First Time Broody! Can hens share the chicks?

missychicky

Songster
12 Years
Jun 10, 2009
390
26
226
Portland, OR
I am living the dream of finally letting one of my girls raise some babies for the first time!! So, our girl tenshi went broody and she's been sitting on a clutch of 11 eggs since the 9th of this month. Today I noticed my other silkie girl Papillion is going *full* broody on me. I only have these two hens and their roo. My question is, can I let Papillion go broody, and sneak a couple of tenshis chicks under her when they hatch? Will two broody hens be able to "share" the chicks? Especially since the expected hatch date is in a short six days! 🤩 I have tenshi separated inside in a brooder box so I can keep a good eye on her, so either way she will be reintroduced into the flock with babies following her around and I don't know what I should be doing to make sure its a smooth transition. I've heard hens can steal another hens chicks, or get aggressive?

Overall, I'm a nervous new mama and I've never had a broody hen hatch babies before so I'm an excited bundle of nerves. Any and all wisdom is greatefully accepted!
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
8,085
24,220
951
New Zealand
You never know if they'll make good mothers, or get along co-parenting, until you give them a chance. Some hens will fight over chicks, and some will share them beautifully. Papillion may not have been sitting long enough to accept chicks if they are only about 6 days away, but then she is a Silkie (and they love to be mothers, but then they also love to sit on eggs). You'll have to use your good judgement and have a back-up cage you can isolate one hen in if things go pear shaped.

I've had an Orpington, who was not broody, decide to play auntie to some chicks whose mother was a tiny bantam. I think the babies were around 3-4 weeks old when she started following them around too. It was the funniest thing. She would cluck and share food, just like a broody and follow them everywhere. And the actual mother accepted her help, despite the fact that in general, they aren't 'close' within the flock.

Good luck with the hatch - it's the cutest thing watching them all interact and your rooster should help out too.
 

SilkySilkie

Songster
Aug 7, 2021
267
397
111
Vic,Australia
we used to have a hen she would accept other chicks of any age she was a wonder but she died due to old age but her daughter who was also broody and hatched out chicks once they saw each other while they were out the coop and someone else allowed the other hen with chicks to go out that was horrible the hen was fine but her daughter who also had chicks killed most of them ripped them apart it was disgusting so we took her chicks and gave them to the other hen AKA her mum so it depends on the chicken i also had a NN (no neck) co parent with a Egyptian fayoumi and we ended up giving them a bath we had too many broody hens BUT the both tried to steal another hens nest so yep every chicken is different
 

tommysgirl

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 18, 2012
3,209
167
271
I have had 4 sizzle girls and each of them has horned in on another hen's clutch. They are the perfect co-parents and it actually makes things easier for the other mama. Rejoice! Your babies will have at least one excellent mama.
 

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