Originally Posted by ChickenCanoe
Another thing about adding chicks, the chicks need to be 1 or 2 days old or they may not take to the hen. If they leave the nest before she gets used to them, she won't pay attention to them. Adding at night has always worked for me.
I actually think that age was probably the biggest factor. The youngest we could find were at the local feed store, and they had already been there a day and a half. Add shipping, and they were probably 3 days old at the minimum that first night.
But several people online said up to 7 days is ok so I decided to try it.
We started with one chick on the first night. (About midnight) Half an hour later, we checked on them and it wasn't under her anymore, but was nearby, and they seemed calm, so we added two more under her.
1/2 hour later and she was standing up and kept moving away when they came near her for warmth. She stayed standing most of the night. I could peak at them from a window without disturbing them. The babies finally curled up with each other on the opposite side of the hutch.
In the morning they were still like that and it was chilly enough for me to worry. She pecked near one but wasn't aggressive (she's the most docile hen I've ever been around). But she wouldn't let them near her and just looked at them like they were disgusting aliens.
We decided to try again the next night, and removed some eggs as we went. But as soon as she felt them, she jumped back up and they slept on opposite sides again, ignoring each other completely. So we brought them back in under the heat lamp and have hand raised them since.
Considered trying it again, but we already have the original ones to take care of. I still might though, if she doesn't snap out of it and if I can find younger chicks. She will have been broody much longer as well. So that may help.