Babies inside with us or with a broody hen?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by btpeters, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. btpeters

    btpeters Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2007
    Grafton Ohio
    Hello-- my husband and I just picked up 5 baby chicks hatched today [​IMG] at a neighbors and are trying to decide if we should put them under our very broody hen (we have 7 total hens in a 8 x 10 coop with attached outdoor run--they are totally free during the day though in our yard) or keep them under a heat lamp with us inside. We live in Ohio and the nights are around 55, but the coop is well insulated and I would think being under a hen would be very warm:) Could anyone shed any light on this decision for us? Would a broody hen even sit on newborn chicks that aren't hers?[​IMG] Would they be in danger from the other hens? (sorry if its a stupid question--we are relatively new to this.) We want the chicks to be friendly with our 3 little girls and so like the idea of handling them alot and keeping them inside...but also would like the poor broody hen to get to be an adoptive mama at some point [​IMG] (we have no rooster yet so her eggs she has been sitting on are sterile...) Hope this makes sense and someone could help us out--we know we don't have long to make the decision to put them under her or not. We were thinking it would be best to put them under her tonight if we were to attempt this. Any comments would be well received! [​IMG]
     
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    Apr 22, 2008
    Virginia
    I've never had a broody hen (haven't even gotten any eggs yet, lol), so I don't know the logistics involved in getting a hen to accept babies that aren't from eggs she has been sittin on, but if I had a choice, I know I would rather a hen do all the work rather than myself. Hope someone can help you figure out how to do it!
     
  3. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    If you are going to attempt to have the broody adopt them, putting them under her at night is the way to go.

    Take the eggs out and put under the chicks. Be sure the nest is low enough where the chicks can get in and out and to the food. Then watch her CAREFULLY to make sure she doesn't reject/peck them, both immediately after you do the switcheroo, and first thing in the morning.

    You'll also have to keep an eye on the other hens. Sometimes the broody hen is really good at protecting her chicks, othertimes not so good and the other hens may be too aggressive towards them.

    You can always give it a try tonight. If it doesn't go well, then you can put them in the brooder inside.

    If having them be as tame as possible is a goal, then you'd probably be better off just raising them in the house in the brooder where they get used to you handling them.
     
  4. btpeters

    btpeters Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2007
    Grafton Ohio
    wow--thanks for both of your quick replies:) it is good to know that byc people are out there and ready with some help when its sorely needed:D

    i think we will try to put them out there tonight, and like you said, if it doesn't work--then in with us they will go. At least now i know we aren't crazy to consider doing this;) I'm just very curious now if she will accept them or not. I've got a newborn so being out there at the crack of dawn shouldn't be hard...[​IMG]
     
  5. btpeters

    btpeters Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2007
    Grafton Ohio
    if anyone else has any other comments--i will be checking this one last time before they go out...thanks!
     
  6. frankenchick

    frankenchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Benton Twp., Michigan
    I put chicks under my broody 2 weeks ago, and it went very well. I did stay in the coop for about 10 minutes, waiting to make sure everyone settled in alright. And I was out there at dawn the next day to check.

    I keep mama and babies in the pen I used for my chicks last year (daytime) and in a kennel inside the coop (night). My hen is not high on the pecking order, so although she makes a good show of wanting to protect the babies, she does have trouble standing up to the two girls above her.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. btpeters

    btpeters Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2007
    Grafton Ohio
    it did help---thanks![​IMG] i wasn't thinking about the pecking order so much. luckily, our broody is the queen b, so we are going to try to have them all together and see how it goes...
     
  8. d_rooster

    d_rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2007
    North Augusta, SC
    How are things going with the broody hen and chicks? Did you try sneaking chicks under her last night?

    I was faced with the same prospect on some new hatchlings this week. I had once done the sneaky business of putting chicks under a broody, but that first broody had five eggs she hatched on her own plus five I gave her within a day of hers hatching.

    Lucky for me I had a Silkie hen go broody recently, but a snake had gotten her eggs, twice. She was sitting on nothing for at least a week. After a catching the guilty snake and reinforcing the coop/tractor, I gave her one more egg to keep her interested for a few days. Then, last night I gave her eleven chicks which were hatched last Thursday. I did this slightly before dark. She wasn't too happy and was clucking and pecking at me and some of the new chicks, but as darkness approached she seemed to settle down.

    I went back after dark to check on the chicks and a few had wondered over to a corner of the tractor/coop. I put those back under broody momma and made sure they stayed put before I left them for the night. I checked again this morning and all chicks seemed to be close to momma or under her. I plan to check again before leaving for work.

    While outside near the chicken coops this morning, I checked on my pens of other chickens and noticed a large black colored snake entwined in the side fencing of one enclosure. Five minutes of wrestling and pulling and I had that huge grey rat snake in a bucket ready for transport to far-far away. This is snake #2 I have hauled away in a week's time. Also yesterday I found what looks like a newly hatched baby grey rat snake. So I know there must be more and I'll be doing battle with these guys for years to come.

    In the past wife has complained about being tied down for travel with me having to feed and water the chickens. Wife is very afraid of snakes and somewhat relieved that the snakes are lured away from the house by the chickens. Now I've got justification for the chickens as snake lures. [​IMG]

    Good luck on sneaking your chicks under your broody. Although raising under a broody doesn't let you handle the chicks as much when young, it sure beats all of that dust, feathers, and mess inside your house (assuming you don't have an outbuilding in which to raise them). I've raised them both ways and outdoors with the broody gets my vote.

    ~Donald in SC
     

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