Broody Hens and Foster Care

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by EricaD, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. EricaD

    EricaD Songster

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    Mar 28, 2012
    I've read other threads on this subject, but couldn't find an answer to my specific question. We have 3 hens who are trying to sit, have been for over a week now (maybe 10 days or so. Could even be 2 weeks?) I feel so bad - we've been pulling them off the nests once or twice each day and taking the eggs, at which time they get some food and water, and then run right back to their empty nests! We have a very nice Buckeye roo and our eggs are fertile, however most of our hens are hatchery stock, and I'm trying to only add higher quality breeder stock going forward, so I'm not inclined to let them hatch out any of our current eggs.

    Well yesterday I found someone on CL who will have BC and Blue Wheaten Marans hatching today (from very nice stock), so I can get them tomorrow as day olds. Is there a minimum length of time that they should be broody before I put chicks under them? Will the hens know that it's too soon and reject the babies, or will they accept them and move their butts out of my nest boxes (they're hogging up 3 of my 5 boxes and it's driving the other hens nuts!)

    And will they be fine if I only give them 1 chick each to raise? We don't really need any more chickens, though I'd welcome the chance to get some good Marans into my flock.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  2. DarthLayer

    DarthLayer Songster

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    Your hens should except the chicks. I've hatched chicks before with a broody hen but then she just stopped taking care of the chicks.Luckily my silkie went broody and excepted the chicks and took care of them. I've only hatched chicks once but I think one chick under each should work.
     
  3. EricaD

    EricaD Songster

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    Mar 28, 2012
    Thanks! Well, since we have 3 hens who went broody around the same time, I figure that if one rejects her chick(s) then hopefully another might take them in. Between the 3 of them, hopefully at least one will want to raise the 3-6 chicks we bring in.

    The long term plan is that we're clearing more of our acreage in July and plan to create a new large chicken area, maybe get a LGD, and move our quality stock to this new area and in future allow them to breed and hatch their own babies on their own terms - we currently have a great Buckeye roo, and some very nice Delawares and Wheaten Ameraucanas, and plan to add in some quality Marans, Orpingtons, Dark Cornish, Buckeyes, and Barred Rocks as our main DP stock (as we can find them locally), eventually culling the roosters for the freezer, and perhaps also raising batches of meat birds in this general area as well (for variety). The hatchery hens will stay in the current area, segregated from the others, but kept for their natural lives since these have always been our "pet" chickens. But the new flock will be true DP birds which will also be used for food. We'll add a small barn and get a couple of goats, and maybe eventually venture into turkeys and ducks!

    That's the plan, anyway, lol.
     
  4. DarthLayer

    DarthLayer Songster

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    Your welcome! That sounds like a great plan and I wish you luck with it.
     

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