1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

24 Baby Chicks Adopted by Broody

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MrsBrooke, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    267
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    I've always heard rumors about hens that go broody will adopt baby chicks if you switch the babies for the eggs/rocks/golf balls/etc at night... They "wake up" with a nest full of miraculous babies!!

    We had THREE hens go broody, so after a week or so when we were SURE the mamas were sticking, we decided to buy 24 sex-link chicks for guaranteed females to give eight each to the hens. We snuck the babies under and switched them for the ceramic eggs they had. With a little fussing and clucking, the mamas settled right in on their new charges, and we left them to bond overnight.

    The next morning, I go out to feed everyone, and two out of three of the broodies ABANDONED their chicks!! They jumped off the nest, left their chicks in the dust, and joined the rest of the flock for breakfast........ and never returned to the nest. In an act of desperation (since it was still a little chilly, and the chicks started alarm-peeping), I shoved ALL. TWENTY. FOUR. under the remaining broody who took them... albeit slightly confused and bewildered.

    So far, the chicks have stayed right with her, and we moved her to her own little broody pad where she can concentrate on raising her large brood.

    To date, the other two broodies never went back to sitting on their nests. Having the chicks overnight somehow BROKE them of being broody, which was a real shock and disappointment.

    FORTUNATELY, Sassy, the last broody and one of our largest hens, has taken over and is doing a GREAT job keeping all her babies nice and toasty. :)

    Goes to show you that we plan, and God laughs, but He also provides abundantly!

    [​IMG]

    Here she is with her two dozen babies... I'm certainly grateful for Sassy's work ethic and her large abundance! [​IMG] This MUST be some kind of record.

    Felt like sharing. Have a great day, y'all!

    MrsB
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    congratulations on your brave momma hen!

    For future reference, it's best to wait for the hen to be setting for about 3 weeks to graft chicks to her. That's how long it takes eggs to hatch, and there's hormonal things that happen while she's setting for that long. It may be why your other two hens broke so easily. Just in case you want to try again--although with 24 new babies, you may not need to!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    267
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    I read accounts on both sides of the fence regarding length of time they're broody before giving chicks.

    Some people swear up and down that "chickens can't count the days," and some people, as you suggested, say that timing is everything.

    Next time, I will definitely let them stick longer before offering babies (if we need to, indeed!!!).

    There's always room for two dozen more! Thanks for your input... I appreciate it!

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    MrsB
     
  4. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chillin' With My Peeps

    188
    46
    70
    Jul 2, 2015
    Tennessee
    Congrats!. I think for next time that it depends on the individual hen as well as the length of time. I have one silkie hen that will take any chick any time. Last spring I had 3 silkies broody at once- one who had been broody for over a month, one who was about 2 weeks in and one who was about a week in. The one who was broody the longest did not want the chicks I tried to introduce and decided she was done being broody. The hen who had been setting for two weeks was happy to get them and raised the whole batch- fortunately a smaller amount than yours. I separated the one who took the babies to a broody coop and the remaining one week along broody hen stayed broody and hatched a batch of shipped eggs for me a few weeks later. The one who accepted the babies has turned out the be one of those natural broodies who will take care of chicks even if she's not broody but she's the only one I have like that.
     
  5. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    267
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    How fortunate for you! My MrB and I have thought about adding Silkies or Cochins to our flock JUST for that purpose. :)

    I'm so glad your mama took the chicks! [​IMG] A wonderful, happy ending.

    MrsB
     
  6. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chillin' With My Peeps

    188
    46
    70
    Jul 2, 2015
    Tennessee
    I have other breeds, but I wouldn't be without my silkies. I've not owned a cochin yet so can't comment personally on their abilities but they are supposed to be great broodies too. I have 6 adult silkie hens and a bunch more new babies and broodies setting on silkie eggs this year so I'm hoping for more of the same. Silkies are surprisingly good layers when not broody, eggs are 2/3 the size of full sized hens, and they are wonderful cuddly teddy bears. Mine have always been healthy and tolerate heat, cold and rain very well. I don't free range much so that is not a factor for us. I would heartily recommend them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Did I miss what breed Sassy is?

    Sadly, the thing with bantams like Cochins is they can only cover so many large fowl eggs/chicks. I love my bantam Cochin broody mommas, but I'm hoping to get a few large fowl in my surprise hatchery order so I can really pack the eggs under them [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. ChickenGal6

    ChickenGal6 Out Of The Brooder

    38
    2
    26
    Apr 2, 2016
    That is so touching God really does have his way MrsB
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    267
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    Sassy is a big, ol' heritage Australorp. :D

    If we did the Cochin thing, we'd get large fowl (just for the egg-coverage thing you mentioned).... but the bantams are SO stinkin' cute!!! [​IMG]

    MrsB
     
  10. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    267
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    [​IMG]

    Here is the happy family in their special little brood pen. :) It originally housed a bachelor rooster who needed his own space.

    Everyone is just thriving!! :D

    MrsB
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by