broody with feed store chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by txliss, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. txliss

    txliss In the Brooder

    Oct 13, 2008
    I have 3 hens (BO, RSL, BSL) that are about 2 yrs old. Since I anticipate them slowing down in egg production, we'll be getting 4 more chicks from the feed store this week. (Actually, I know they'll still lay for quite a while, but it's a great excuse for new chicks [​IMG] )

    My question: My BO, Hedwig, goes broody about 3 times a year, and is getting progressively more difficult to break. She happened to go broody 2 days ago, and we'll be getting the chicks tomorrow. What are my chances of being able to slip the chickies under her successfully. I know to do it at night with minimal light, so that's not a problem. Highs here are at 78ish, lows of ~60, so I'm not worried about severe weather. Will Hedwig be able to protect the babies from the other 2 hens? She is the top of the pecking order... I have them in a 6x3 coop (we'll be adding on soon [​IMG] ), and a 10x10 run. The chicks are from the same feed store and hatchery that I got these 3, and all have the same vaccinations (Mareks and one other...).

    Soooo, whaddya think? Will it work? I'd be thrilled to avoid having a brooder in my garage... [​IMG]

  2. Kathi D

    Kathi D Chirping

    May 19, 2008
    I don't have your answer, I just want to chime in and see what the experts say! Since losing a couple of my hens AND my rooster to a fox (probably) recently, I want to raise some more babies--was planning on it anyway at some point, because I do have room for more and mine are 3 years old now. I have a couple of Buff Orpingtons who love to set, and I planned on buying eggs for them to hatch, but I would love to buy chicks instead since I would have a better chance of getting hens and not a bunch of roosters.
  3. Mak

    Mak Songster

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    I am far from an expert, not having any experience with broody hens, but it is my understanding from reading here and in the books I have, that 2 or 3 days is not enough time to "fool" a broody into thinking she has hatched the chicks you put under her. She has an internal clock that tells her when the eggs are supposed to hatch, and you need to let her set on something for close to the 21 days it takes an egg to hatch. If you try to put chicks under her too soon, she will likely know something is not right and attack them.

    As I said, this is not from personal experience, but what I have read. I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in.
  4. dandelionheart

    dandelionheart Songster

    Sep 15, 2010
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Yeah... is there a way to at least stretch it to the upper teens (in days) before getting new chicks? I think you'd be way more successful that way. [​IMG]
  5. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Quote:I read exactly the opposite -- that chickens have no concept of time passing and so it's fine to put chicks or partially incubated eggs under a broody!

    I can't speak from experience but I'm wondering if there really is hard evidence one way or the other? Or is this another of those knowing your birds and figuring in your personal comfort level with the risk situations.

  6. san415

    san415 Songster

    May 7, 2009
    I have been told that you need to wait at least 2 weeks for the best chance of her taking the chicks.This was by an older person who had kids in 4h. The kids would want special chicks for show so when they found the right chicks they slipped them under a broody hen that was sitting for the right amount of time on some wood eggs.
    I was also told that to "cure" a hen of being broody open all doors and the cover over the nest boxes. Then if the light and air doesn't work, place the hen outside and close up the coop for the day, with all hens outside. That system worked for me when my Silkie Blanche went broody in December. I opened all the doors and latched the nest box open. I closed everything at night. After 4 days she stopped staying in the nest box.

    If the hen rejects the chicks, if you are right there before she wakes up, you should be able to grab the chicks and brood them inside. I would guess that for my hens that would mean being outside at least 1 hour prior to first light.
  7. Newbie chick 30

    Newbie chick 30 In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2011
    Orlando, FL
    My broody hen (bantam) hatched her babies (she ended up losing 1/2 of them the 1st day - drown in water dish) and I through my bought silkies (about 2 weeks old) in with the crowd (i caught momma and remaining babies and threw them in the cage). She never even noticed and the way the chicks would have thought she hatched them herself. In fact I threw half my silkies in and kept half with the other chicks...i noticed the remaining silkies were getting trampled so i threw them in with her as well (about 3 weeks later) and got the same results.
  8. treeclimber233

    treeclimber233 Songster

    Nov 12, 2007
    Sometimes it depends on the hen whether they will accept new babies or not. Soem have an internal clock and some don't. Some will accept new babies at any time and some will not. I have had hens not accept any new baby (even slipped in at night). How they knew the difference is beyond me. I had one hen that hatched out babies and later my husband brought babies home from the feed store that we put with her and she took right to them. Then a week later another mother hen died so I put her babies under the first hen. She had quite a mix of different ages. So it depends on the hen and how she feels about adopting. Be prepared to take care of the babies yourself if the hen won't take them.
  9. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Songster

    Oct 9, 2010
    I would wait until day 16 or 17 at least. It really depends on the broody though. I had a hen that successfully broke and then adopted out some chicks that I bought as 1.5 week olds...[​IMG]

  10. tommboy1973

    tommboy1973 In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2010
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    I just put 5 store bought day old BO's under my broody 1 yr old Welsummer. This is the 2nd time she has been broody, thought since she wants to be a mommy so bad I would give it a try. She had been trying to sit on eggs for about 2 weeks now (we don't have a roo) It was about an hour before dark and I just tucked them under her wings. She gave me this look like "what the...." and her neck feathers ruffled up. The chicks all quieted down and then momma settled in and looked to be very content. I will check in the am and see how it goes....

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