Giving chicks to a broody

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jojorose8, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

    65
    21
    76
    Apr 17, 2017
    Chelsea, VT
    Hello all! I have a broody Easter Egger. I’ve been suspecting this might happen for about a week.
    Now she’s been sitting on wooden eggs for 2 days non-stop. I’ve decided I would like to get a couple chicks for her. How long should I let her sit before I slip babies under her? Anyone have advice to make this go smoothly?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    15,343
    14,207
    762
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You should not plan on grafting any chicks to her until she's in her third week of broodiness. Try to locate the youngest chicks you can find. Any older than three days and your chances of success go way down.
     
    N Sully and jojorose8 like this.
  3. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

    65
    21
    76
    Apr 17, 2017
    Chelsea, VT
    I understand I should sneak down after dark, remove the eggs from underneath her and place the chicks underneath her. Is that correct? She won’t she know I put the chicks there?
     
    Tiana's chickens likes this.
  4. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    15,343
    14,207
    762
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    That's what a lot of folks recommend. I had a bad experience once trying to give store bought chicks to a broody who had just hatched one, so I recommend doing it in broad daylight so you can judge how the broody is accepting the chicks. You could stick one under her and take away one egg. A bit later, snatch another egg and replace it with a chick. And so on until all the chicks are under her. If she is cool with that, I'd say she's good with the deal.
     
    N Sully likes this.
  5. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

    1,948
    2,181
    311
    Aug 18, 2014
    Manhappiness, Kansas
    My Coop
    It's a gamble, sometimes a broody will accept chicks no problem, other times they will murder the chicks. I'd let her sit a week or two before trying. Day old chicks are best. I like to sneak them in during dark because I feel they accept them better, but then if she goes murder hobo on you, you may lose some chicks.

    EDIT: also, is she separated from her flockmates? They may try to kill the chicks too
     
    N Sully likes this.
  6. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

    65
    21
    76
    Apr 17, 2017
    Chelsea, VT
    Right now she’s in one of the nesting boxes. She’s become very aggressive, even with the other hens. If any of them try to go near her she growls like she’s possessed. I’m a bit afraid of her at the moment. Haha. I was planning to section off that portion of my coop so the big girls couldn’t get near the chicks and my broody could stay in her nesting box where she’s comfy. I was wondering if I could put the chicks in the nesting box in a couple of weeks when broody is out for her daily meal so when she comes back it looks like they hatched? Has anyone tried that?
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    13,453
    21,957
    922
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I think you'd be better off slipping them under her. I've had the best luck after dark.
     
  8. AlezaJ

    AlezaJ Songster

    94
    98
    116
    Mar 24, 2013
    Bagley, MN USA
    Why wait until the 3rd week? I have a hen that's been broody for about a week and my incubator eggs are due to hatch Saturday. Is that too early to put chicks under her and why?
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    13,453
    21,957
    922
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    While chickens don't know how to count, I think their hormones direct much of their actions. You can always give it a try, but be prepared to remove them from her immediately if there is trouble, and raise those chicks in a brooder. In your case, I'd try giving them to her during the day, and not at night, using Azygous' suggestions.
     
    N Sully and azygous like this.
  10. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    15,343
    14,207
    762
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Yes, hormones are the broody's "brain". They are different at different stages, and can be turned on and off as eggs hatch and chicks appear. Around the end of the third week, the hormonal "brain" is gearing down to expect eggs to hatch, and as the chicks appear and become demanding with their peeping, the hormonal "brain" switches from demanding the hen stick like velcro to eggs to getting off the nest and carrying for chicks. At some point, unhatched eggs are abandoned and the chicks demand all of the broody's attention.

    There are rare instances where the sound and presence of baby chicks will trigger broody hormones in a hen. Silkies are especially prone to this. I had a Wyndotte hen go broody when she was exposed to some six -week old chicks I was brooding in the run. She took over their care and fed them and taught them and protected them until they were almost four months old.
     
    N Sully, Robert G and bobbi-j like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: