Hen ratio to baby chicks?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
Hardy Arkansas
I hatched out some chicks in my incubator, while having a hen brooding on 12 eggs.
I moved the hen and eggs to brood pen.
When the chicks starting hatching from incubator, at night, I replaced chicks with the eggs she was sitting on.
I then took the eggs I gathered from her and placed in incubator.
After chicks hatched out from incubator, I am just adding them to her pen and she is accepting all of them.
All are doing well, but what is the limit for her to tend to chicks.
Right now, there are 30+ chicks - all ages - with her and I do not see any duress or stress from any of them.
I still have about 3 dozens eggs in incubator to be hatching next week.
Will this be too much for one hen?

I have other hens in other pen, but not sure how introducing them into brood pen would work out.

Any suggestions.

And I LOVE THIS SITE!! this is my go-to place for all my questions and always get the best responses that are always helpful and informative.


9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
30+ chicks are too much for any hen to care for, no matter how big she may be. Theres no way she can cover all of them at this point, and they're only going to get bigger. I certainly wouldn't try to give her any more. You might consider adding a heat lamp with a low wattage bulb just in case.
Also, be prepared to brood that second round of chicks yourself. Her taking on more chicks when hers are a week old is going to be a long stretch. If she doesn't do them harm, her 30+ chicks might give them the run around intentionally or unintentionally.

Good luck!


Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
A hen can comfortably cover a dozen or so, to brood them to a few weeks old. More can fit under her now when they're smaller, but keep in mind they'll also need to fit under her at night when they're 5 weeks old.

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