Broody hen raising incubator chicks?

River campbell

Songster
Nov 16, 2021
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Tasmania
Hello, my broody hen just went broody and my chicks are hatching tomorrow, is it possible for her to raise the chicks, and if yes how would i pull it off?
 

chickengr

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Dec 29, 2014
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my broody accepted incubator chicks but she hatched her chicks first. I don't know if your broody developed her mother's instinct yet. you can let her sit on fake eggs for a week or so and then try to put one chick under her. if she accepts it you can give her the rest.
 

Silkie Princess

~Expanding my chicken collection~
Premium Feather Member
Jun 24, 2021
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Yes! It's worth a try. My broody adopted chicks too. She absolutely adored them
 

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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
Hello, my broody hen just went broody and my chicks are hatching tomorrow, is it possible for her to raise the chicks
Is it possible? yes. Is it likely when she has only been broody a few days? Good question with no perfect answer. Even if she has been broody three weeks there is still a question.

Some people will say that you have no chance unless she has been broody three weeks. That's not been my experience. Some broody hens will accept chicks of about an age and at any time. Some won't. I had a hen fight another broody for her chicks as they were hatching so she could raise them and that hen had only been broody for two days. I had a hen that had been broody less than a week reject chicks when I tried to give her a couple of chicks. Practically all my hens that have been broody around three weeks have accepted newly hatched chicks when offered but one would only take the red ones and not the black once. You never know what a broody hen will do until you try.

It's best for the chicks to be very young. The hen imprints on the chicks and she best does that when they are young. But the chicks also need to imprint on the hen. If they don't they won't obey her when she tells them what to do. They will just walk off and leave her. Less than three days old is best.

, and if yes how would i pull it off?
I see two basic options. Wait until they have all hatched and dried off, then put them under her at night. I don't know how manty chicks will hatch, what your nest looks like, or how cold your weather is down there now. That might influence exactly how I did that but the general procedure I use is to wait until it is black dark, remove any eggs that she has under her, and put the chicks in the nest. I put the first one or two under her but any more I just put in the nest next to her. They find their own way in but my nests are really well enclosed. If you put them under her, cup them so your hand is protecting them as they go in. Be careful to not injure any that are already under her. Be there the next morning pretty early to see how it is going. Hopefully she is sitting there and they are under her or crawling around her.

I usually do it differently. I'd select a few eggs and put them under her now. Let her hatch them while hatching the rest in your incubator. Those are the only eggs you put at risk. If she hatches and accepts these then add the others at night after they hatch.

What I usually do when I have a hen go broody is to start a few eggs under her and a few other eggs in the incubator, all at the same time. Things can happen in an incubator or under a broody. This way the hen practically always has chicks to raise. These hens have been broody for at least three weeks and I almost never have any issues with them accepting the chicks. I don't know if your hen being broody for only a few days will affect that or not. I'd be really interested in what you try and how it goes.
 

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