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Has any attempted to introduce new chicks to a broody hen already raising chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bigmomma6, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. bigmomma6

    bigmomma6 New Egg

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    I have a hen who had 6 chicks and then lost 3 to a dog. Her chicks are now 3 weeks old, and I have just hatched 3 more. Can I give these new chicks to my hen for adoption? Has anyone done this?
     
  2. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    I have given a broody extra chicks when the chicks were all 3 weeks old but the chicks I introduced were the same age as the ones she already had. One was a bit of a different colour and she would occasionally grumble at it and give it the odd peck but after a couple of days she was happy to let it snuggle up to her, and as for the other two chicks she didn't even notice as they were the same colour as some of her original chicks. I just gave them a heat lamp so that no one was left out in the cold. I'm not sure if younger chicks would work though. They may look a bit too different for the broody to accept. All you could do would be to put them in a little cage near her and see what her reaction was. Some will adopt anything, others reject even some of the chicks they've hatched themselves, so it's all down to what her personality is.
     
  3. bigmomma6

    bigmomma6 New Egg

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    I was a bit nervous leaving my chick overnight with my hen (big momma) and her chicks in the coop, but so far so good. I checked them this morning and opened the coop door. Usually they can't wait to get out, but she is staying close to the coop to stay with the littlest one. I am going to watch them all during the day and if all goes well introduce the remaining two chicks tonight.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My approach with hen that did not want to work with me (see link below). Chicks younger and closer in age makes effort easier. I have had hens with older chicks adopt very young chicks but not confident in how process works. Another problem is hen will wean based on an internal clock, not needs of the chicks. There are situations where weaning chicks at two weeks or less can be bad.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...more-chicks-to-take-more-chicks#post_17515923


    Part of challenge you will have is older chicks may attack the younger chicks they are not imprinted on. Imprinting involves more than between hen and chicks, it is also between chicks and chicks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  5. lcertuche

    lcertuche Chillin' With My Peeps

    I used to have game chickens and they would adopt chicks all the time. In fact they would try to steal each others chicks. The only problem I had once was some RIR chicks that I tried to get one of my game hens to take. The problem was the chicks being a couple of weeks old wouldn't stay with her and they eventually disappeared. If I had Mama and them all in a pen it probably would have worked or just kept them penned until they were older. Well, live and learn.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Games are what I work with most. They also more consistently scrutinize each other during the combining process.
     
  7. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    I currently have a broody who has started laying again when her chicks are only 5 and a half weeks old, yet she is still happy to look after them, sharing food and letting them cuddle up. Her babies are Silkies and they do seem more dependant than other chicks we've raised. I've had other broodies who have had enough by 5 weeks. So hopefully your girl will look after them as long as is needed especially seeing as she seems to recognize this younger one needs a bit more care than her older ones. Glad she seems to have adopted one. Fingers crossed it all works out for the rest.
     
  8. SeanikkiFarm

    SeanikkiFarm New Egg

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    What about introducing a couple of chicks to a broody hen, with no chicks? Do I make a cracking sound and just yell Surprise! while I toss them into the nesting box? Seriously, my Cochin has been broody on the other hens' eggs for over a month, now. How can I get two chicks in there with her? Any ideas would be appreciated.
     
  9. Glenda Heywoodo

    Glenda Heywoodo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glenda Heywood
    When ever you introduce chicks to a Hen do this

    FIRST wait till dark of night and then you can take a lantern to use for light
    away from the hen. Do not have the light on the hen or chicks.
    HAVE THE HEN AND CHICKS AWAY FROM OTHER CHICKENS ALONE.

    FIRST BESURE AND TAKE YOUR HAND AND WIPE IT ACOSS THE HENS BEHIND

    THEN TAKE CHICK AND WIPE THE CHICK PERE' ACROSS THE HEN'S BEHIND ALSO

    THEN PUT THE CHICK UNDER THE HEN

    The reason you are doing this is

    you want the scent of the hen on the chick and the hen will take the chicks.
    You have to do this to all the chicks separately

    NOW EARLY IN THE NEXT MORNING

    go out to the hen and chicks with a good treat and give it to the hen and chicks
    IE: scrambled eggs are best
    this is so the hen will cluck and scratch around encouraging the chicks to scratch and eat at the treat.
    do this say each morning for several days and the hen should have taken the chicks
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Glenda,

    The process as described will have a high failure rate. The hen will bond to chicks based on sound rather than scent. The bond (imprinting) can often take more than a night to complete. If bonding not strong enough the first morning then odds high hen will be attacking and potentially killing chicks during the day. Process as described can work with chicks in the first day with hen not too early in the incubation cycle. You need to describe ages better in procedure. I doubt the scent management step will make a difference.
     

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