Can you teach a hen to be a mom when she's not? Surprise this morning

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cupman, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    So I go to feed my little chicks this morning. I have 2 brooders set up in the garage for the two different age groups. You'll imagine my surprise when I look in the 6 week old's brooder and notice one of my outside, full-grown hens fast asleep under the heat lamp while all the other chicks were crammed in the corner. Some how she had gotten herself shut in the garage at night and no one noticed. I even went to put feed in their brooder at around 9pm last night. I have no idea how she managed to stay in the garage and then kick down a wall of my cardboard brooder. It was chaos when I came in, chicks escaping out the wall, the big hen waking up and screaming for my rooster.,.. it was a lot to take in at 6am.

    Well I'll get to the point. In the past I've had them break out of their brooder and had an adult hen attack them. Ran up to them and began pecking them on the heads, it really had me concerned. I was curious if you could integrate the chicks with maybe one full grown hen, and she would act as a mom... or maybe chickens won't do that. Is there even a benefit to doing this? I really have no idea I'm just throwing this out there. Thanks.

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I think it depends of the degree of their broodiness.....Some hens are very sweet and motherly, but when that broody feeling ends, POW it's over and those babies better get the heck outta her way!
  3. stuckinthecity

    stuckinthecity Songster

    Apr 25, 2009
    Quote:I agree. My latest broody hen was different. I only got to see her break the bond with one brood, because we kept on loosing her chicks, but she never really pecked them. She just ignored them, and yes, when they got in her way when she was doing something (scratching, eating) she would peck them very lightly. I've seen her peck the other hens much harder. Of course, she mothered these chicks until they were almost 4 1/2 months old...

    I have seen a youtube video where a couple puts a hen with their new pullets, but I don't really know if it would help. The chicks might have learned a few skills from the older hen after the older hen got used to them, and didn't peck them whenever they were near her, but I don't see any real pros for stressing out the growing birds by having an older bird in with them.
  4. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chirping

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lantana, Florida
    Basically the answer is NO - a hen who is not their mom will not take care of them! In fact, they're in danger with her. That's why they were all in a corner far away from the hen. Don't put the chicks with the hens until they are almost full grown and able to defend themselves. Or can run very fast - - - - -- -
  5. Silkies are your best bet at raising chicks.
  6. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Songster

    Jul 15, 2011
    Quote:This is true in most cases but there are exceptions and great moms in the chicken world to!
    I have a silkie hen who has only been laying for about 6 months now and has not gone broody yet (knock on wood!!!)
    She co-adopted some chicks this summer that belonged to another hen. Her and the other hen raised them together!
    I also kept 3 chicks for a friend for a few days and out of curriousity I put them under her 1 night to see what her reaction would be.
    I checked on her every couple hours throught the night and into the morning but by the time she was up and around she had the chicks in toe behind her and was showing them food and protecting them from other hens. She was NOT broody! Just a great mom. I felt bad taking away her new chicks but she took it well and only searched for them for a day or so.

    Silkies are notorious mothers and if you get the right 1 anything is possible!

    Also unless you have a hen like mine that is such a good mother hen I would not recommend puting a hen with babies unless shes broody.
    A hen could easily kill a chick even an older one so you need to be very careful.....

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