Adoption story!


Mar 16, 2009
South Central PA
I know many have questioned whether or not a broody hen will adopt chicks. I have a wonderful mamma hen who has adopted many a day to week old chicks when she's been broody or already has some young chicks of her own. She always accepts them and I've usually given them to her at night.

Well, this time I had a different situation. I raised some chicks in the house (just three) and hadn't decided at what age to put them out in the coop since its still cold at night here. I had a broody hen who hatched only one chick about two weeks before my incubator chicks were due to hatch. I figured getting her to adopt day old chicks when her chicks were two weeks old would be out of the question. I kept my bator chicks indoors figuring that I would wait until the weather was warm enough to turn them outside some day.

My indoor chicks are now four weeks old. My broody's chick is six weeks old. I decided to introduce them on a warm day, during the day time and see what happens. When my mamma hen heard the new babies cheeping, she really perked up! She got very excited and wanted to see what was the commotion. She was very concerned about these babies. I put the chicks on the ground and mamma really wanted them to follow her, but bator babies have no idea what a mamma hen is!! They didn't understand her. They did take to her one baby and began following the other little one around a lot.

Everything went great during the day and that evening I was concerned that if I put the chicks in the nest box with the hen and other chick, she would kick them out or they would hop out and freeze during the night. I tried it anyway, and everyone was bright eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning. I did this again on day two... put the babies under the hen at night. Next day everyone was fine.

I went to the coop after dark on day three to put the chicks in the nest box so they would keep warm during the night, and guess what??? They had gotten into the nest box with mamma and her other chick all by themselves! They get in the nest box every night now all on their own! However, during the day they still don't pay much attention to mom, but I think eventually they'll catch on.

I didn't think it was possible, but I got a mamma hen to accept 4 week old chicks while she had a six week old chick of her own. She's just such a good mom, I think she'd raise baby kittens if I gave some to her! Just thought I'd share my experience in case anyone else was wondering if such a thing would work. I really think it depends upon the mamma hen, and I just lucked out and got a good one!
Awe, that's a shame. I guess it all depends on the hen?

I just checked on my little family this evening and it was still early and everyone was all tucked into the nest box. Mamma even moved all of them to a higher nest box on the upper level and the new chicks followed! I am so pleased!
The chicks are not only sleeping in the nest box at night, but they are finally following the hen around like she's their mom! I think they may even understand what she's "saying" to them!
What a good mommy. She needs extra treats.
Mom and her chicks are still doing great. They even came out of the coop for some free-ranging the other day and the adopted chicks actually stick closer to mom than her own baby! They are getting along great with their adopted sibling too, who is about two weeks older. I think this is just amazing. I've had broody hens adopt day old and even week old chicks, but a hen off the nest with a chick of her own adopting two 3-4 week old chicks? That's just unheard of! Until now!
I tried a similar thing ... mama was interested but her babies were hostile . Then mama got hostile starting to join in the pecking. I gave up. You have the magic touch

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