Help with introducing baby chicks to their broody mother after being incubated

jessica8804

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 14, 2013
25
3
99
I have a Broody hen and her 1wk old chicks that I incubated before she became broody. i also have a rooster. i talked to the place where i got my chicks originally and told them that my hen was sitting on golf balls. they told me to get the golf balls out of there and to try and introduce the chicks to the hen. So, i got my six almost one week old babies together and put them right next to her on the nest, she made a few weird noises, seemed to me that she was warning the chicks to stay away... so i kind of nudged her and got her to leave the nest. i kept the rooster outside of the coop. the chicks kept on following the mom and she really paid not attention, she more wanted to get out by the rooster. so they all went out pecking around. after i caught the rooster and then the hen both peck at a chick i brought them back into the brooder. I cleaned my coop out, put down new bedding, took out the golf balls and the one egg that she was sitting on that she smashed. made her a new nesting area and now she is right back on her empty nest. all of this is a first time for me, so im hoping that i haven't made any critical mistakes. looking for some advice on how to re introduce these chicks and when, how old should they be? i read 2 months but i believe thats without a mama hen. just now i checked on things and the hen is off the nest sitting in a mud hole that one of the 2 (hen or rooster) dug, and kind of moving her legs around in the dirt. im assuming that she is trying so get that smashed egg off of her? i got some but she was still kind of a mess. Is this dirt hole (blocked off from the rest of the coop yet in the sun) her new nest? does this mean that she is no longer broody and will attack the chicks for sure? how can i tell? what should i do???
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
594
448
South Georgia
As far as I know: the best way to introduce live chicks to a broody is right after they hatch. I've gotten away with it when the chicks were purchased and shipped, so they were about 3 days old. The chicks should be placed under the mama after dark so that she sits on them all night -- and opefully considers them her own in the morning. ours may have been too old, or the problem may have been that you tried during the day. I once tried this in the middle of the day and the mama kicked them out of the nest, so I kept the chicks by themselves until around 10 PM when I put them under her again. In the morning, she treated them as her own, and she ennded up raising them.

Others here have a lot more experience doing this than I, I'm sure.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,824
32,854
1,092
On the MN prairie.
welcome-byc.gif


Since you chased her off the nest, took her golf ball and egg, I'm guessing that your hen has quit the nest and you will be raising those chicks. If that is indeed the case, you will have to keep them separate until they are closer to adult sized and integrate them then. When I have introduced chicks to a broody they were maybe a day to three days old (bought at the tractor supply place, got the youngest ones I could), kept them in the house until dark and then took them out to the hen. With as little commotion or light as possible, I put the chicks under the hen, and took the eggs out. In the morning, everyone was bonded and happy. She may have been trying to dust bathe in the dirt hole.
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
56
193
S.E. AZ
How long had she been trying to hatch the golf balls?
If, it had been several weeks, your kicking her out and changing the nest may have been enough to end her brooding.
She could be just taking a dust bath, in the mud hole.
I'd wait and see if she returns to the nest and settles in. If you want to try and introduce the chicks again, do it early morning, before daylight, slipping them under her. If, she is going to accept them, this will be your best chance at success.
Worst case is you'll be raising them yourself for the next few weeks, as long as you take them away, before she hurts them.
 

jessica8804

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 14, 2013
25
3
99
now the hen is out and about pecking around with the rooster so maybe the broody ness is gone??? She had only been broody for about 3-5 days. should i put the golf balls back and try this again late at night? do you think that rooster will harm them? Wait now she's back on the nest with no golf balls!!! I guess I'll try late tonight
 
Last edited:

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,824
32,854
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Yeah, I think you're right. I hope you have a place to raise those chicks until they're big enough. I wouldn't even try to give them back to her at this point, but if you do, and do it at night or right before daylight, make sure you're there to intervene. I don't think she'll take them. I know chickens can't exactly tell time, but I wonder if they don't have the instinct to know that there should not be chicks after just one week? I can't say for sure, as I've never tried to introduce them that early. I waited until I knew for sure the eggs weren't going to hatch (like 24 or 25 days) before attempting it.
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
56
193
S.E. AZ
Yeah, I think you're right. I hope you have a place to raise those chicks until they're big enough. I wouldn't even try to give them back to her at this point, but if you do, and do it at night or right before daylight, make sure you're there to intervene. I don't think she'll take them. I know chickens can't exactly tell time, but I wonder if they don't have the instinct to know that there should not be chicks after just one week? I can't say for sure, as I've never tried to introduce them that early. I waited until I knew for sure the eggs weren't going to hatch (like 24 or 25 days) before attempting it.

Yeah, I've only given a hen chicks, as a last resort to end a broody streak. I've stolen chicks from one hen and given them to another, that I wasn't able to break from being broody. Works like magic. I didn't let the two moms get together, as I wasn't sure if there would be a fight for custody. Or, is that just a human thing?
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,079
581
Southern Oregon
It's just not going to work, sorry. The hen hasn't been broody near long enough to accept chicks, and the chicks are old enough they're not really going to bond with momma. She doesn't consider them her babies, so you can't count on her to protect them. You need to decide if you're going to let her brood or break her broodiness.

If it's just one hen and rooster, you can probably put those babies out when they're 6-8 weeks old. Make sure there's lots of space for the babies to get away from the big birds.
 

jessica8804

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 14, 2013
25
3
99
Do u think that the chicks will need a separate sleeping box @ 6 weeks old? My coop is all one open area but I could be innovative... Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks!!
 
Last edited:

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,152
12,052
636
western South Dakota
well you might try it one more time, but you want to kind of chill your chicks. The whole bonding thing is a two way street, not only does the hen have to reach for the chicks, the chicks have to reach for the hen. If your chicks are kind of cold, they are going to want and burrow into something warm. So if you sneak down in the dark, after letting your chicks get kind of cold so they are really peeping..... then with a flash light pointed away, just drop the first chick on her back, and that chick should just disappear, the broody hens voice should change, and she should shift. Drop the next one and it too, should just get sucked inside,,,,,,,

If the broody hens voice changes, she is talking to them. They should warm up and go to sleep, but burrowing in tight each time she moves away. That motion, helps trigger the correct response from the hen.

Without a doubt, you are stretching the possibilities both ways, your hen has not been broody very long, and your chicks are borderline too old to bond, but it might work. However, it might not work too.....the thing is you really have to leave them alone after you got the chicks in there. If you keep peeking, you will upset the broody hen and she may kill the works. Course, she may kill the works if you do leave her alone, and she does not fall for it......

But if so, she will still be broody, wait another 3 weeks, and get her day old chicks, and she will do all the work. Or just brood them separate from the flock.

Mrs k
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom