My Sicilian Buttercup, who has never been a good layer recently started stealing the other hens eggs and sitting on them. We've taken them away from her several times, but she continues to be broody. We have five chicks we bought recently that are under a heat lamp. Could we put the chicks in the nest for her to raise, or would she not be fooled into thinking she hatched them and attack the chicks? Any advice?
Can I substitute chicks for eggs a broody hen is sitting on?
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Hi Madame Cluck! I would highly recommend that you join us over on the "Broody Hen Thread" where I can guarantee that you will find the answers to just about every question you might have about living with a broody hen. As to your question, it's a tricky business. Not impossible but if you don't do it right, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Most recommend that you do not try it until the hen has been brooding for at least two weeks and then undertake the big switch at night. The hen's hormones fluctuate throughout her incubating eggs and after two weeks she is beginning to 'hear' signs of life in the eggs she is sitting on and switches gears from incubating to imminent hatching. This means that she will be more amicable to chicks that you might slip under her. If you try it too early you risk the chance of her pecking the chick, injuring it or worse and rejecting it. Also you are risking problems if you try to introduce chicks that are 'too old'. Your choices with your hen are either break her or give her a few eggs to sit on and make her a happy hen.