Adding babies to supplement a broody's eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by macmama, May 16, 2010.

  1. macmama

    macmama Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Gilbert AZ
    My Buff Orp went broody a week ago, and I gave her 6 fertile Wyandotte eggs on Thursday. She's a committed mama-- never out of the nest unless I kick her out to drink-- but the other hens keep sneaking in and laying their eggs with hers, and apparently one of the fertile eggs got broken. I checked on her this morning, and egg had dried all over the eggs she was sitting on and some of them were glued to her underside. [​IMG] I pulled them off of her, rinsed them off under slightly warm water, and put in fresh bedding... but now we only have 5 fertile eggs and I'm afraid none of them will hatch.

    I've heard of slipping some new babies under mama around the expected hatch date of her eggs... can I do that? Even if some of the 5 do hatch, I'd love a few more just to make sure I get 2 or 3 hens that I can keep. What are the rules on adding babies? How many can I add? There are plenty of people selling chicks around here, so I'll undoubtedly be able to get some new babies around June 2nd when our babies are due.

    Oh, and we're building an enclosure to keep mama separate now so the other hens stop climbing in with her.
  2. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

    Oct 8, 2009
    From what I have read you can do this if you do it at night and make sure to check on her and the chicks right away I hope that the eggs hatch and I would get her away from the other hens as soon as a possible so that they can't lay their eggs with her.
  3. Young MacDonald

    Young MacDonald Songster

    Apr 19, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    Many websites say do it in the evening because it makes her more likely to accept them, but my experience is that if she has been broody a while (at least 3 weeks) and really wants chicks, that's not necesssary. I did it last week and didn't even have to wait until evening. We did it mid-day.

    The trick is to put the chicks in a box (with a brooder lamp on an extension cord to keep them warm) near the broody where she can't see them, but she can hear them. Leave them next to her for a couple of hours. The peeping of the babies will switch on her maternal instinct. Then, you cup the chick in your hand so she can't see it and slide it under her, while at the same time pulling out an egg. You repeat this until she has all the chicks and no eggs left. Or in your case, if you have eggs hatching, you don't have to remove the eggs. You can google "how to get a broody hen to adopt chicks" to read about it, but it's really that simple.

    The chicks have to be small, no more than a few days. We gave our broody chicks ranging from 1 -4 days that my son's class hatched at school (in an incubator). She adopted all 12.
  4. macmama

    macmama Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Gilbert AZ
    Thanks so much! I think I can skip the heat lamp-- in 2 1/2 weeks when I add babies it will be around 100 degrees here. I'll see if we get any babies, then maybe add 2 or 3 more. I'll have to check out how to sex newborn chicks-- I'd love to add some babies I know I can keep.
  5. WildWoodsWoman

    WildWoodsWoman In the Brooder

    May 11, 2010
    Near Greenbay
    I have std Cochins and one hen in particular is one of the best broodies EVER! Broody Trudy will take chicks that she's never had a thing to do with. Broody for 2 days or several weeks, just thump the chick box so they peep and she fluffs up her feathers for them. It will be a SAD day indeed when Trudy goes off to the cackleshack in the sky. She has brooded a bit of everything and she's old as dirt. I can count on her to get chicks, ducklings, poults, and all off to a good start. No need to be sneaky and slip her eggs or chicks in the dark. She just fluffs up and makes room for more. She'll allow eggs under her to be candled, just don't try and touch any hatched babies!

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