Hi everyone. This is the first time I have created a new thread... bear with me.
BACK GROUND STORY: Last month one of my hens went broody. A Blue Wyandotte hen. I decided to go down the path of having her raise store-bought-baby-chicks. Our co-op doesn't want roosters and I felt like trying this method out. My goals by doing this were to break her broodiness and add a few more hens to our flock.
My broody hen is just a year old so she has never been a mother before. A few days ago, Saturday, my family waited until nightfall and we removed the golfballs that she'd been sitting on and then slipped 4 two-day-old chicks under her. 4 Blue-laced Red Wyandotte chicks. In the morning (actually Mother's Day!) everything looked great. I set up food and water and she and her new family were inside a dog kennel inside our coop. All seemed fine. She let them huddle under her. The sounds were nice cooing and peeping. It was lovely. We checked on her periodically during the day. A chick would come out, drink water, eat food and return under mama. Late in the evening I picked her up and saw that one chick was dead. I felt that accidents happen and that the clumsy hen just smothered and flattened the chick. Sad but let's move on.
The next morning all was okay with the hen and the remaining three, but at the end of the day... we had another dead chick. No signs of pecking, no blood. Just a little flat... and a broken neck. After a fit of crying, I decided to take the remaining chicks away from her and they are safe and cozy in a brooder in my shed.
So the QUESTIONS ARE: Could I wait until these little chicks get a little bigger and stronger to put up with a loving yet clumsy hen-mama? Has anyone had a similar experience with a broody hen flattening chicks? Has anyone successfully added older chicks to a broody hen? How old is too old?