Giving chicks to a broody hen.

carolinat2012

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
17
1
47
About 3weeks ago I gave some chicks to my broody hen. She accepted them with no hesitation. I ordered more chicks that will arrive in 2 weeks. Is it possible that my hen would accept them too or is the age difference too big?
 

widelacing

In the Brooder
May 18, 2016
75
3
38
Oak Harbor, WA
It depends on the hen. It will be a little risky, but she may well adopt them. Try it, and keep a very close watch on them. One of the potential problems is that if she already has too many chicks, there will be no room for the new ones under her when it's cold at night. Good luck! If you can't watch them very closely for the first couple days, don't try it.
 

carolinat2012

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
17
1
47
She has 5 chicks right now and I ordered 5 more. Do you think the other chicks would pick on the new ones?
 

widelacing

In the Brooder
May 18, 2016
75
3
38
Oak Harbor, WA
They might or they might not. There is more concern of bigger hens picking on them. But a good mother will defend her chicks, even from each other. Also it sounds like there will be enough room under her unless she is small. Watch and find out.
 

carolinat2012

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
17
1
47
Thanks for your help. She's a Barred Rock hen and she's in her own little coop with her chicks so I don't have to worry about other hens for now. I guess I'll just try it. Thanks again.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,218
491
Long Beach, WA
First, please be aware that it is very, very risky to give day old chicks to a hen that has been taking care of chicks for 2 weeks. She very well could see those new chicks as a threat to her brood, and kill them.
Also, separating a broody hen and her chicks from a flock is generally a bad idea. She will be done mothering them before they are ready to integrate into the flock. And the hen will be an 'outsider' to the flock after being removed for so long. Not only do you have to worry about integrating a single hen back into the flock, you'll have a bunch of chicks that will need to be integrated slowly, and without the benefit of a mother to protect them.
 

widelacing

In the Brooder
May 18, 2016
75
3
38
Oak Harbor, WA
I disagree. Separating is much safer for the chicks and I have never had issues re-integrating grown hens. I have introduced countless motherless chicks to the coop before they had feathers on their heads and never had issues afterwards.
 

carolinat2012

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
17
1
47
Is it easier for her to integrate them if they free range? Also, I will have a separate brooder set up just in case she doesn't accept them.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,218
491
Long Beach, WA
I disagree. Separating is much safer for the chicks and I have never had issues re-integrating grown hens. I have introduced countless motherless chicks to the coop before they had feathers on their heads and never had issues afterwards.
I think that you must have a very tolerant flock...
My broodies brood right in the coop. They do the work of integrating the chicks for me. And my flock is much more tolerant and accepting of those chicks when they are a part of the flock right from the start. They do not easily take back a hen that has been separated, even if only for a few days.
 

MANNA-PRO

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