Coparenting broodies - Anyone else ever try this?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by flocksalot, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. flocksalot

    flocksalot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well we had two girls go very broody on us (we're not ones to turn down a broody EVER), but our broody house was currently occupied by two other girls and their prodegies. So we set up one of our smaller coops that only has two nest boxes. We moved the girls in and all seemed well until Sandy (Buff Minorca) decided she wanted some food and water. Lucy Lu (Gold Laced Wyandott) saw her, went balistic, tossed poor Sandy around, then went back to her eggs. After that Sandy always sat with her back towards the inside of the coop. I was worried what would happen when the eggs hatched. Well the big day came (which was planned for my sons birthday). Sandy killed her first two (she's young and it's her first hatch) hatched out three more and abandoned the last egg after it had pipped. Lucy Lu hatched all 6 of hers, but one was lost due to my mistake. So for my sons 8th birthday he had 8 babies just as he had hoped. Well the next day they took the chicks out of the nest boxes and were sitting on the floor when I got out there. It looked to me like Sandy had stolen all the babies and poor Lucy Lu was trying to get them back, so I put a three foot wall between them and gave each girl their respective babies. Sandy immediateley abandoned her babies and jumped the fence to go sit with Lucy Lu and her babies. I pulled the wall out and let them cohabitate. It's been 4 days and they seem to be doing very well together. The girls seem to be sharing taking care of the chicks. Lucy Lu is showing them how to eat while Sandy sits with the one's that want to cuddle or visa versa. I'm amazed at how well they are doing together. Sandy and Lucy Lu are from the same batch we got in March, but have never been particularly fond of each other. Sandy was so small compared to the rest that she was always picked upon, but now they appear to have a pretty nice coexistance. At least for now. I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this and what problems they may have had. My biggest problem with broodies has been that they tend to stay with their babies much longer than neccesary. I had to convince one just recently that the kids could go off on their own now that they are 15 weeks. Ezzy just really likes to be a mother.

    I really just want the girls to have a safe place for them to raise their babies. We had planned on separating them before the hatch, but time got away from me. So for now they will remain together as coparents and we will see what happens. Those chicks are getting pretty doted upon right now. I would think that when we let them out of the house they should be pretty well protected with two momma's and of course Big Daddy otherwise known as Rudy Roo(who isn't the father of any of them) will come and do his inspection and lets the other girls know not to mess with them. I guess if this works well we may try this again. It's nice to at least have the option when we run tight on room.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I had this happen and one bird's chicks didn't hatch but the other one's did. They both parented the chicks and then the original mom just gave up her duties and left her chicks to the other hen, who was more than happy to take over.
     
  3. flocksalot

    flocksalot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Awesome! I'm not sure either of them is willing to leave just yet, but who knows. Sandy had been sitting in the nest box for weeks before we let her start setting. She so wanted to be a momma. I could see her staying put and taking over the young ones. I just hope she does abetter at taking care of the little ones now that she has them than she did when they were hatching.
     
  4. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately there is no hard and fast predictable rule here. Chickens tend to be as varied as humans about their approach to mommyhood.

    Some chickens will only co-brood with a very specific hen, and happily share the chicks

    Some hens with co-brood happily until hatching, then peck any chick coming from the other hen to death.

    Some hens will aggressively brood solo.

    Some hens will co-brood, but only so they can steal eggs/chicks from the other, who eventually gives up.

    You just have to watch and wait, and get used to how your hens work.
     
  5. KirstenJL

    KirstenJL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had splendid luck with this last August. I had a BO go broody and I spent a lot of time hunting around for hatching eggs with no success, so I finally just let her have the 4 eggs she'd been on (mostly mixed breeds--I was searching for some popular purebred eggs). About a week before they hatched, my Jersey Giant went broody and so I just gave her two of the BO's eggs (I wanted to keep my numbers down and I really didn't want any more mixed breeds). Two chicks hatched and all was well. They're still happily sharing mommy duties at 9 weeks--all hanging out in a family unit.

    I did have a third hen (another BO) go broody the week the chicks hatched and I put her in the same coop on eggs in a bucket since the first two hens had taken over the two nest boxes. Came home the next day and the original BO had taken over the third hen's eggs along with her own chicks--she was still in broody-mode apparently. The third hen had broken--was screaming to get out, so I released her and pitched her eggs. She never went back to being broody.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Like said, sucess depends on the birds. LOL

    I had a co-hatching group going on once. They had half a dozen eggs between them... and the two sat and sat.... and sat all the chicks to death....Hatched out 3 or 4 and all chicks were flat dead under them.
     
  7. flocksalot

    flocksalot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All is still going well in Broodyville. The girls are doing a great job together. Sandy is getting a bit fiesty when I remove their feeder or waterer for cleaning, but Lucy Lu is coming over for petting and actually brings the chicks to see. Of course they know who has the mealworms already, so cuteness abounds. We will be attaching the run to their house tomorrow so the girls can take their bunch outside for the first time. We have almost 150 chickens so I prefer to keep the little ones contained for a few weeks. Once the other girls have gotten their fill of looking then I can let the girls go out and about. This has always worked well for me with single broodies.

    On another note we are missing 2 girls at night. I saw Speedy running around the house this morning before the others were let out and the other girl likes to hide outside at night. I'm thinking that Speedy may be setting on some eggs of her own, and it's always possible that Curly Jane has been attempting to set too. We looked every place we could possibly look today. I would think she would stay close to food and water, but she cannot be found. I guess if she shows up with some babies I'll know what she was doing. I hope she's ok as we have many predators running around at night. Only ever lost a chicken to a stray cat though. If she does show up with babies I had better get a new broody hut built as we currently have no vacancy signs all light up.
     
  8. flocksalot

    flocksalot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Wow, I would discourage them from attempting to hatch any eggs ever again. Never had that happen. Generally the only dead ones I find are from first time broodies that feel some thing under them grab it and toss it. Sadly they just killed their first born. Sandy did it twice. Last year I was watching Ezzy as her first was zipping. She freeked when it started moving under her. Grabbed it, tossed it, and then looked so sad when she realized it was a baby. This year she was a perfect mommy. Her sister on the other hand had some difficulties, but them it was her first brood. Have yet to ever have a flat baby. Guess I'm poking and prodding under them checking things out so much that they wouldn't get the chance so squish a kid.
     
  9. flocksalot

    flocksalot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Apparently two's company three's a crowd in their broody world. [​IMG] We are kinda hoping that the girls continue on the way they are as it's kind of a unique little family unit.
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Wow, I would discourage them from attempting to hatch any eggs ever again. Never had that happen. Generally the only dead ones I find are from first time broodies that feel some thing under them grab it and toss it. Sadly they just killed their first born. Sandy did it twice. Last year I was watching Ezzy as her first was zipping. She freeked when it started moving under her. Grabbed it, tossed it, and then looked so sad when she realized it was a baby. This year she was a perfect mommy. Her sister on the other hand had some difficulties, but them it was her first brood. Have yet to ever have a flat baby. Guess I'm poking and prodding under them checking things out so much that they wouldn't get the chance so squish a kid.

    Oh yeah, that was years ago... not only did I immediately break up both broodies, they were silkies, they went to the stew pot that weekend. Silly things were great incubators, terrible hatchers. [​IMG]
     

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