Hatching eggs with borrowed broody hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by as110, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. as110

    as110 Chirping

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    I have been waiting for any of my hens to go broody but. None of them are interested. A neighbour offered her broody hen for 3 months. She said she does this all the time, lends her hen to people who need to hatch eggs. In theory I would really appreciate hatching asap like yesterday, but here are my concerns and questions.

    1. Since new hens should be quaranteened, my feeling is that she would need to live somewhere away from my flock.
    I can keep a basket in the bathroom. I also have a shed away from the other hens, but it isn't made to be chicken safe; squirrels can get in under the roof. Maybe I can fix this since it isn't cold outside.

    2. It is recommended to integrate chickens as early as possible, and the hen will protect them. I can keep chickens and hen in a tractor where the other hens and roosters can see them. Will that work if I keep the hen separated for a month, and then put her in a nest in the coop? Or?

    3. I noticed that the new chickens don't integrate well with the existing flock until they are 3 months old. At what age does the hen let the chickens go on their own?
    I would have to give the hen back before the chickens are 3 months old, and I have a separate area for young chickens to get used to their new family.

    I guess I have answered my questions. Has anyone used a borrowed broody hen to hatch eggs? How did it work out?
     
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    Chickens generally abandon their chicks at eight or nine weeks--about the time they're fully feathered. Silkies take a lot longer, I think partially because they're roosting on the ground.

    As for separation/integration--our broody hens don't really like to hang out with the rest of the flock. Just keep her in the tractor until the chicks are about four days old--to give the chicks time to adjust--and then integrate them or not, as you choose.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Huh. I would ask how the other broody borrowers have handled it.
    I would think that moving a bird into a new flock could break their broodiness

    Your quarantine concerns are valid...even if you keep her separate to hatch, her chicks could bring into the flock what ever pests/diseases the broody might be carrying.

    Ultimately a broody should set within at least sight of the flock if not right in with the flock (folks handle that differently) so she can integrate the chicks for you, but then usually broodies are already part of the flock.

    Allowing the broody back into the flock a few days after hatching can be temporarily problematic as she works her way back into the pecking order. Doing that with a hen/chicks that has not been part of the flock could really cause problems.

    If you're really dead set on having a broody hatch out some chicks, I would keep her separate and artificially brood the chicks within a separate area of the coop to begin the integration of the into your flock.

    Just some thoughts...have never borrowed a broody and only let one of mine set and hatch in a separate area of coop.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I wouldn't touch this set up with a 10 foot pole. First, this hen is traveling from one flock to an other. She may very well be healthy. Or she could be carrying a latent disease or parasites that she picked up somewhere along the way. She would need to be integrated into the flock, then successfully incubate eggs, then brood and wean those chicks... then move back to her original home. Too much stress for the poor biddy, if you ask me.

    If I were you, and wanted to expand my flock by hatching eggs, I'd build an incubator, then hatch the eggs, and brood the chicks in the coop with a MHP brooder.
     
  5. as110

    as110 Chirping

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    That's what I thought. I have never heard of lending a broody hen.
    I will have to wait until someone turns broody because I sucked at hatching in the incubator. Out of three tries and after 39 eggs I got 4 roosters and 1 hen, and one dead chick at day 1.
    I packed away the incubator I found it too much work. We kept having outages and I felt like I was sitting on the eggs. I didn't get much done other than watching the eggs and monitoring temps and humidity.
    A broody hen would sure be nice. They know better what to do.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Hahaha!! No Kidding!
    It is a lot of tedious, nerve jangling 'work'.
     

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