Best way to swap chicks under a broody

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by annaraven, May 6, 2011.

  1. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Okay - so my broody has been sitting for 21 days and started hatching yesterday. More hatched today. (5/5 & 5/6 hatch) Mixed breeds and sizes. Thing is, those chicks belong to someone else, who wants them back. So....
    Tomorrow, I'm going to buy some chicks who were born 5/3 and put them under Buffy tomorrow.

    Question: is it better to

    a) put the 5/3 chicks under Buffy while the 5/5 chicks are still there, so she thinks they just hatched (she still has some eggs under her) and loses track of how many she has, or

    b)give the 5/5 chicks back to their owner and then put the 5/3 chicks under Buffy?

    c) something else?
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I would make the swap at the same time. Take the ones going to the new owner out, put the new ones in. Best to do it late in the evening if you can. Hens can't count and they can't distiguish breeds.
     
  3. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Well - today we did the big swap. Took eight, (yes EIGHT!) hatchlings from Buffy and put them in a box. Drove them to their owner along with the shells they'd hatched from. Drove on to the chick sale and bought 3 chicks: 2 dorkings (6day old) and 1 barred rock (4 day old) and went home with them.

    Went out and checked on Buffy who was still on her eggs (the fertile ones that hadn't hatched yet and the 2 unfertilized ones her sister had bequethed her) and I palmed a chick, one at a time, and stuck it under Buffy. Closed the pen and left her alone for a few hours. We just went out and there she was, quite happy with all three adopted babies under her.

    When we got there, she hopped off and came looking for treats, which we gave her. She happily pecked for a while, and then fluffed up good, and went back in on her nest. The three adopted babies dove under her again. Hooray!

    She's SUCH a mama hen. (One of our grown-up chickens likes to hide under Buffy's wing when it's cold so I shouldn't have been too surprised that she'd take in 3 new ones without a problem.)

    ETA: I think the fact the eggs are still hatching (one hatched last night!) and that there were standards and bantams, so all different sizes, might have helped.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  5. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Conroe, Texas
    Sweet update, glad to hear Buffy and her new babies are doing good. [​IMG]
     

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