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Broody hen question

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by winky, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. winky

    winky Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2011
    I would like to raise some cornish cross chicks using my broody layer hens in hopes that they will have a better quality of life than my previous meat chicks who were raised in pens without a hen and who refused to leave the pen to free range. I have three broody hens (Marans and a Jersey giant). The two marans have chicks that are 2-4 days old and the Jersey has been sitting on eggs for about a week. I have a buyer for all of the chicks and I have arranged for them to be picked up on Tuesday, the same day my cornish cross chicks will arrive. I would like to swap chicks if the hens will take them. Does anyone have experience swapping chicks? If they don't accept them I'll just put them with the Jersey and remove her eggs. Has any one out there ever had layer hen raise their meat birds for them? How likely is it that the hens will accept swapped out chicks? How aggressive will they get if they don't accept them?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    In my experience most hens are firmly imprinted on their chicks after 2-4 days and are reluctant to accept new or additional chicks. You might try it, but the JG might be a better option.
     
  3. winky

    winky Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2011
    Thanks for your reply. It worked! Well, kinda. I sold the original chicks on Wednesday evening and immediately placed the new cornish cross chicks (and two wellsummer chicks from the incubator) with the hens. Both of them called the chicks to them and squatted down, hovered over them and kept them warm all night. The next morning I noticed the hen with the wellsummer chicks was favoring the wellsummers and pecking at the cornish chicks so I gave her cornish chicks to the Jersey Giant hen who had been sitting on the eggs. She excepted them right away. The other hen is treating the new cornish chicks as if they were her original brood. So I now have two hens raising my cornish chicks. Finally, I'll have real free range broilers who will understand what free ranging is all about. Can't wait to see how they turn out. Even if they're smaller and tougher in the end it will be worth it to me just knowing they lived a quality life.
     

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