Broody Hen Adoption

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickenlovers6, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Chickenlovers6

    Chickenlovers6 Out Of The Brooder

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    This winter, we lost one of our sweet bantam hens and although we miss and love her, are ready for another chicken. We live in the suburbs, so no roosters allowed, but we thought about maybe slipping a chick or two underneath a broody hen this spring/summer. This would be our first time doing this, so I just have a few questions:

    -Are there any drawbacks on bantams vs standard sizes while adopting?
    -Is it possible to only have the hen adopt one or two chick(s)?
    -How do I choose which hen should adopt?
    -Is it better if I have her adopt more or less chicks?
    -Should the chicks be the same breed (bantams with bantams, standards with standards, of course. But breeds meaning cochins, plymouth rocks, ect.)
    -At what age should I let the mama and her chicks roam around freely with my other two hens (same age as mama)?
    -Will the other hens (including mama) pick on the chicks after they become old enough to fend for themselves?
    -I can only keep one chick. Will that affect anything?
    -Is this easier than raising them yourself?
    -Is it worth it?

    I know that's a lot of questions. you don't have to answer all of them, just the ones you know. If I do decide to do this, I really don't want to screw it up (#crazychickenlady). Thanks for the help! [​IMG]
     
  2. BoomChickaPop

    BoomChickaPop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would choose your most sweetest favorite bantam
    Then if they are laying when she goes broody put 1-2 eggs under her so she gets the feeling to sit and raise babies.
    You can pick if you want standard or bantams but bantams are preferred. After she has sat on eggs for at least 3 days.
    At night slip a chick or 2 under her and see how she reacts.
    A bantam can have 1 chick but chicks like to be with other chicks, it helps them through life.
    I would not put the bantam mom and chick in with other birds till the chick is at least 1 month old.
    It is easier than raising yourself. Because the broody hen does it all for you she warms, feeds, teaches, and loves the chick.

    If you do let mama out with chicks and other hens you will have to watch the behavior of the other hens. If the other hens start looking like they want to attack the baby get them out of there!
    Mama will not pick on her chicks until they leave her at about 3-4 months sometimes 2 months.
    If you have anymore questions feel free to ask
     
  3. TurkenMomma

    TurkenMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just did this. I had a horrible incubated hatch where only one egg made it. I just happened to have a broody hen. The chick is a standard size and my hen is a silkie. I just slipped the chick under her wing one night while she was sleeping. I didn't sleep at all that night but when I woke up, she had adopted the little chick. All is well now. I think it depends on how broody and sweet your hen is. I put the chick in when it was 24 hours old. It's been nice to not have to worry about heat but I did separate them from my other hen, just in case.
     
  4. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello Chickenlovers6,
    I cannot offer you much insight into bantams but there are ways to make work, what you are trying to do. I will address each point individually.
    -Are there any drawbacks on bantams vs standard sizes while adopting?
    Size differences usually result in the smaller birds getting picked on but bullying is controllable.
    -Is it possible to only have the hen adopt one or two chick(s)?
    Yes.
    -How do I choose which hen should adopt?
    If you do not have a broody hen this may be impossible. Some breeds are more willing to adopt than others. Silkies and Cochins for example are excellent mothers and are known on occasion to raise babies that are not even chickens! Others like the Red Star have had their maternal instincts all but bred out of them and so won't do anything for you to help with the problem you face here.
    -Is it better if I have her adopt more or less chicks?
    Chicks like to be around other chicks. It helps them develop the social skills they'll need. A few is better than a couple, no need to go over-board though.
    -Should the chicks be the same breed (bantams with bantams, standards with standards, of course. But breeds meaning cochins, Plymouth rocks, ect.)
    You can mix breeds. Sometimes this can encourage bullying if one is smaller or looks way different than the others but again, bullying is controllable. If your chicks have all their needs met there should be no danger to mixing breeds in one flock if they're about the same age/size.
    -At what age should I let the mama and her chicks roam around freely with my other two hens (same age as mama)?
    Chicks need to have enough feathers on them to be warm if your flock is outside. 4-5 weeks is the earliest I would begin introductions and it is important to monitor and control the introductions to prevent any mishaps. You should be able to separate the babies from the other hens quickly if necessary.
    -Will the other hens (including mama) pick on the chicks after they become old enough to fend for themselves?
    Chickens need to know where they stand in the world and they do this through the 'pecking order'. There may be issues until the new order is established. Power struggles amongst chickens should not get out of hand if you were careful and thorough about making the introductions go well. Once they've figured out which bird ranks where in the flock, peace should reign.
    -I can only keep one chick. Will that affect anything?
    The affect will be that the flock will reestablish the pecking order ((potential for bullying as always)) to take into account your changes. As long as you still have 3 birds in the flock then they will take the shrinking of the flock pretty well.
    -Is this easier than raising them yourself?
    Assuming your hen accepts the chicks and doesn't kill in the night? It can be less labor intensive to have the hen do most of the 'work' however you will still need to monitor the situation closely.
    -Is it worth it?
    Raising chickens is always worth it in my mind. I find them and their lives to be infinitely fascinating. Try it. I think you'll like it too. Even as little chicks they teach me things everyday. The people on this forum are very helpful and supportive. If you encounter any issues or problems someone here knows how to correct it. Good luck! Getting chickens has been the best decision of my life second only to marrying my lovely wife, it is a beautiful opportunity to enrich your life and never need to get eggs from the store ever again.
     
  5. Chickenlovers6

    Chickenlovers6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, what's the chance of me losing a chick?
     
  6. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is no mathematical formula to determine the chances of your chicks survival. Too many variables from genetics to illness, injury, ect. exist but to point a fine point on it your time spent observing and pampering the babies will allow you to notice problems during the small window before a problem becomes serious and possible fatal. Once they are 2 weeks old they are much more durable but I would check on those chicks repeatedly during the first weeks. For instance, the vaccination for Maerk's Disease can lead to pasty butts which if left alone can certainly kill a baby. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/827/help-pasty-butt There is a whole thread for easily treating that problem. Point is, if you see an issue you can research and act before any harm is done by being vigilant and paying attention to details of each chick.
     
  7. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    If you get hatchery chicks to put under one, bantams only come straight run. As for keeping bantams and LF, it depends on the individual birds. If you opt for LF try to get a breed known for docility (Covhins, Faverolles, etc).


    Only a broody hen will adopt chicks, though there is no guarantee on that. Some broodies take to chicks easily, others won't. If you don't have a broody hen then you would have to raise chicks yourself. If you do have a broody you will have to check to make sure she isn't rejecting them.

    A hen can raise a lone chick though more is better. Chicks like having other chicks around.


    Quote: My broodies have always raised their chicks with the rest of the flock. They keep the chicks warm if needed, and there is no introductory phase in returning the hen with chicks in tow. Mama and the others may peck at them to remind them of the pecking order, but it's no different than how they treat other members of the flock.


    Quote: If you can only keep one then get 3 or 4 bantams, hope one is a pullet and get rid of the cockerels. Or get a couple of bantams and a couple of LF pullets, and sell the extra pullets when they are old enough. Having a hen raise chicks is easier than doing it yourself. No work for you to do!
     
  8. Chickenlovers6

    Chickenlovers6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  9. Chickenlovers6

    Chickenlovers6 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'll go check out that thread
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  10. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm happy to be of service!
     

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