sort standing by, just in case.
I'm sure you've heard that most of us (Chicken Handlers Anonymous) set up some sort of "Broody Pen" at some point to allow the Broodies to be Broody in peace. I'm in the process of trying to figure out what kind of set-up might work best for my hens. I like the idea of using a dog crate, I have one that has been serving as a Quarantine Pen (not that we've needed it for that), and as isolation for birds who are moving on in the food chain. I think it would well as a start.
Thank you for that excellent idea!
Good for your Hen!! I hope you are the proud grand-chicken handlers of a nice large clutch.
"No one has been traumatized by a chicken or tried to lick something they shouldn't or attempted to eat packing peanuts so I consider it a win. Also since starting at this job I've had air conditioning every day, nothing has burned down, and nobody has been bayonetted so I consider it a step up from the last one"
- Catherine Dobbs on describing her day
I hired a bunch of ninjas. The fridge is empty, but I can't find them to tell them the mission.
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while