Broody or Brooder that is the question

LBF

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
6
0
7
Omaha
Hi Everybody- I have been lurking around for quite some time (LOVE BYC!!!), but this is my first post so here goes...

My flock consists of two broody RIR banties. They have been broody for quite sometime and my efforts to break them have been in vain SO and I thought it would be fun to order some chicks and slip them under at night (make the girls happy;) I got my order of 4 chickies tonight, earlier than expected (Yeah!!!!). I'm in Love!!!! They are happily peeping away in their makeshift brooder and I can't believe how cute they are (pics don't do em justice).

Now I am having second thoughts. Is it better to raise them inside in a toasty warm brooder, or chance it out with the hens. I am in Nebraska and the weather has been yucky...cold (30s at night and 40s during the day) and wet and it looks like it'll be like this at least the rest of the week. The coop is small and draft free, but not bone dry (rain + melting snow is making it hard to keep up). I'd hate for anything to happen to these little girls after they made it through shipping and everything.

What do you think??? ideas on what you would do would be much appreciated:)

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Mahonri

Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 14, 2008
30,365
304
526
North Phoenix
My Coop
My Coop
Congrats on your chicks and WELCOME to BYC!
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Sometimes broodies won't take chicks they didn't hatch themselves and will attack and kill them. On the other hand, I've seen hens take to new chicks slipped under at night and they just take over as mammas.

If you absolutely don't want to chance loosing them, then keep them inside.
 

Carol.in.WV

Songster
10 Years
Nov 10, 2009
126
5
109
Pendleton County, WV
I have done it both ways and letting the hens care for them is much easier and they seem to do well. Of course, I didn't have them outside in the middle of winter or in the coop with all the big chickens to pick on them. Last spring I raised 60 chicks in large plastic tubs with heat lamps and thermometers and all the rest. In Dec a broody bantam hatched 5 chicks of which one died maybe because it couldn't keep up with a defective foot, but the other 4 did very nicely with the momma hen until she decided to "ween" them. I didn't need to use heat lamps and it was a joy to watch her care. About 3 weeks ago my lone silkie girl hatched one of 5 of her eggs and this chick seems very happy and healthy. If it gets cold it just makes a certain sound and momma squats down and tucks it under, but it seems to have adapted to regular room temperature much beater and faster than the ones I raised last spring.

So if it were me, I would provide a safe place for them out of the weather and try the broodies, after all they deserve some reward IMHO.
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LBF

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
6
0
7
Omaha
Thanks for the warm welcome! Sounds like it can go either way- very well or very badly. I think I'll give the broodies a shot tonight (that is why I got the babies in the first place, it's just hard to hand over such cuteness, lol). I'll be sure and watch them very very carefully, give them an extra thick layer of shavings, and hope momma turns out to be a good momma.
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LBF

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
6
0
7
Omaha
Well- it half worked:D When I went out last night and slipped em under, one broody was out of the nest and on the roost, darn it. I must have checked on them a billion times already;) Broody hen is doing a great job keeping them warm:), but she is a wimp! The other girl (Dot) was pecking at them hard when they'd go to eat (too be fair, their little feet do look like worms). I watched to see if foster mom would intervene or if maybe the other hen would peck for a bit then leave them alone -nope she'd peck and pick them up, yikes!! I didn't realize how fast they loose that broody instinct, literally over night!

I separated them for now and I think I'll just move momma and babies inside for a few weeks where they'll be warm and safe, but that'll leave poor Dot all by herself. Maybe its better if i rig up something to keep em separate in the coop where they can all see eachother. Arrrgg, What to do, what to do:idunno
 

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