Chicks introduced to non-broody hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by EsbjornAneer, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. EsbjornAneer

    EsbjornAneer New Egg

    Jan 20, 2014
    Is it possible to introduce bought chicks to a non-broody bantam (or other adult chicken) to use as a surrogate mother? If so how many can she care for? Many thanks for advice.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They are living animals. Almost anything is possible but it is highly unlikely you will be happy with the results if you try that.

    There are two possible outcomes that are realistic. The hens might totally ignore those chicks. They won’t feed or water them keep them warm, protect them, or take care of them at all. That’s if things go well.

    The other possible and more likely outcome since the chicks won’t have a protector is that the hens might kill them. Broody hens are very protective of their chicks. One of the things they often have to protect their babies from is other hens.

    I’ve never been in that situation but some people have reported a non-broody hen taking in chicks to raise them. Even more common is for a dominant rooster to take on that task, say if the broody hen died. But the odds of this happening are miniscule compared to one of the first things happening.

    Welcome to the forum. I’m glad you joined and glad you asked, but please don’t try that.
    1 person likes this.
  3. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    All you will see is chicks being pecked relentlessly & squealing as the adults investigate whether or not they are edible, don't even try it. I have - 3 times. It doesn't work. Better to set up a brooder by far.

    Also chicks don't understand manners..... One of my very friendly, docile pullets tolerated a lone chick until it wouldn't stop repeatedly pecking her face when she was trying to eat which to her was a challenge. So she pecked it back. Hard. The force of her much more powerful peck caused the chick to get thrown across the floor with a squeal. The pullet looked bewildered at the chicks "over-reaction" & looked at me before panicking thinking she had acted wrongly. She hadn't, I had.

    Chicks are not chickens,Do not mix them.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    My experience has been hens will kill chicks that aren't their own, unless the chick has a momma to protect it. I've had the same results even with 2 month old birds, the mature hens killed them. The mature hens in question included my most reliable, protective, maternal broody hen.....if she didn't hatch those babies, she's flat kill them.

    Please don't try it. If you're getting day old chicks, raise them in a brooder. You'll also need a larger grow-out pen, after they're done with the brooder but too young to go in the coop. The youngest I introduce new birds is 3 1/2 months.
  5. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    A Big X2 will written and explained .... [​IMG]

    Not something I would do with out knowing the hen first in these matters ..... [​IMG]

    gander007 [​IMG]
  6. TK421

    TK421 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2010
    Central TX
    I agree. I couldn't even mix adult hens with 6 week old chickens. It was a bad idea, every day i tried for 3 weeks. I can still remember the look in the hens eyes... They seemed to say to those little ones as they coiled their necks: "I will wreck you if you take one more step." I wouldn't even try it with new chicks.
  7. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed


    When the little ones are mixed in, first I'll feed everyone first
    separately then, I'll feed them all together again in an hour or
    so this way they get use to seeing each other then remove the
    little guy's within the next fowling hour but keeping them under
    strict supervision at all times [​IMG]


    even then it will take several weeks to get them chicks
    use to moving fast when the bigger ones even start to
    move on them [​IMG]

    gander007 [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by