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Need some advice on giving a broody hen day-old chicks

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all,  I have 2 broody hens that I want to get chicks for.  I've done some reading on the subject and my local farm has chicks 1-3 days old.  2 questions:

 

1.  My nest boxes are quite high off the ground and the peeps will not be able to get there.  I have some temporary nest boxes that I've used on the floor (before hubby built the higher ones).  Should I put those on the ground for the hens and chicks?

 

2.  Is it better to "insert" the chicks at night, or doesn't it matter?

 

Any other advise is appreciated!  While we've had chickens for several years now, this is the first time I've tried chick "adoption."

 

Thanks!


Edited by HarmonyHen - 6/4/16 at 5:55am
post #2 of 6

"Inserting" chicks under a broody is a touchy business. It doesn't always work, and the timing has to be just right, besides.

 

If your broody has just started, it wouldn't be long enough for eggs to hatch, and she would be suspicious of chicks suddenly appearing under her.

 

If it's been at least three weeks that the hen has been sitting on the nest, then inserting day old chicks under her at night would probably work.

 

Yes, a nest on the ground would be much more practical for brooding chicks. (You already knew that.)

 

And I do not understand the title of your post. Why break a broody if you need her to brood chicks?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

OK, my goal is to get them to stop sitting on nothing and plucking out feathers.  I guess "breaking" was the wrong word choice.  Edited title accordingly.  If their setting can be productive, that's preferable.

 

They have been broody for a couple weeks now, one longer than the other.

post #4 of 6

I would never try to give a hen Chicks. She possibly will kill them all?

Lock your Broody hens out during the day in the run or free range them.

Usually they snap out of it in a few days.

post #5 of 6

I tried it the for the first time this year.  I put 8, one day old, chicks under a broody hen who had been sitting a little over two weeks.  She had hatched and raised chicks before so I knew she was a good mother.   I just tucked the chicks in behind her and under her wings.  She was pecking at my hand the whole time, but once I was done she settled down and immediately began clucking and cooing over her chicks.   Fast-forward 3 weeks later and she's strutting around the yard with all the chicks in tow, just as pleased at punch.  I put mine under her late afternoon, but it probably would have been safer to do it at night.    


Edited by Morrigan - 6/4/16 at 12:09pm
post #6 of 6

If a hen has raised chicks in the past, and she has been setting a minimum of 2 weeks, fostering chicks has almost a 100 % success rate.  It is best to place the chicks beneath the hen during the night.  I would suggest placing the chicks with the hen prior to moving her.  Place the chicks beneath her and block the nest site so that she and the chicks can not get out.  During the night she will bond with them because of their movement and peeping.  Move them in the morning after she has had this 'bonding' period.  Hens that have never raised chicks before must be watched a bit more carefully, but most will accept and adopt the chicks.  Good luck.

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