Originally Posted by h2oratt
We have two under her but the rest of her eggs are not going to hatch. I have 15 chicks in the brooder. I would like to give her some more.
When i graft i pick up the chicks by placing my hand over the top of them with their heads at the heel of my hand and their tails at my fingertips. Cupping them this way allows me to slide them under the hen without her seeing them and if she pecks at my hand (which broodies are prone to do) she will hit me and not the chick, which would freak the chicks out even more. I slide my free hand under the hens chest and lift up slightly and slide the chick under, usually placing them to the left or right of the breast bone or under her wing, they can also be placed under the hen's butt, my nests usually don't allow me easy access to put them under her butt though.
I then remain with the hen for an hour or so at least, this allows me to help if a chick comes out from under her and is confused about going back under her and also to prevent the hen from pecking much at the chick. The hen may peck lightly at it to correct it about staying under her or she may be confused by the sudden appearance of chicks and strike at is as if it's an intruder, usually it is easy for me to tell the difference. Hen's can take a bit to transition to mother mode so a bit of patience is important.
Usually there is more trouble with the chicks being confused than the hen though, the chicks don't recognize the hen as a source of warmth and safety, they were used to a brightly lit brooder, the hen is dark and scary! When the chicks do come out I place them back under her after a few moments until I see the chick pop out, roam a bit and voluntarily dive back under mama...when I see that I feel better about relaxing the supervision. Chicks tend to mimic each other also, once one figures it out the rest often follow suit which makes it easier also.Edited by fisherlady - 5/6/16 at 5:44am