Gave broody 2 one week old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by marlene, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. marlene

    marlene Songster

    Aug 17, 2011
    I could not break my broody, so decided to give her 2 chicks that hatched 1 week ago.
    Initially it seemed to be going ok, for the first hour or so, she kept them tucked under her.
    Then 1 started to chirp madly, I went to check, and it was in a corner alone.
    I tried to put it back under her, but she pecked me. Eventually it went back under on its own accord.
    Chirping started again 30 minutes later, hubby went out to check, and both chicks were out from under her, and she was pecking at the chicks.
    We bought them back in and into the brooder.
    Can we assume she doesn't want these chicks, or is it worth trying again tomorrow?

  2. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Songster

    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    How long has she been broody? It might not be the right time, hormonally speaking, for her to accept chicks. Or, put them under her when it's dark...she can't see to peck them and by morning she might be used to their peeps enough to accept them.
    1 person likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I wouldn't risk it. If you slip them under her at night, what if you're not around to rescue them if she changes her mind about accepting them?

    If you do try this again, I would keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't harm the chicks.

    Broodies vary wildly in temperament. Some are so docile, they will readily accept babies any time. Others can get downright psycho and kill the chicks. Unless chicks are hatched by a broody, it can be real dicey getting her to accept them, and the chances are much better if it's done three weeks into the broody spell, approximating the point at which eggs would be hatching had she sat on them.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Putting older chicks under a broody is confusing on two levels.

    First, for the hen. If she were hatching eggs, those would be the first chicks to hatch. She's a chicken, her brain capacity is pretty limited. She doesn't know they're not her hatch. She doesn't know there won't be more chicks coming. Hens usually stay on the nest for a day or so after the first chick hatches, to give stragglers time to hatch and join the group. Well, for those week old chicks, they don't need to be tucked under momma for that day. they don't have that entire yolk a newly hatched chick can live off. They need to get out and eat and drink. But in the hen's mind, they're new hatchlings and should be on the nest. So, their behavior is odd to her and she doesn't like that.

    Second, for the chicks. The're a week old, they've been doing fine on their own. They're not bonded to a momma telling them what to do. They may not understand her language. When she clucks to them, they may not know what she wants. Therefore they don't respond correctly in her mind, which means she needs to discipline them.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, but you're going to have to give it more time. And the chicks don't need to be under her all the time. My week old chicks spend hours our from under momma, they just pop back in for a warm-up and then they're out and about again.

    Some pecking from a momma is normal and okay. You just have to watch them and see how much they're pecking. A once or twice is okay. Relentless or actively chasing the chick is not.

    One thing I'd try is scattering some feed nearby and see if momma calls the babies to eat, and if they respond to her call. Seeking food for the littles is an active bonding thing and could help cement their relationship.
    1 person likes this.

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