Getting Broody Reluctant To Take More Chicks to Take More Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by centrarchid, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    As the breeding season winds down and I consolidate the groups of young birds into easier to protect pens, I like combine small broods with larger broods. My favorite thing to do is place a couple small groups under of chicks under a hen that is in the process of hatching off her own clutch. Thus approach is not always possible since the small brood is sometimes younger. Over last two days I have been trying to combine two gamechicken chicks with a brood of Missouri Dominique hen that is four days older. Initially I place the chicks under the dom hen at dusk. The following morning she pecked with warning signals at the new chicks. I placed them in cage in the area the dom hen had with her brood. She had interest only in her own chicks. The following evening I placed chicks back under her for a second night. The following morning she tried to flog them which have killed them in seconds if I did not intervene. Frustrated, I grabbed all of her chicks and placed them in a small cage with the two the hen just attacked. The hen was then allowed to see and hear all closely without having access to them. Chicks were provisioned for the day with all kept in warm location. By end if day I was able to release all chicks and the hen made no attacks on even chicks I was trying to introduce. Next time I will go straight to combining chicks immediately during the day. The delayed imprinting may require hen to be clucking and new chicks to be chirping back in a manner that does not occur during the night.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Fascinating! Did you anticipate her finally accepting all the chicks together? I sure wouldn't have expected that.

    I tried slipping some store-bought chicks under a broody with one chick she had hatched two days before. The broody started screeching and drilling the chicks with her beak.

    It was horrible. I never want to try that again.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How old were the chicks?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    In my case the chicks were two and three days old.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    At start of mine, introduced chicks 24 h post-hatch and native chicks 96 hours. As of this morning hen testy with chicks so all confined for another day.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am comparing this to pairing two bluetooth devices, at least the older varieties of such. They have to be in a mode that makes them open to pairing. Chicks and hens also have a mode although it is not as resistant to be overridden. The ease which it can be overridden varies with chick age and genetics for both parties. The overriding is even easier for adult roosters as they do not naturally (in the wild jungle fowl) have a discrete period of close contact to promote pairing. This all relates to the broody rooster thing for me.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    So quite young....for some reason reading your first post I was thinking the chicks were a few weeks old.

    I'm intrigued to see how this goes. Thanks for posting.
     
  8. jjredpower

    jjredpower Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a broody hen with 3 5week old chicks of her own, im trying to get her to take 3 2week old chicks from the store also. Just put them under her tonight. Think it will work?
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    You have four obstacles making it tougher than what I am trying.

    1) Two-week old chicks past optimum imprinting age.

    2) Hen past optimal imprinting stage of broody cycle

    3) Hen with five-week old chicks nearing end of her strong rearing investment where she will be soon weaning her own current brood. I do not think the termination of a hen's broodiness over chicks is dependent on developmental stage of chicks, rather it may be on some sort of endogenous biological timer inside the hen.

    4) Chicks of the older brood are approaching age where they behave as juveniles and they will repell younger chicks themselves if they are not bonded to them as well. Chicks bond to each other as much as they do to hen.


    You efforts still might work as I have had unions of such broods myself. Problem is how reliable / repeatable. I want something you can bank on.
     
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  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    As of this morning, bonding between two new chicks and the foster hen is complete. Entire lot put out to free-range today so hen can dust bath and get a little time in the sun. During that time I will be preparing a cage that will be kept elevated above ground. The games are still too small to be confined by the mesh. They need to be penned up by 10 days post-hatch to help manage cocci.
     

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