Giving chicks to a broody

jojorose8

Chirping
Apr 17, 2017
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86
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?
 

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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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.
 

venymae

Prairie Wind
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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
 

jojorose8

Chirping
Apr 17, 2017
73
27
86
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?
 

bobbi-j

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Mar 15, 2010
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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?
I think you'd be better off slipping them under her. I've had the best luck after dark.
 

AlezaJ

Songster
8 Years
Mar 24, 2013
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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?
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
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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?
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.
 

azygous

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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.
 

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