Can chicks be fostered to Hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by David LaFerney, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. David LaFerney

    David LaFerney Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2013
    We started last year with chicks from the local farmers co-op, and have had great success, and lots of enjoyment from them. Our chickens are black and red sex links and we had 100% success raising them and consistently get 7 eggs a day on average from 9 hens - no rooster.

    So, we have decided to get a new batch of (the same kind of ) chicks this spring when they become available - and once those start laying we will find good homes for our 1 year old layers who will still be in their prime. This way we get to enjoy new chicks every year, our egg production will remain efficient, and the recipients of our year olds will still be getting a good deal.

    So my question: Is it a good idea (if even possible) to get one of our hens to raise our new chicks when we get them? We had great success using a brooder box last year, so we can certainly do that again, but if what I am asking is doable then it might be fun to try. I suspect that the answer is that either it isn't possible, or it isn't easy. But If I don't ask....

    BTW, I (think I) know that our sex links are not naturally very broody.
  2. ceeceeholt

    ceeceeholt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2011
    I think they need to be broody or at least have their own chicks. We tried twice, the first failed as we just gave them to a new mom. The second time we did it in the middle of the night when momma was sleeping, success, she woke up and didn't know that her brood had increased.
    I just got 13 Red Stars and 12 Black Stars, so I am excited about raising them and seeing how the eggs are:)
  3. Chickenshark

    Chickenshark Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 20, 2010
    Some Ocean
    You will need a broody hen. But if you get the chicks out there when they are older, like starting to stop looking cute or getting most of there feathers the hen may adopt them. When we started out we got about 7 rather old chicks and later on a full grown hen. The hen eventually started to care for them. She protected them in the rain. She even died for them (she was gone when we got home from church. And a chick was missing a wing).

    Overall it is possible. Just be careful. We only had one instance of a successful broody hen. But we've got another broody now...

    Sorry if I was just rambling.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'd just plan on raising them in a brooder. The chances of a sex link going broody are pretty slim. If it happens, and she's been able to set on decoy eggs for over two weeks when your chicks arrive, you can try slipping day olds under her at night. Just monitor them pretty close, be sure she accepts them. But don't count on it, just plan on brooding them.
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    X2. Unless you have a hen that really goes broody chances of success are slim. Probably a lot less stress and worry to just raise them in a brooder.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  6. BirdyMe

    BirdyMe Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would plan on brooding them yourself. Sex-links are not likely to go broody at the sight of chicks.

    Only once did I successfully have a hen foster chicks- and it was purely by accident. I rescued an old cochin hen, and a few days later I rescued four day old chicks. I put them in cages next to each other, because those were the only cages available. Two days later I noticed the hen was broody. So I stuck her in with the babies, and she raised them as her own! It was pretty cute!

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