Hello flockers! I have a flock of 6 adult hens and recently added 7 new chickens (10 weeks old) into a new grow out coop. I've got a mixed flock (no two are the same breed) and all is well... But I want me some buckeyes and I can't find any that are coop ready and I'm not set up in-home to raise them to be coop ready. There's a local place that will have buckeye chicks available soon (few weeks) and I was wondering if I took the most docile of my adult hens and placed her with the babies is that would be an utter murdering disaster or if she would "adopt" them and keep them warm and raise them... ? ? ? Or does this only work with a broody hen? I've had a few broody hens in the past but broke them of it in a cool-off cage. Any ideas? Yes, of course I could set something up in the bathroom here for a few (3 or 4) baby buckeye chicks for a few months before they are ready for the coop but then they will be the littlest ones of both groups and then I worry about integrating them into either group so little... Thanks for any input.
Will one of my hens adopt new baby chicks?
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Probably not going to work. About the only hen I have ever heard of adopting and turning "broody" at the sound of baby chicks is a silkie and even that is rare. Most hens will ignore a chick at best and peck them or kill then at worst. Even subbing chicks under a setting hen needs to be watched carefully. Some are perfectly content to take a little one and rear it. Others will reject a chick that is put under them. I had 3 buttercups (yes, I know they aren't supposed to be broody, but every Buttercup Bantam I had would go broody every summer.) that were co-rearing a hatch. I bought 3 chicks at Tractor Supply as there were too few chicks to go around with 3 hens. Two of them viciously attacked any chicks that were the correct coloring. The other one would take and protect anything that cheeped. I finally had to move her and the adoptees into their own area to prevent them from being pecked bloody by the other 2 hens.