Help with broody hen & introduced chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bootsmith, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. bootsmith

    bootsmith New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2017
    Hi All,

    I did a post with a link that needs to be checked (which I didn't realise) and I need some advice sooner rather than later.

    We have a hen that is broody, has been for a couple of weeks. We decided to take the opportunity to replenish our chicken stocks as the broody hen is out last (the other have all passed on). We bought 6 day old chicks and after much video watching and reading went out at night and switched the eggs under her for the chicks (they hatched the day we got them). She happily had them all under her and sat on them all night, however come morning she was pecking them and would not let them anywhere near her.

    We brought the chicks back inside and put the eggs back on her nest and she immediately went back and sat on the eggs. Over the course of today we have slowly placed the chicks under her and she is again happy to sit on the, but whenever they come out from under her she pecks at them, but not as roughly as she did in the morning, and won't then let them back under her. we have taken a couple of the eggs out from under her so there are 4 (of the 6) chicks under her ans 2 eggs, with 2 chicks left to go under her.

    It seems she tolerates them but doesn't 'mother' them. She's fine with them being under her but if they come out she won't let them back under. Can anyone provide any advice on what we could do? Is the pecking normal or should she not be pecking at them at all?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

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    Chicks need to be young to successfully give to a hen. At most 2 days old.

    I've had a hen adopt a couple seven or eight week old chicks when their mom left them, but that's not common and she chose to do so. I'm not at all sure your hen will ever accept the chicks as hers, so you might want to take them out before she tries to kill them.

    You can keep trying, but she probably won't take them. Some hens gently peck young chicks to get them back under, but getting them away only happens when they are around 6 weeks old and ready to go out on their own.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Some pecking is normal. Is it kind of experimental, discipline type, or violent "I'm gonna kill you" type? The first is pretty common. Chickens don't have hands and don't lick their offspring like mammals do, so touching with the beak is pretty much how they're going to contact the young.

    I'd put the babies back with momma and just wait. You don't say how long you left them with her. I'd put them and not mess with them for several hours. If they come out from under her, maybe scatter a bit of food around her and see if that triggers her "find food for the babies" instinct. My mommas usually will call the babies to eat at that point, even though she's going to stay on the nest for a while herself.


    That may be some of it, also. She is wired to stay on the nest for a day or so after the chicks hatch, to allow any stragglers to finish hatching. So, she's not going to be up and "mothering" the chicks yet, she's going to be setting still. Give it a day or so, don't pull the chicks again unless she's really trying to injure them. I little peck here and there is fine, and they'll figure out how to go behind her and get warm again even if her front half isn't especially friendly right away.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  5. Jan's Happy Hennery

    Jan's Happy Hennery Just Hatched

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    Advice please! I have a broody who sat on eggs until first one hatched, then she abandoned the rest of her eggs! I brought the eggs indoors and placed in incubator - 2 hatched, they are now 2 weeks old and under the brooder. Can I put these 2 under the mother? Will she accept them and not kill them? Not sure if to keep under brooder till old enough to go outside with rest of the flock or not! Thanks in advance.
     
  6. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

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    They're too old to go with mom now. She'd probably hurt them. You'll have to keep them in the brooder for a few more weeks.
     
  7. Jan's Happy Hennery

    Jan's Happy Hennery Just Hatched

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    Thanks x
     

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