Chicks snuggling with broody?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Clappmeg, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Clappmeg

    Clappmeg In the Brooder

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    IMG_20191109_153415.jpg Hi all,
    I have a broody silkie chicken sitting on 3 eggs which are developing great as far as I can tell.. they look to be about 11-12 days along. I have two older chicks in my flock (about 3-4 months old). Both of them but especially one in particular have seemed to take a liking to my broody hen and sit snuggled right up against her. The nights are getting colder here and I know they're probably desperate to stay warm. My broody is probably the most accepting one in the flock to them right now.. is that normal? Should I separate them? Are they bothering my broody or do you think she likes the company? She's very docile, doesn't peck or hiss and the chicks or me when I check the eggs. (In the pic, the broody is the white one and the chick is the partridge).
     
    Shadrach and Sagey_7878 like this.
  2. Sagey_7878

    Sagey_7878 Songster

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    Hey, this is quite weird! I think you should seperate them and keep the broody by herself with her eggs. The hen wouldn’t necessarily see the other two as her own, rather just others in the flock. The other two don’t need warmth from a broody as they are fully feathered. It’d also be good for her to hatch her chicks in peace. Good luck!
     
  3. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    That is a difficult one.
    I'm not sure there is a right answer as such.
    I think as long as no eggs are getting broken and the broody isn't distressed I would take a chance and let them sort it out.
    There are a few possible outcomes that spring to mind.
    Once the broody hatches any chicks she may become defensive and drive the pullets away. That shouldn't be that much of a problem in theory.
    It's possible at 3 to 4 months old that your pullets are old enough to become the chicks aunts so to speak and you could have the lot trying to do the mothering. That can work as well.
    If the pullets are close to laying or are already laying then I think I might try to separate them from the sitting hen. My reasoning behind this is ideally the sitting hen should have freedom of movement. feeding at the nest is not a good idea under any circumstances. Sittiing hens need to get off the nest once a day to poop, eat and drink and dust bath.
    A pullet close to lay may decide the eggs are hers and that could be a problem. I've just had three hens do a cooperative sit on two piles of eggs and they sorted it all out between them rather well.
    The standard advice is of course to give the sitting hen privacy but ime it really isn't necessary.
    There, I haven't helped you at all.:D
     
    aart and MaryJanet like this.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    The limited experience I have with such situations leads me to say get the chicks away. If hen accepts them too much, they can be a mortal threat to chicks that hatch as they will slowly pick chicks to death under the broody hen's nose and she will do nothing to stop it.
     
  5. Clappmeg

    Clappmeg In the Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2019
    Thank you all for your advice! I feel like I should separate the chicks but how should I do it? I had a baby gate around her since she's right in the corner of the coop but the rest of my flock were finding ways around it. If I pick her up and move her to a separate cage, will this turn her off to sitting and make her leave the nest?
     

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