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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chixNW, Apr 5, 2018.
True story. Fuzz fought everyone off.
I had one hen that insisted on being broody most of the summer. I think she sat 3 times the year before last, and twice that summer (then she and most of the rest of the flock go wiped out by predators). She'd lay maybe an egg or two between weaning one batch and wanting to set again. I'd love to have a broody raise some of the chicks I have coming this spring.
Funny how that works. Those who don't want broodies can't get them to stop, and those who do want them are constantly trying to figure out how to make a hen go broody!
*** IMPORTANT *** if you buy day old chicks to put under her, make sure they get a drink of water and eat a little bit before the introduction... by they time they get to you, they need some water and nourishment, and the broody hen might not get them outside quick enough.
She thinks she has a day or two, she thinks they just hatched. A freshly hatched chick has enough to keep it going for a day or two, that is how they get away with shipping them.
I am so nervous as I have never had a hen raise chicks before. The two I have now week old. So to nervous to try with them but I do have new ones coming Thurs. so not sure if it safe for her to add chicks. Isn't broody hens hard on their bodies. Should leave her nesting mean while or break her than put new babies with older babies? If I choose to use her to care for the new babies, should I move her now into protected duck house away from other hen?
Your chicken knows instinctively more than you do about raising babies. I wouls not put the week old ones in with her. The older the chicks (even at a week old), the less chance of them bonding with the hen. They haven't had that chance, so they have no idea what to do. If it were my hen, I'd leave her on the nest until the babies come, and then do as Mrs. K described. Let them get a little chilled so they're peeping, bring them out to her in the night and with as little light and fuss as possible, either put them on her back or slip them under her and remove the eggs.
Leave the broody sit for now...you could put her in another enclosure, but might not be necessary
Give her the new chicks when they come.
If it doesn't work out,
put the new chicks with the other chicks,
and the broody in a breaker crate.
I would let her hatch them as opposed to incubating them and giving her the babies. Whatever you choose, I hope it all goes well.
Is it okay to leave her in the laying box with the other hen when I add the babies? I have a large laying box that there is room to add waterier and feeder next to her. She is the alpha.
I would maybe add the babies at night, then move her and the babies to a nest on the floor later in the day, once you know she's bonded to them. The chicks are going to be active, climbing around on her - you don't want one to fall off and not be able to get back on the nest.
Don't put feed and water in the nest. All of my broody hens, have created a new nest on the floor in the corner of the coop. Just have clean bedding and she will move them there.
When she does that, you could do a bit of water and feed there, but as soon as possible, she will take them outside. Do not worry about them getting chilled. I once hatched out in 10 below... the chicks would run around crazy, and then the hen would give a cluck, and they would all burrow in for a warm up. Make sure you take care of the hen, she'll take care of the chicks. I have the mess in my garage, so wishing for broody hen.