Broody hen- can i give her chick ???

bridgetteanne

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 6, 2011
48
0
32
Hi there all- i have a broody hen right now. we have an opportunity to get some chicks. my question is, will she take to them and take care of them???? i know its getting cold out and its not the best time for chicks. If i did not have a broody hen I would not even think about it. Im very new to chickens, so any wisdom would be very helpful. I really don't want to kill any chicks. Also, if the broody hen will take them she will protect them from the other chickens?? i have 10 hens and 1 roster. thanks for the help.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,741
15,826
777
Southeast Louisiana
They are living animals so there is no guarantee on what they will do. If she has been broody for a couple of weeks there is a real good chance she will accept day old chicks and take good care of them. But sometimes they don't accept them.

Hens have been raising chicks with the flock for thousands of year and they are not extinct yet. Sometimes bad things happen, but usually it works out OK. Often, but not always, the rooster will help protect all members of his flock. Since they are liiving animals, you can't tell what will happen.

Hens have been know to successfully raise chicks with snow on the ground. It may not be the best time of year, but as long as you don't overload her with chicks, she should be able to handle it. Chicks and chickens come in different sizes. A bantam cannot handle as many full sized chicken chicks as bantam chicks. If the chicks come from chickens about her size, she should be able to handle 8 to 10 chicks in even pretty bad weather. I would not give a bantam more than 3 or 4 full sized chicks.
 

pgpoultry

Songster
10 Years
Oct 16, 2009
2,290
37
191
Wales
I agree entirely with the last post.

Usually a broody hen will accept chicks, but it sounds as though she is a rookie and they are a bit less predictable.

Best thing to do is go to her with day old chicks after it is dark. Use just a flashlight to find your way! She should be sitting very quietly and will not be disturbed by your being there. Just lift her wings, one at a time, and place the chicks under them (no more than 3 each side ....less if they are big chicks or she is a small hen). Generally the chicks will dive under her and .....instant adoption.

She should be quite capable of keeping them warm and will look after them as though she had just hatched them.

Good Luck.
 

bridgetteanne

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 6, 2011
48
0
32
Quote:what about food? do i need to get them there own food???? and she has only been broody for about 8 days? is that too soon?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,741
15,826
777
Southeast Louisiana
Chickens cannot count days, but it is a hormone thing. Some people have reported a broody accepting chicks within a couple of days of going broody, but it seems like the failure rate is higher that early. I'd give her another week, then try like Pgpoultry suggested. I have given as many as 15 chicks to one hen, but that was in the middle of summer. She raised all of them.

Food can be a problem with a mixed aged flock like that. The chicks should not eat Layer because of the extra calcium in it. The way I get around that problem is to feed all of them Grower or the combination Starter/Grower or Flock Raiser and offer oyster shell on the side. That way, the ones that need the extra calcium get it and the ones that don't need it don't eat enough oyster shell for it to be a problem.
 

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