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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. Nicci

    Many Thanks for helping me out!

    I will leave her where she is, I will keep here out the sun again tomorrow and no doubt catch an earfull off her when I go near her cage!!!

    I will give you a shout if I need any more expertise.

    Can’t thank you enough!!

  2. Nicci

    Hi,

    Can someone please help me out here, my chicken is in the broody coop(dog cage) on briks with the garne parasol over the cage to give her some shade(its really hot today) It has no roof on it and I cant make one as my partner is away with work and i’m not good at DIY. Will it be ok to leave her in this over night(supposed to be keeping warm) or shall I try and make room for it in the garden shed? Any suggestions.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Nicci

      Sorry to reply so late but I’ve been out all day.

      Good idea to shade her from the sun! She shuld be fine without a roof tonight.

      You can make a roof for the coop using carrier bags. Try and put the coop in the shade.

  3. Kerry Dawson

    Ive bought a small dog crate this evening and set it up in the shed. Im putting the girls in it tonight at 8pm (their normal bedtime).

    Its just like you said; a wire cage with a wire floor and food and water.

    They’re gonna hate me!!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Kerry

      Yes, they’ll hate you for a few days but they won’t spend the entire summer moping and loging for a brood. The latter would be dreadful for the chickens and they would really suffer.

      A dog crate is a great idea! Thanks for the update.

  4. Kerry Dawson

    I was told by someone I met on a chicken forum to put my 2 broody pekins in a cage to ‘break’ their broodiness and I thought it was mean, so I decided to just let them be broody, turfing them out of the nest box 3 times a day to eat and drink.

    This has been fine, but its been 2 weeks now and Im tired of it!!! I never see them and there are no eggs, so whats the point of having them?!

    So after reading this I’m getting a small dog cage (I cant make stuff!!)and isolating my girls in the shed ASAP!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Kerry

      The broody coop route is the kindest I think. Hens don’t want to be broody if they are not sitting on eggs they want to be out and about and enjoying life. If you put fertile eggs under them it’s a different matter and they will generally love raising a brood.

      Hoever if you just leave them they could be broody until the autumn, loose a lot of condition and have problems in the winter.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi GS

    Your cage sounds ingenious!

    Yes the cage needs a roof (we put ours in aopen fronted chicken shed) – against strong sunshine and/or rain. Heavy duty plastic or roofing felt would do.

  6. Hello all, I too have a broody and have made an impromptu broody cage consisting of:

    A bird food crow protector: this is a metal cage with 2″ square mesh. It had no floor so i’ve attached some chicken wire to the bottom of it.

    I’ve suspended the four corners on blocks so the bird cannot sit comfortably.

    There is a plastic feed bowl tied to one corner and a water bowl to the other.

    It’s been in there since Sunday night and it happens to have been dry weather. Should the pen have a roof on it?

  7. Sarah

    We have took on two bantam hens from someone who no longer wanted them and are loving having them! One of them has been broody for about 4 weeks now and we didn’t know what to do despite trying to find out, after reading this we are now going to build a broody coop and try that. The enclosure we have for them is very big and there is plenty of room, I would love to extend our chicken family to another 4 but I really don’t know how to go about this. Any advice would be great! Many thanks.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Sarah

      You can buy hens on point of lay (pol). Just Google for breeders in your area.

      Or you could by some bantam hatching eggs off EBay and put these under your broody hen. Then you will have the fun of the chicks!

  8. Tania

    I’ve just found your website after searching for a solution for my two broody Brahmas. I was just thinking of how to build the coop when I remembered the puppy cage that I reared my two small chicks in. I’ve taken the plastic bottom out, put it on bricks in the main chicken run, and put the two grumpy girls in. They are looking highly indignant, and clucking furiously but they haven’t sat down in over an hour. What a brilliant solution – thank you so much!! So if anyone has a dog cage, and it’s a good size, it provides a perfect coop.

  9. Helen

    Gladys is in the Broody Coop (or the Moody Coop, as my daughter prefers to call it!) I moved her with gardening gloves in the end! She’s not as bad as I thought she’d be, just really noisy. The next problem is how to prevent her from getting an ASBO while she’s in there for noise pollution! And we now know what you mean about the huge smelly poo!
    Thanks again, and I’ll let you know how she goes on when she’s free again!

  10. Katie

    Hi Helen

    That really made us laugh about your aggressive broody hen. We had the same thing but if you actually feel their peck it doesnt hurt and if you leave your finger there they stop biting you after the the first or second time you try and pick them up, it doesnt take long before you can pick them up with no problem, especially when you put them by food!

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