Bringing chicks home, would a current hen ever raise them?

amama

Chirping
Mar 16, 2016
119
38
96
Midwest US
We have 15 hens; several of them were broody most of last year, but always got run out of the nest box by the meaner hens. Some are super sweet and docile, and I wondered if anyone has ever had a mama adopt chicks from the farm store/hatchery?

I figured I could put the hen in the kennel/brooder divided by the panel and see how that went under constant supervision? I never wanted to raise chicks, but need more layers, so if a mama would do it for me I'd love it! I would just think the transition to the coop/foraging would be so much easier if it was that way.

Thanks
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,499
11,296
701
Central PA
A hen has to have been actively broody for at least two weeks before you should consider putting chicks under her. Hens are not nice. They're far more likely to eat the chicks than they are to set on them

They're likely to be better adjusted to the hens if you put them in the coop (well separated by a layer of hardware cloth) but I'm a fan of raising mine in the basement for the first few weeks. That way their immune systems have a chance to develop and I don't have to worry about hard shifts in temperature.

I definitely prefer it when the hens raise the chicks for me.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,049
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Unless she's been sitting day and night for more than 3 days, she's not broody. And the chicks need to be very young, preferably less than 48 hours old in order to imprint to the foster broody.
 

pittmanbirds

Songster
Oct 28, 2016
208
148
101
Pennsylvania
I have a hen of unknown age that i was given to me. She doesn't lay eggs and we were planning on eating her. She's a barred rock. Well she's very very gentle. She walks right up to you and wants held. My kids fell in love and miss Cornelius has been here 3 years now ( big tough husband grumbles but the girls got him wrapped around their fingers). Anyway she loves babies. I've never given her young chicks, just older ones that were old enough to go outside. She would not leave the separating fence where i was integrating the birds in. So i put her in with them. She happily let's them crawl all over her. She snuggles on the ground with them instead of roosting. When i put the babies in with the big flock she protects them. Only time i have every seen her peck at a chicken was when Lucy tried to peck at the new ones. Its so odd. Ive put her in the pen with every batch of babies ( usually 6 ish weeks old) for 3 years now. Idk what i would do without her! She will be greatly missed someday.
 

ChickenFajita6

Songster
Apr 1, 2017
135
322
111
I have a hen of unknown age that i was given to me. She doesn't lay eggs and we were planning on eating her. She's a barred rock. Well she's very very gentle. She walks right up to you and wants held. My kids fell in love and miss Cornelius has been here 3 years now ( big tough husband grumbles but the girls got him wrapped around their fingers). Anyway she loves babies. I've never given her young chicks, just older ones that were old enough to go outside. She would not leave the separating fence where i was integrating the birds in. So i put her in with them. She happily let's them crawl all over her. She snuggles on the ground with them instead of roosting. When i put the babies in with the big flock she protects them. Only time i have every seen her peck at a chicken was when Lucy tried to peck at the new ones. Its so odd. Ive put her in the pen with every batch of babies ( usually 6 ish weeks old) for 3 years now. Idk what i would do without her! She will be greatly missed someday.


She sounds like such a sweet girl!! I'd definitely keep her forever!
 

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