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How to make a broody coop to stop your chickens and bantams being broody (takes 1 hour to make)

broody coup. mark one“Two of my hens are broody.” Bunty was exasperated.
“We’ve got a broody one too.”
This was our first summer of keeping bantams (a small friendly breed of chicken).
Bunty continued, “I wish I hadn’t suggested Bantams. I’ve discovered that they go broody at the drop of a hat.”
Years ago Bunty had kept chickens commercially. Those were a type of chicken bred for laying that rarely go broody.
She thought that she had the answer to our dilemna.
“We need anti broody coops. You’re good at making things. Why don’t you make a couple?”

My heart sank. I thought that they would take hours to make, imagining a sort of dog kennel with a wide gauge wire mesh floor.

To stop a hen being broody you need to stop her from settling comfortably. The trick is to construct a cage with a floor made of large wire mesh ( with at least 1 inches squares). Set the cage on bricks so that the floor is suspended, keeping the bricks to the outside edges so that she can’t sit on them. Provide a small drinking fountain and feeder within the cage and pop her in. She won’t be able to settle on the wire mesh floor and within a few days will get over her broodiness.

I went to bed early and woke at four. In the still cold light I realised that the entire cage could be made of wire mesh. I went to the garden centre after breakfast and bought three sheets of wire mesh measuring 90cm x 60cm. The cage is 60 cm long and 43 cm high and 43 cm wide This allows for an overlap at the joins.

Our broody coop is simple to make. Lay the wire on a flat surface, and bend 2 cm of wire mesh to a 90 degree angle along a 60 cm side. Then lift the opposite end and press it into the angled flap. Press firmly on the bulgy end and fold flat to make a clean angle and pull the ends apart. You now have the floor and one side. Repeat the operation for the roof and the other side.The flap may seem a bit fiddly but it makes the cage much more rigid and stable.

Now attach the the two halves together to make the body of the cage. I tied the two together with twists of wire at 5cm intervals. The front and back of the cage are made from the remaining sheet. Hold the sheet against the opening at the back and cut to fit using wire clippers. The back was attached using wire twists. The front is hinged at the top with sides that bend back a bit over the sides of the cage.

Having a hinge at the top makes it easier to put the chicken in the cage. If you put her in headfirst you can quickly drop the door down and secure it with pegs before she has turned around. We used clothes pegs but small bulldog clips would be good for a larger chicken.

broody coup 2

The broody coop in the photo is the mark one version. I made Bunty a Rolls Royce (mark two) cage out of plastic coated wire. Definitely worth the extra investment as it’s stronger and more durable. Carol (our Maran) has never been broody. If she was, I’d make her a bigger cage (the hen needs to be able to stand up). And it would have to be stronger than the mark one cage as she is a much larger bird than the bantams.

Our broody coop sits in the Day Centre. Bunty had hers in the run with a bit of wood as a roof.

It took me a while to realise when the perfect moment of release should take place. The chicken in the broody coop will ask to be released immediately. But bide your time. Her comb will gradually change from pink to red. When it is red she can get out of jail. If you release her while her comb is still pink she will nip back to the nesting box and you will have to start the process all over again.

If you have a broody chicken and you want her to sit on fertilised eggs put a floor on the bottom of the broody coop, fold the door over the roof and you have a quiet area in which she can sit for twenty one days, with easy access to food and water. She needs to be able to move away from the nest so don’t lock her in. Ideally, place the cage somewhere that is protected from the elements. Or construct a simple roof like Bunty did (a bit of plywood slightly bigger than the cage). It’s not a good idea to let a broody hen stay in the nesting box as it puts the other hens off laying eggs.


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130 Comments

  1. Hi,

    We have a sussex, an australorp and a leghorn. The sussex has gone very broody. Her comb is pinkish, and we’ve had to throw her constantly out of the nesting box, where she’d immediately run back into while fluffing herself up and making annoyed clucking noises. Funnily enough her comb would go more red once locked out for a half hour or so – but open the door and she was in again like a shot.

    We have them in a chook tractor at night with nesting boxes, and they run free range over our property during the day, and all three usually lay in the same nesting box. Unfortunately, this is where the sussex was taking residence. The laying of the other two hadn’t yet been interrupted but this morning we only got one egg (in the other nesting box); however this isn’t unheard of.

    We’ve tossed the sussex with some fresh food and water into an old chook house that was here beforehand, that has a concrete floor in it. There’s a largish window with wire mesh over it (that she tried to get through when we first put her in), and I don’t recall seeing any nesting boxes in there. Should this be an adequate anti-brood coup, or would it be better to make something with a mesh base and lay it on the grass?

  2. I have been dealing with broodiness this month with my Buff Orpingtons. I managed to cure Sheila of it, but now Omarosa (not a team player or nice) has gone broody and she’s really nasty. Here however is a problem with one of my Barred Rocks Big Bertha. I was told by someone that if you don’t have a rooster (which I don’t nor do I want) that one of the hens will act like the rooster and quit laying. Big Bertha is now called Uncle Bertha because that is exactly what she did. She tries to mount the other hens and isn’t laying. Anyone every heard of this happening????

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Noel

    Great that the anti broody coup did the trick.

    You can buy bantams that are not prone to broodiness and lay every day! There are bantam versions of most of the good laying breeds. It might be worth Googling and then looking on eBay for hatching eggs.

    When you have hens moulting feed them some extra vitamin supplements such as cod liver oil in their food. Moulting can go on for a few weeks but the feathers grow back fairly quickly.  Moulting generally means that the hen has gone off lay and is resting.

  4. well the broody coop did the trick, made exactly as per instructions, it really works,we only have 5 battams but it seems as though they go broody at the drop of a hat so there is usualy one doing time in the cage.
    i have been trying to get info on how the moult effects the hens one seems very down in the mouth and scraggy will they stop laying, and how long doesit last.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pete

    Great that your hen has got over her broodiness!

    This depends on how long she was broody. It can take a couple of weeks for her to start laying again.

  6. shes finaly stopped being broody and has fitted back in nicely with the others , how long will it be until she will start laying again

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Pete

    Good that she is in a quiet secluded place.

    The pecking order is a nightmare. There is not much that you can do about this, apart from organising several alternative places that a bird can retreat to. There is a hierarchy with chucks with one at the top and always one at the bottom.

    Now your hen is in the shed another hen will be experiencing temporary bottom of the pecking order status. This is the hen, backed up by the top of the pecking order hen that will give your hen grief when she is released from prison.

    Meanwhile she will be so pleased to be released from prison that she will just be longing for a dust bath and ignore the taunts.

    There are things that you can do to distract the others. Hang a cabbage so the hens have to jump to reach it. A football is another good trick if you have a chicken run. They climb on board and it moves!

  8. thanx for good tip, shes been promoted to the garden shed(still in broody coop) with the door open during the day so she can see the others because the others seem to be getting aggresive towards her, because of this can i re introduce her as normal or do i have to take ay precautions i obviously dont want her rejected, thanx again

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pete

    Your hen will be grumpy but she should get over her broodiness fairly fast. You could make a temporary feeder and drinker out of plastic drink bottles. Make a couple of holes near the top on one side and attach them to the cage with garden wire. She won’t be able to knock these over.

  10. well shes in solutry now making loads of noise and stomping around , im going to let her out to feed and water, as i havent got any spare feeders or drinkers and shes knocked everything over so far but will lock the others out first … ill keep you posted

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