7 Years
Apr 4, 2012
I have 2 hens that have been taking turns and sharing 13 eggs. They love on each other and when one gets up the other pulls all the eggs under her. So far they have successfully hatched one baby chick. Anyone else experienced this?
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I had two that went broody at the same time. They had respective nests... but shared parenting the baby chicks after they hatched. Your baby is adorable! Congrats!
I have done it many times. Hens that do it are often the same social grouping either as sisters or mother daughter. This appears to involve hens imprinting on each other in much the same way they imprint on chicks and chicks imprint on siblings and mother. The problem that can arise is where mothers either get into physical altercation with other or where they have different ideas about what brood it to do. Hens in such arrangements are fluffed up more than single parent hens indicating to me more stress. When you take into account the number of chicks hatched and reared to weaning (about 5 weeks), on a per hen basis the single hen arrangement will yield more chicks with fewer injuries.

As a result I normally suggest removing one hen from the brooding effort. If two hens to still be used in a free-range setting, then invest more effort in having waters and feeding sites with creep feeders scattered about where hens will be foraging. What you will note is hens co-parenting will differ on when to alternate between feeding / drinking and brooding which can be particular problematic during the first few days. Once chicks are pushing two weeks problems will be largely worked out unless hens differ on when to roost up. When hens separate but where chicks can hear both like might caused by a fence or wall, the chicks can become distressed.
I had two hens go broody about a month ago and since we didn't want any more roosters, I ordered four Red Sex link female chicks online. The hatchery sent those plus a spare and after warming and feeding the chicks from 4:30 am until 10 pm, I went out to the coop with them and gently slipped two chicks under one hen and three under the other. I was worried that the two hens would fight over the chicks, but they are co-parenting very well. They do everything together with the five little girls. If something happens to separate them, they shelter each other's chicks and try to get as close together as possible. One hen and one chick were outside the run while the other hen and four chicks were inside (apparently chicks don't understand doors yet) but they were all sleepy after eating mealworms and so got as close together as possible for a nap.
two hens five chicks.jpg

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