Broody Hen to raise baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by willma, May 16, 2013.

  1. willma

    willma New Egg

    Jun 7, 2012
    Hi everyone. This is the first time I have created a new thread... bear with me.

    BACK GROUND STORY: Last month one of my hens went broody. A Blue Wyandotte hen. I decided to go down the path of having her raise store-bought-baby-chicks. Our co-op doesn't want roosters and I felt like trying this method out. My goals by doing this were to break her broodiness and add a few more hens to our flock.

    My broody hen is just a year old so she has never been a mother before. A few days ago, Saturday, my family waited until nightfall and we removed the golfballs that she'd been sitting on and then slipped 4 two-day-old chicks under her. 4 Blue-laced Red Wyandotte chicks. In the morning (actually Mother's Day!) everything looked great. I set up food and water and she and her new family were inside a dog kennel inside our coop. All seemed fine. She let them huddle under her. The sounds were nice cooing and peeping. It was lovely. We checked on her periodically during the day. A chick would come out, drink water, eat food and return under mama. Late in the evening I picked her up and saw that one chick was dead. I felt that accidents happen and that the clumsy hen just smothered and flattened the chick. Sad but let's move on.

    The next morning all was okay with the hen and the remaining three, but at the end of the day... we had another dead chick. No signs of pecking, no blood. Just a little flat... and a broken neck. After a fit of crying, I decided to take the remaining chicks away from her and they are safe and cozy in a brooder in my shed.

    So the QUESTIONS ARE: Could I wait until these little chicks get a little bigger and stronger to put up with a loving yet clumsy hen-mama? Has anyone had a similar experience with a broody hen flattening chicks? Has anyone successfully added older chicks to a broody hen? How old is too old?
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Quote: ==========
    Hum, I have a broody hen, (Light Sussex pullet, 1st time Mom), sit on and hatch 4 chicks. They were in the coop with 1/2 brother and 1/2 sister. Now everyone kept telling me how the other male ad female Sussex would help raise the chicks. They never harmed the chicks. But....I forgot to take into account how the mama hen would feel about them being close to her chicks. So she dug a deep! hole for a nest in the deep litter. Go the chicks under her and kept them what she thought as "safe". In the process , one of the chicks was flattened and died. I don't think she meant to kill the chick, it as just a result of her trying to be proactive in case her chicks needed to be protected from the other grown birds. So maybe this is what happened here, even if she was a separate kennel? I don't know. I removed the other 2 birds and left her alone to raise the chicks. She did a great job and is a super mom. The chicks are 2 1/2months now. I read many places where the hens like to have their own place away from other chickens where they can raise their chicks. Maybe that is what this hen needed. Have you thought of a nice 4x4 pen where she could raise these chicks?
    Karen in western PA, USA I had an
  3. willma

    willma New Egg

    Jun 7, 2012
    Thank you Karen.

    You suggested a 4x4 pen but alas I don't have one available. Our kennel is only 2x3 in size. However, near our coop and run we have a fenced in berry garden. On all sides and the top is covered with chicken wire. It's design is to keep the wild birds out of the berries. We call it the Berry Cage. Right now I have our broody hen in there with food and water and a pet carrier (without bedding) so she can get out of the rain. Maybe I could put them altogether in there? I am SO concerned that she will accidentally squish another and then another. MAYBE if they're a little bigger they could protect themselves from their protective mama!?

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