My 12 month old buff went broody about 3 weeks ago, and I mean very broody--if I took her out of her nesting box and put her in a corner of the yard, she would sprint back to it faster than I could, regardless if there were eggs in it or not. I even scattered a few eggs in the roost to see what would happen, and 30 minutes later all of the eggs had been moved and were under her.
I've always wanted to let a hen raise chicks, so I gave it a shot. I placed her and her nesting box (eggs included) in a closed off area, and three days ago around 11pm slipped a couple 5-6 day old chicks under her wings and took the eggs. She seemed to adopt them right away, but I noticed she didn't get up at all, not even once (her food was barely touched, like only the chicks were eating, and there was not a single dropping in the enclosure).
This morning I heard the hen squawking, and found her pacing inside the enclosure, puffed up like a balloon with her wings out. She also had taken her first broody poo in days, and it was about the size of a goose egg. The chicks were in the middle of the nesting box and mostly buried in slightly damp but still warm wood shavings, like they had been smothered. I tried showing them to the hen to see if she cared, and she looked at them for a few seconds before walking away and stepping on one in the process. I took out the dead chicks and put a few eggs next to the box, and the hen immediately quieted down and rolled each egg into the box and sat on them.
I feel like the hen at least mostly adopted the chicks, because she stayed with them very diligently and didn't leave her nesting box until they died, but treated them like eggs--they looked like they were rolled under her and smothered. She still has a very strong interest in sitting on and protecting her eggs. Right now she is in the broody-breaker, but I don't have high hopes it will work.
Did I do something wrong? Is there still any chance of her adopting and raising chicks? Do I need to let her sit on her eggs for longer, or is she just a bad mother hen? This is the first time she has gone broody btw.
Edited by billygoat162 - 4/24/16 at 4:43pm