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foster chicks?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tuffy, May 5, 2011.

  1. tuffy

    tuffy Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2009
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    Hi, Has anyone ever had sucess with placing storebought newborn chicks under a hen that has been broody for 3 weeks but has little chance if hatching her own eggs? When my hen started she was seperate from the flock and for the first 4 nights she would hop up on the roost and leaves the eggs to cool. Every morning she came down and sat all day on the eggs. After 5 days she has stayed on the eggs 24 hrs. Probably not much chance of hatching. Its been 25 days. I once had a hen that hatched her own eggs the same day my hatchery chicks arrived. I smuggled the new chicks under her that night. She accepted them all and successfully raised 24 chicks. It was quite a sight~ I would much prefer a MOM to raise the chicks instead of me and the heat lamp, etc. thanks
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I've done it with incubator hatched chciks, not store bought. The store bought are likely to be a little older, but as long as they are not much older, you should be OK. You are dealing with living animals so there is always a risk. The older the chicks, the more the risk.

    If you do it, I suggest putting them under her late at night so she wakes up with chicks under her. Use as little light and commotion as you can. I'd be there about the time she woke up to see how it goes.

    What I did was to risk 4 chicks under her at night to see if she would take them. She did. Then when she brought them off the nest a full day later, I put her in a small enclosure and put the four chicks in a cardboard box. I put the rest of the chicks in that box, then dumped the entire box of chicks in with her. That broody raised 15 chicks with the flock without a loss. Good broody.

    I'll say it again. You are dealing with living animals so anything can happen. There are risks involved. But I really like having a broody raise the chciks.
     
  3. sheila3935

    sheila3935 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a broody momma right now that hatched out 6 3 weeks ago today. One of the eggs was a week behind cause someone laid one in her nest when she got out to eat. I took that egg and finished it in the incubator. When it hatched a week later, after work I took it in to her picked up one of her existing chicks and held both of them to let her see and sit them on the ground. She scooped both under her wing. They are all doing great. She is a good mommy. Like everyone else says put them under her at night and remove the eggs.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I have three broody hens right now.

    One, a SF, is not due to hatch for another 10 days or so. So far her eggs look good. Another, a silkie, hatched a single chick (now) 6 days ago. The third, another SF, was due to hatch last night or this morning (not real accurate on the dates, we were gone & DSD didn't mark it down).

    I went to the feed store yesterday intending to buy chicks for the SF because I was almost 100% certain her eggs wouldn't hatch. She only had 4 to start with, I had to throw 2 away and the other 2 didn't look good. I got her 5 JG chicks. While I was there, I decided to take a chance and get my silkie some more chicks, to go with her singleton. Kinda risky, since her own chick was 5 days old, but mama is a silkie and her chick is on the smaller side; so I figured I'd risk it.

    Got home around 4 PM. Didn't really want to keep the chicks in the house any longer than necessary with our two dogs and two cats; plus I'm not set up for brooding them inside right now. Working as quietly as possible, I went out and slipped the 3 baby polish under my silkie. This was fairly easy. The silkie "Jethro" has been taking care of her single chick, but still in full broody mode - flat as a pancake, waiting for more to hatch even though she doesn't have any more eggs under her. When Jethro stood up and spied the new chicks under her you could positively see the relief on her face. She started singing! She's a happy hen now and taking great care of all of her babies.

    I knew the SF would be pretty easy to deal with too. She's easygoing (for a broody). I made a big deal of removing her one egg that I knew was bad and then reached under her with 2 of the five chicks in my hand. Left them. Then reached under her again and added the remaining 3 chicks. She also seemed very relieved to see chicks under her, but wanted her remaining egg back too so I gave it to her. If it still hasn't hatched by tomorrow I'll take it from her while she's out with her chicks. At that time I also moved her and the chicks to a larger dog crate.

    So I defied conventional wisdom by working in the daytime and moving one of them, but I had my reasons. I know my hens very well and I knew what they would tolerate and what they wouldn't.

    All is well on the farm this morning [​IMG]
     
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I should add that I was very fortunate that the feed store had just gotten the chicks in yesterday morning, so they are fairly small. They had slightly older chicks too, but I selected from the youngest ones they had.
     
  6. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My broody buff orp just hatched on single chick out of 5 eggs on monday. I felt bad for the single lonely chick so I ran down to the feed store and bought a chick, it was a few days older....but she excepted it very well and Momma is happy with her 2 chicks. I need to get pics, they are so cute!
     
  7. 781Chicks

    781Chicks New Egg

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    I did that 5 weeks ago by putting 3 chicks in with our Broody the first night and removed 1 golf ball then the second night I brought in 5 more and removed the second golf ball, Mama has been raising them as if they were her own for 5 weeks now and all are doing great. I would add that you should put them in at night and within 3 days of hatching.
    Good Luck
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I prefer doing it at night when I can, but I've also successfully done it during daylight hours. I've never had a problem with a broody accepting a new chick, but some people have. I only try it when they are age appropriate.

    These suggestions are guidelines, meant to improve your odds. Not following them does not guarantee failure. Following them does not guarantee success.

    I think most broodies will accept new chicks during daylight hours, but I also think the odds of something bad happening are a little higher in the daytime. But you can have disasters adding them at night too. Each broody is different.
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I prefer doing it at night when I can, but I've also successfully done it during daylight hours. I've never had a problem with a broody accepting a new chick, but some people have. I only try it when they are age appropriate.

    These suggestions are guidelines, meant to improve your odds. Not following them does not guarantee failure. Following them does not guarantee success.

    I think most broodies will accept new chicks during daylight hours, but I also think the odds of something bad happening are a little higher in the daytime. But you can have disasters adding them at night too. Each broody is different.

    I agree Ridge. As I said though, I wouldn't have tried it without knowing these hens well. The one that is still broody? Never in a million years would I try it with her. I don't think she'd take them at night either.
     

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