Chicks and a broody hen - Questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lsv313, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. lsv313

    lsv313 Chirping

    Jul 23, 2010
    Everett, WA
    I have searched the message boards, but can't seem to find answers to the questions I have. I have 5 baby chicks, ranging from 3 weeks to 5 days old. I also have a BO that started going broody within the past couple days.

    Can I put all the chicks under her? Right now we tried putting the two youngest in, and so far she's seemed to take them. Should we try the others?

    Do we need to take the fake eggs out of the nest box? We have fake eggs in there for laying purposes, but the broody is now nuzzling and nesting them like they're her own. I am afraid that if she is focusing on the eggs, she might not take care of the chicks.

    Do we need to separate the broody and the chicks? Right now they are in the normal egg box within the coop. If we do separate them, for how long? And then do we run into issues reintroducing the broody hen back into the flock, especially with chicks in tow? She is currently the alpha hen and I would hate to see that disrupted.

    Those are all my questions - thanks for any input you have! [​IMG]

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:It's risky to try to put chicks under a broody unless she's been broody for a while and they're very young (like day olds). I personally try to put the three week olds under her. And I'd take out the fake eggs. She needs to lead the hatched chicks off the nest and she might not do that if she's still trying to hatch those fake eggs.

    If the broody and her chicks are not separated from the flock, there is a risk that the chicks could be killed by other flock members. Some people count on the broody protecting her chicks and accept that risk.

    A broody will look out for chicks for a number of weeks. With ours, at around five weeks, the broody told her chicks to get lost. At that point, I returned the broody to the flock and put the chicks in a separate grow out pen. If five week old chicks are left to fend for themselves within a flock, they wil be bullied and maybe worse. So I kept the chicks separate from the flock until they were almost full grown, about 4 months old.
  3. Pinky

    Pinky Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    My BO was a great foster mother. She still watches out for the hen she "hatched"
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I never separated mine, but I started with day old chicks slipped under a chicken who had been brooding for 21 days. The attachment should go both ways, mother to chick, chick to mother.

    She may take those two youngest ones, but I don't think you will have a go with the older chicks.

    If she is the alpha hen, and you have a place in your run/coop were the babies can skadaddle and get out of reach of a hen, I would keep them in with the flock, much less trauma, and no reintroduction issues. But there is a bit of a risk.


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