Giving chicks to non-broody hen?


12 Years
May 3, 2007
New Mexico
Emily BO is 5 years old. She went broody twice a year for the first three years, but never hatched or raised chicks. Now I want her to raise chicks, so I put her in with Matilda who set golf balls and is raising 5 chicks about 1 month old now. They are now co-parenting the chicks. From the start Emily called them to food and fed them. After about two days with them she developed what I call "broody cluck", that low call that only broody hens make. So now I am wondering if she will adopt chicks of her own if I go get some from the feed store. I am also wondering if Matilda, the real mama hen would allow these new chicks in the same pen (about 100 sq. feet) without trouble. Does anyone have experience with hens taking chicks without ever setting?
All chickens seem to react differently to chicks that aren't their own (or who they don't THINK are their own), even the nurturing broody kind. Even roosters...some folks have roos who are very gentle and nurturing of chicks, while other's have roos that will kill chicks. I'm lucky in that my little roo has been very kind and "fatherly" toward my mail order chicks. I would have a back-up plan (maybe a back-up pen) in case things don't go well. And good luck!
I have tried sneaking new chicks under four broodies this year. Each time my broodies attacked the babies, one time even killing one. I have much better luck placing eggs under them.

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