Can I put incubator hatched chicks in with a broody?


9 Years
Nov 22, 2010
Middle Tennessee
OK, I am in a pickle, please help.

I have 2 dozen eggs to hatch. A dozen are under my broody as of last night and a dozen will be hatched through an incubator getting put in today or tomorrow. Assuming a 90%+ hatch rate (I know my broody gets about 100% based on the last 2 times she was broody.) I will have too many chicks for her to sit on and keep warm naturally, but can I give them a heat lamp so they can sit "around" her? She is an AMAZING Momma. Comparing her mothering skills compared to my other broody earlier this year, there was NO comparison, she was shockingly protective and GREAT at keeping track of the little bugars and teaching them the chickeny ways.

So, can I sneak the newly hatched in with the existing babies? I am only expecting a 1 or 2 day difference between them (4-5 days at most!)

Can she handle 20+ babies if I add a heat lamp to keep them warm?

I am so anxious, please let me know what you think. Thanks!!

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That's alot of chicks for one momma. Even a good one. I've never given newly hatched chicks but I have added eggs from my incubator to a broody at lockdown and that worked out well.
that seems like quite a lot.. even a dozen for one hen seems like too many. i wouldn't let mine incubate more than 6-8, but if shes a really good mommy and shes raised that many before than a dozen is okay i guess.. but 2 dozen would overwhelm her and i don't think its a good idea.
I read in an old book about raising poultry that a large sized fowl could handle twenty chicks.

They would put the hatch of one hen with the hatch of another hen and let her raise them so the other hen could be put into the laying house and back into egg production.

If it was summer time, I would try it. But, I’m guessing with it being the middle of winter in Tennessee that it’s to cold for even the best of the mother hens to handle.
Yes you can sit incubated babies under a broody. I have done this many many times, all successful. Just do it at night, with as little light assistance as possible. However, given that it is the middle of winter, I believe 24 babies would be too much for her to manage. If it were middle of summer, I would say go for it. If she is gonna be in a VERY warm environment, with the babies, you might still pull it off. The only time I had issue with a broody not wanting babies was when I had ordered almost 2 dozen babies (summertime) half barred rock, half RIR, and put them under a barred rock broody. She turned out to be prejudiced against the RIR babies! I had to raise them myself.
First time I had ever had a hen refuse based on color. Most times now, I will get a broody, let her have 5 or 6 eggs, then order 12-15 babies. Boy does she get a surprise the morning after I get the order!

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