Grafting Hatchery chicks to a Broody Hen: Fingers crossed!


9 Years
Mar 28, 2010
The Mythical State of Jefferson
Well, my 3 Buff Orpington pullets arrived today. This evening, I put them in with my broody hen. So far, so good! She stood up and spun around. I think she was getting everyone in the right spot. Once she sat down, I have hardly heard a peep!

She is a first timer, so hopefully, she can hang with motherhood. She has been the most persistent broody I have ever seen! I was pulling her out of the nesting boxes for over 2 weeks before I decided to try to let her take care of some chicks.

If anyone has any secrets to making this work, please let me know! I have heard that I can let them outside with her at 1 week old!
Depends on if you free range. I think you can let them out with the flock sooner if free ranging as the hen and chicks can kind of go off on their own for some private family time and the hen has room to fend off any curious hens. I always let my hen have a good two weeks inside with the chicks~ but within sight of the flock~ before integrating. I free ranged all the time so it was easier for me. The first few nights the hens want to take their biddies back in the broody pen but then I shut that down and they are forced to use the big coop and it always works out fine.
yes, they are day old chicks. By this morning, she had pushed 2 out and was pecking at the third anytime it came out from under her. Tomorrow, she goes into confinement. She needs to go back to laying or she will be going to the soup pot!
Ya she is rejecting them. Sorry about that. Some can be great some not so great. I would have waited another few weeks since she was a first timer. My silkie failed 2 hatches her first broodie session and was sitting for 3 months, i could not break her so she got her wish and "hatched" 2 babie BO's. Mind you she "hatched" them a little over 2 months ago and she is broodie again
. I think she found out my secret.
I've never had a broody reject foster chicks no matter which broody I chose. The trick is to already have her separate from the flock on her nest of eggs. Wait until full dark, slip in with minimal flashlight use and remove her eggs without removing her from the nest. Next slip the chicks one by one under her and leave immediately. By next morning mine have been a well-established family and mama puffs up and tries to protect when I check on their progress. No heat lamps or lighting in the brooder is necessary for any of this...really no need.
Beekissed, that was the outcome I was hoping for! I am already brooding 23 broilers. I really did not want to have to keep both sets of little ones indoors. I have learned a lot from this round. Hopefully next round will be more successful.
Next time you could maybe broody raise your broilers as well!
I did 20 under a broody hen and kept a journal thread in the meaty section and it was quite a success. Easy Peasy! Keep tryin', you'll find the key!

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