Originally Posted by demp4
No I plan on leaving them with her. I have some inside on lockdown in 'bator (24+) should I take them out before they hatch and add them to her lot? or can I add them after they hatch? I only have one more outside but it woold be easier if she raised them all (or some of them). Less I would have to intermix later.
I have never done what you are proposing, but let me repeat what Rancher Hicks says he does...parapharsed, not word for word. He takes the first chicks to hatch from the momma and then puts them all back under the cover of darkness when the last chick hatches. So that seems to mean that hens will accept the addition of chicks when they are hatching eggs.
Personally I would not move eggs in lock down. Too high a risk of turning the egg (by mistake) and causing the chick problems (premature puncture of the air sac, neck twisting etc) and decreasing the hatch rate. Again, Personally, I would wait for a few chicks to hatch under the hen then add the incubator chicks under her, after it is totally dark in the coop. I'm not sure she can cover 24+ chicks, so you might want to only add 1/2 of the bator chicks to her load. The nice thing about chickens is they don't have to nurse their young, so you are not limited to the number of teats the animal has when determining adoption numbers.
PS Hens can't count. She won't know that she has more chicks than eggs she sat on for 21 days. Also, she won't leave the nest until the last chick hatches....and once she leaves the nest she won't return to hatch the last eggs in it (meaning she has decided that they are duds) She might leave to poop and eat, like regular broody does, but once she takes those chicks for a walk, she won't return to the eggs and may roll the eggs out of the nest to make room for the little ones.