Broody Hen/Foster Fail...Need Help!


In the Brooder
Oct 15, 2016
South Jersey
Hi Everyone,

My Blue Sumatra has been broody for give or a take a month. I gave her a fake egg because she was "stealing" my other two hen's eggs. I brought home a chick tonight for her to foster and it did not go so well. The chick is less than a week old (only a few little wing feathers on her). Here is what I did and I am hoping I can still make this work. What needs to change?

- Moved hen into her own little area with chick feed and water.
- Waited until it was dark out and took her fake egg and tried to place chick near her.
- The chick ran to the water/feeder and didn't seem too interested in nestling up with mama.
- Hen started making noises that she makes when we disturb her and then proceeded to peck at chick.

We moved the chick into a brooder for the night until someone can give us some feedback on how to make this work better. I can't get another chick and don't want this one to be raised alone. Please send some advice!


9 Years
Nov 15, 2013
It's best to do it when she's sleeping and slip the chick under her rather than near her. You want to do this in the dark. You'll also have to monitor her closely so she doesn't kill the chick. If she looks like she's going to harm it, remove it.


Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
New Zealand
Chicks need to be newly hatched or no more than a few days old (maximum) for this to work - too old and they don't recognise the hen as their source of heat or as their mother who will take care of them. A hen instinctively knows how a new chick will behave and there's a period of attachment that happens, and if they aren't behaving in the way the hen is expecting then the hen will reject them and view them as a threat to the eggs/chicks that she believes are hers.

This is a good website:


Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
New Zealand
Also, if you are trying to use one of the chicks from the photo posted in another of your threads you won't have success. Those chicks look at least 2 weeks old, not less than a week.

This chick is 3 days old

And here he is at 14 days old


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
Introduction as described to abrupt, especially when considering hen likely not "talking" to embryos about to hatch and the advanced age of chick. To force, I suggest you confine chick in close proximity to hen with a barrier the hen can not peck through. Supply chick with food, water and conditions suitable for it even without hen brooding it. The hen and chick will imprint on each other and begin gravitating towards each other. At 24-hour intervals remove barrier and see how the birds interact. The introducing the chick at night serves the same purpose as the partition and such an abrupt approach works well when both hen and chick are optimally in window to imprint upon each other. Approach above seems to take no more than 3 days before hen and chick can be introduced fully. It makes so you can prevent loss of chicks that can occur even overnight.

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