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About to try to let broody raise day-olds but have logistical question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bawkbawkbawk, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Baby chicks due tomorrow from MPC. I have two hens, a broocdy BO and a non-broody EE.

    Am thinking about giving the chicks to the BO as she has been broody for a full month with no signs of letting up. My questions are:

    1) will the EE feel left out or try to hurt the chicks? In which case do I need to separate the mamma and babies into the indoor brooder and leave the EE all alone in the coop?

    2) the nest box where the broody is hanging out is at counter level - how do I manage the babies at that height? Do I pit them outside with mama when I make her go out for food and water or just keep food and water in the nestnbox and keep them all inside 24/7?

    3) if I keep the EE separate from the broody and babies, when and how to I start to integrate her back in with the new flock?

    Thanks for any and all advice!
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    My question is: Is your BO a hatchery bird? They try to breed mothing out of the hatcher birds so they aren't very good mothers usually. I had one that went broody and hatched out several eggs only to EAT the chicks AND let every other chicken feast on them as well [​IMG] I managed to grab TWO babies out of 8...SO sad Be VERY careful and watch her. If she pecks at them take them away right away. The EE will most likely attack them so I would put a fence up between the two IF the BO enjoys the chicks. That nest box is way to high for babies so I would make a little nesting area on the floor where the babies can get to water and food. Keep that low as well for a week or maybe even two until they can jump up on a brick block or whatever you put the water/food on. It's what I use and its great for little ones about two weeks old who just start to learn to scratch and then no shavings get in the water [​IMG]

    Good luck but watch CLOSE...I really think she may try something funny.
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    By the way...IF you have fencing between them then you can try adding the EE after about 4 weeks or so when the babies are bigger and can get away from her. If it's only ONE hen it shoudl be ok. Adding little ones to a bunch of new hens they say to wait until they are the same size. I totally agree with that!
  4. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

  5. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks so much for the input.

    My EE is very docile, even moreso than the BO. I would have expected her to be the better mother, but the BO is obsessed with being on the nest - we remove her forcibly a few times a day to make sure she eats and drinks but otherwise she will not budge from the nest box.

    They are both hatchery birds. We'll be super careful - I wouldn't mind just raising them in the brooder like I did my first ones, but then there's the complication of integrating them with the other hens at a later date...
  6. naughtyhens

    naughtyhens Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    San Francisco
    I would hold the babies in a brooder the day they arrive and put them under the BO in the middle of the night, when she's really out of it. Odds are good she'll take them if she's really good and broody but it's better if she hears and feels them before she sees them. It's scary but they will be really happy to find themselves under a hen even though they were hatched in an incubator.
    The EE might feel left out and it's best to keep her separate just until the chickies are a little bigger. Mama will protect them and after a while EE will get used to the idea and be glad there's someone lower on the pecking order than she is. I don't think hens have very good memories.
  7. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    I wouldn't mind just raising them in the brooder like I did my first ones, but then there's the complication of integrating them with the other hens at a later date...

    Plus the cuteness of mommy hen with baby chicks! [​IMG] just something I am SO happy I got a chance to see!! \\
    Well I for one will be watching this thread because I'm curious how she does. I hope they are ok and glad you will be watching them closely [​IMG]
  8. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I've never heard that about hatchery birds being bad mothers. I have a hatchery BO going on week 4 with her chicks, right in with the rest of the flock. No one's been pecked and mama shoos everyone out if she feels the need. She's been a FANTASTIC mama!

    If you're going to put chicks under her make sure she's been broody for awhile so she thinks they actually are hers. If you don't have time for that, add them in the pitch black evening. Check on them as the sun starts to rise to see mama's reaction.

    I would not separate her from the EE. Mama will protect them if she's bonded to them and the EE won't mess with her. My hen was penned up with her chicks the first week just to make sure the eggs and chicks stayed warm, but now the pen is open all the time and everyone's mingling with one another. Instant integration!


    Mama kicked everyone out of the coop so the babies could scratch, haha
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  9. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    I have a hatchery australorp brooding nine chicks I hatched out of a brinsea. She is an EXCELLENT mother. The chicks are almost three weeks old and she's kept them all going so far, even in a coop with 11 other chickens and a roo. I think it's that hatchery birds don't go broody as often, not necessarily that they will always be bad mamas. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  10. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    Quote:I have 2 hatchery birds that are excellent mothers, and another two that are broody that I have no doubt will be just as excellent. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but to say that hatchery birds cannot be good mothers is false.

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