Foster Hen Fail...*Help*

NicolleJean

In the Brooder
Oct 15, 2016
37
1
44
South Jersey
Hi Everyone,

My Blue Sumatra has been broody for give or a take a month. I gave her a fake egg because she was "stealing" my other two hen's eggs. I brought home a chick tonight for her to foster and it did not go so well. The chick is less than a week old (only a few little wing feathers on her). Here is what I did and I am hoping I can still make this work. What needs to change?

- Moved hen into her own little area with chick feed and water.
- Waited until it was dark out and took her fake egg and tried to place chick near her.
- The chick ran to the water/feeder and didn't seem too interested in nestling up with mama.
- Hen started making noises that she makes when we disturb her and then proceeded to peck at chick.

We moved the chick into a brooder for the night until someone can give us some feedback on how to make this work better. I can't get another chick and don't want this one to be raised alone. Please send some advice!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,951
11,344
636
western South Dakota
You are right in that the chick needs to be part of this. This is how you do it. Let the chick get cold, this will make the chick peep loudly, and when it finds a warm spot, burrow in tight. The movement under the broody hen by the chick, flips the hormones into taking care of chick mode, and no longer broody mode. So, let the chick get cold, don't kill her or anything, just take her off the heat, and put her in the night air for a bit. Then go down in the dark, with limited flashlight, stick the chick UNDER the hen, if the chick crawls out, stick him under there again. The chick should stop peeping, and the hen should start clucking deep in the throat, and then LEAVE them alone. Your watching will make the hen nervous, and they have to work this out. Should be good to go by morning.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,769
32,589
1,092
On the MN prairie.
You are right in that the chick needs to be part of this. This is how you do it. Let the chick get cold, this will make the chick peep loudly, and when it finds a warm spot, burrow in tight. The movement under the broody hen by the chick, flips the hormones into taking care of chick mode, and no longer broody mode. So, let the chick get cold, don't kill her or anything, just take her off the heat, and put her in the night air for a bit. Then go down in the dark, with limited flashlight, stick the chick UNDER the hen, if the chick crawls out, stick him under there again. The chick should stop peeping, and the hen should start clucking deep in the throat, and then LEAVE them alone. Your watching will make the hen nervous, and they have to work this out. Should be good to go by morning.
This method has always worked for me.
 

NicolleJean

In the Brooder
Oct 15, 2016
37
1
44
South Jersey
Unfortunately it did not work out :( my hen didn't mind the chick last night, but chick was not interested in sitting under her, so she slept in the corner all night. Mommy hen didn't seem to mind until morning when it got light, then she started getting a little too aggressive (more than just a few "i'm the boss" pecks). It was still fun to learn about this process though and maybe the next hen that goes broody I will try again (new chick obviously).
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,386
17,760
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
Efforts so far not a fail, rather goal not yet realized.

Introduction as described too abrupt, especially when considering hen likely not "talking" to embryos about to hatch and the advanced age of chick. To force, I suggest you confine chick in close proximity to hen with a barrier the hen can not peck through. Supply chick with food, water and conditions suitable for it even without hen brooding it. The hen and chick will imprint on each other and begin gravitating towards each other. At 24-hour intervals remove barrier and see how the birds interact. The introducing the chick at night serves the same purpose as the partition and such an abrupt approach works well when both hen and chick are optimally in window to imprint upon each other. Approach above seems to take no more than 3 days before hen and chick can be introduced fully. It makes so you can prevent loss of chicks that can occur even overnight.
 

jennieinmi

Hatching
Jun 22, 2018
2
0
7
(I am reposting this here, hoping to get an answer from someone with more experience). I am attempting to foster chicks onto a broody Buff Orpington. She has been broody for about 10 days and I put 5 2 day-old store bought chicks under her 2 nights ago. She seemed to be pecking at them yesterday when they would peek their heads out from under her, but they are all surviving and up and about eating. They did not go under her last night, so I put them all back under her and they were there this morning and then they all got up and started eating. So there are no eggs or chicks under mama hen, but she is still laying on nest box and does not seem very interested in the chicks. As they were popping out from under her this morning, she pecked at them a little, but once they moved away from her to eat, she lost interest. Do you think I should give up and raise them by hand or do you think she will become a mama to my chicks? I feel worried that they are afraid of her and won't go to her for warmth when they get cold. It's going to be in the 70s today.
Do you think I should separate them and try to reunite them again at night? So far, she is still on the nest and they are running around eating, but not going to her.

Also, we have 5 other chicks that we have been raising with a heat lamp. (They all came together, but one was sick and I kept 5 of them in the house). Do you think it would work to put them in the hen as well?

Thanks,

Jennie
 

CannedMonster

Free Ranging
Nov 26, 2017
2,275
4,808
577
Southwest Idaho
(I am reposting this here, hoping to get an answer from someone with more experience). I am attempting to foster chicks onto a broody Buff Orpington. She has been broody for about 10 days and I put 5 2 day-old store bought chicks under her 2 nights ago. She seemed to be pecking at them yesterday when they would peek their heads out from under her, but they are all surviving and up and about eating. They did not go under her last night, so I put them all back under her and they were there this morning and then they all got up and started eating. So there are no eggs or chicks under mama hen, but she is still laying on nest box and does not seem very interested in the chicks. As they were popping out from under her this morning, she pecked at them a little, but once they moved away from her to eat, she lost interest. Do you think I should give up and raise them by hand or do you think she will become a mama to my chicks? I feel worried that they are afraid of her and won't go to her for warmth when they get cold. It's going to be in the 70s today.
Do you think I should separate them and try to reunite them again at night? So far, she is still on the nest and they are running around eating, but not going to her.

Also, we have 5 other chicks that we have been raising with a heat lamp. (They all came together, but one was sick and I kept 5 of them in the house). Do you think it would work to put them in the hen as well?

Thanks,

Jennie
It doesn’t sound like she wants to be a mom.
At least not yet.
Everyone has told me that it’s best for her to be broody for a minimum of two weeks before even attempting to introduce chicks. :idunno
 

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