Can I give a broody hen chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by katssmilin, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. katssmilin

    katssmilin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a hen that I think is a buff orphington and she seems to go broody ALOT!! She has been broody now for 2 weeks. We just bought 6 RIR straight run chicks at TSC and I was wondering if we give them too her if she will rise them? Do hens raise chicks that they didn't hatch? Will it help her get over the broodiness? Thanks for any input!![​IMG]
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I have never done it, but read that it can be done with success (though not always). If you present a chick to your broody and she clucks and seems happy enough, then you can try and add the rest of the chicks. You would have to be prepared to intervene as she could take a dislike to them and kill them. Its my observation that hens that have hatched before tend to be more "sympathetic" to chicks - on a number of occasions they have acted as aunts to the chicks in my flock.

    All the best
    CT
     
  3. bramblefir

    bramblefir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You sure can! Put them under her at night from behind and watch carefully to see how she reacts. She should get a little clucky, readjust herself, and then make purring sounds. Broodies will sometimes peck the chicks to shove them back under them to warm up. That's fine, but watch for excessive pecking as she might kill them.

    I just had a 2nd hen go broody, so I'll be giving her the eggs that the other broody has been sitting on for 2 weeks and give the 1st broody some of the chicks that are due to arrive on Friday.
     
  4. katssmilin

    katssmilin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for replying. Does it matter that the chicks are about a week or 2 old? What about the food? Will the older chickens eat it? It's medicated chick starter?[​IMG]
     
  5. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Depends on the hen. Just supervise carefully when you do it. My hen tried to kill the day old I put under her, and she wasn't a first time mum so had seen chicks before but despite 3 tries each time when she got a good look at it she tried to kill it. And it wasn't put them under her pecking, it was full defensive stance growls attack pecking. So watch really carefully.

    At a week or two old you are pushing it a bit. They need to still be small enough to hide right under her.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  6. bramblefir

    bramblefir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So it's best if the chicks are under a week old. The hen may view the older chicks as belonging to a different hen and try to attack them. The older chicks are typically also used to a heat lamp and don't understand that Mama Broody keeps them warm now.

    If you keep a broody with chicks in the coop with the rest of the flock you will either have to feed them all chick starter or all adult food. If the food you give the adults is a layer ration then it's best to use the chick starter.

    You can always give a broody and her chicks their own quarters away from the rest of the flock too. I typically keep mine separate until the chicks are a week old and then put them back with the main flock.
     

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