Can a broody hen be tricked to raise introduced chicks?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChikNLovr, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. ChikNLovr

    ChikNLovr Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 10, 2010
    I met a woman who told me she allows her broody hens to sit on sterile eggs for 3 weeks, then slips some new chicks into the nest at night. She claims that the hen will take them under her wing and raise them as her own. Has anyone tried this? Does it work? If so, what is the best way to do it? My Blue Wyandotte has been brooding for over a week now. Rather than discourage her, I placed food and water by her nest box and she seems content. This is the longest she has ever stayed on the nest, but in the past I discouraged her brooding tendency.
    I'm thinking this would be a fun way to expand my flock without having to raise chicks in the house for the next 12 weeks. But I don't want to try it if any chicks would be jeapordized.
    What do you think?
     
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  2. glucke

    glucke Out Of The Brooder

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    it works great. the new chicks can't be older than a few days. simply place them under her at night when she's asleep. make sure the other hens can't get to her and the babies.
     
  3. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    It depends on the hen, and it's best to slip them at not much older then one day old- at night when she is sleeping.

    Be sure you can watch in the morning to make sure she is protecting them.
     
  4. ChikNLovr

    ChikNLovr Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I'll start migrating the other hens to a different coop.
    How long do I need to keep the other hens from the chicks? My broody hen is somewhat aggressive, so I'm thinking she will be a great protector if/when she decides these are her babies.
    Do hens recognize breed differences in chicks? I wanted to get some Americaunas, but not sure if my Wyandotte will accept them.
     
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Mine never noticed, the younger the chicks the better it worked, if too old the chicks were scared of 'mommy' and it won't work for that reason.

    I never separated the broody hens or adopted mothers, but the babies knew to hid under her- as before hatching the hen and chicks talk to each other.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  6. glucke

    glucke Out Of The Brooder

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    mama hen will eventually abandon the chicks once they are fully feathered. then you can reunite her with her old friends. for the babies it´s sometimes better to wait until they are almost as big as the older hens so they can defend themselves.
    hens do not recognize breed differences. they can´t even tell by egg color. once broody they´ll sit on everything even pink and blue Easter eggs lol
     
  7. ChikNLovr

    ChikNLovr Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks to all for your advice. It's working! Ethel, my broody Wyandotte, has adopted her two little chicks and she is the champion mama hen that I suspected she would be. She gets her feathers in a hackle if anyone gets near her peeps, but I was able to sneak a couple pics of her.[​IMG]
     
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  8. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The aggressive one are always hated when they are broody, but they make the best moms. I had two broody at once, one super mean, the other very calm, they each hatched 3. The nice one ended losing one because she would not protect them. The mean one would not let any other chicken get within 1 foots of her babies. Eventually, the two moms paired up with each other and it worked out great. The nice mama was the one the chicks slept with, but the mean one was who they ran to when the bigger hens were chasing them.
     
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  9. Strikefalcon

    Strikefalcon Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2011
    OK I have 4 hens, One of the Buff Offingtons started to brood. we have left the eggs in the box for the last two days. [​IMG]

    The plan is get her relocated below the nest box to brood and rotate eggs out until the new chicks arrive on may 9th. and hopefully she will adopt them. Do you think it will work? any ideas? Do you have to isolate from the other hens? If so for how long?

    Thanks

    Loren
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  10. cjh0907

    cjh0907 Out Of The Brooder

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    i have a silkie that hatched out two chicks. a few days later i had a batch of chicks in the incubator hatch. i sold all but two of the chicks. The two chicks i had left over i stuck in with my silkie and her two chicks and waited to see how it played out. She accepted them right away and are doing great
     

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