Baby chicks to Setting Hen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kay E, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Kay E

    Kay E New Egg

    Jan 14, 2014
    I have been successful several times putting baby chicks I bought under a hen that has been setting. With the very cold winter my hens haven't wanted to set. I finally have one that has only been setting on a fake egg for three days. How many days will she have to be setting before she will accept babies put under her at nite?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I've never tried it less than 2 weeks so I guess I can't help.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That’s a question without an easy answer. Each hen is different. You can’t give guarantees about what a specific living animal will do.

    I’ve never tried giving chicks to a hen that has only been broody a few days. The timing has never worked that way. But if I had an incubator hatch with an appropriate number of chicks and a hen went broody, I’d try it.

    I’ve had hens that try to take chicks away from other broodies after they have been broody only 3 or 4 days. Many people on this forum say they have been successful when they try it. But some people also report that it does not always go well. Sometimes it doesn’t work with a hen that has been on a nest for three weeks. On rare occasions a hen will kill the chicks she hatches herself. These things just don’t come with guarantees.

    If I were going to get chicks at Tractor Supply to try that, I’d try to get them no earlier than 7 days. That’s just an arbitrary number I chose. There’s no magic to it. But even more important than waiting a certain time, I’d ask when the new shipment of chicks comes in and get some of them. The younger the chicks the better. If that shipment came in when it had only been three or four days, that’s when I’d try it. But I’d also observe and be ready to brood them myself if I had to.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum!

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