How do I know if the switcheroo worked?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Pitchfork, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Pitchfork

    Pitchfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Oklahoma
    I have placed two, probably two to three day old, chicks under a broody hen, I picked the chicks up yesterday at the farm and ranch down the road, so I am guessing they were shipped at one day old and they had just arrived when I got them. The hen has been sitting on two golf balls for 23 days. I removed the golf balls.
    She doesn't seem to be too happy with the chicks. If she sees them she pecks at them and I can't tell if she is just trying to get them to stay under her or if she just doesn't want to accept them. Don't know what is normal, this is a first time broody, and my first time watching this unfold. As long as the chicks stay under her she seems fine with it. How long before she should show signs of wanting to get them to food and water, etc. I placed them under her last night and when I went out this morning one of the chicks was sitting out in front of the nest which is about four inches off the floor. I placed it back in the nest, next to the hen and she brisseled up and went to pecking at it until it crawled under her. Normal? Any advice as to what to watch for, how to tell if things are going well or if I need to remove the chicks.
    Thanks in advance for the help.
    Mike
     
  2. calicokat

    calicokat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    Well, not sure. I swapped my chicks for golf balls at night too, and she was just a happy momma in the AM. Mine weren't even day olds, they were more like 10 day olds!

    Can you place something in the front of the nest so the babies can't get out? Momma's not like a cat, she won't be able to pick them up and bring them back into the nest. Also, are there other birds around? YOu don't want other birds to be able to get to the babies - and maybe kill them.

    My momma hen sometimes makes a steady clucking sound to her babies - sort of like a homing beacon noise for them, but doesn't peck too much at them. Just watch a little more and see if she is trying to protect them from you or others, or if she is having trouble accepting them. Give her a chance, it will likely be ok.
     
  3. Pitchfork

    Pitchfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Oklahoma
    The nest is located in 4 x 4 coop, and that coop is closed off from the other chickens, so it is just the hen and 2 chicks. The nest is about 4 inches off the floor and that includes a 2 inch lip at the front. So I placed two pieces of 2 x 4 to form steps so if they get over the 2 inch lip again and fall to the floor they can walk back up 1 1/2 inch at a time. They are still under her at the moment. Does anyone know at what point they have to have water? They were drinking at the feed store and drinking up until the time I put them under the hen, but that has been over twelve hours now, and she shows no sign of getting off the nest and helping them find the water and feed.
    Thanks for the help.
     
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    I don't think you fooled this broody. It sounds like she could get seriously irritated with them and maybe harm or kill them. I think if she had hatched one egg herself, she might have accepted them. But maybe in her chicken brain she knows she didn't go thru that process. I would remove them before it's too late.
     
  5. Pitchfork

    Pitchfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Well I am watching them pretty close and my greatest concern, at the moment, is food and water. She is now clucking to them and one was peaking out from under her wing so I know it is ok. I wish I knew a time frame for leaving the nest for the first time after a hatch.
    Obviously, if a hen is sitting on a dozen eggs she is not going to jump up just after the first ones hatch. But at some point instinct should tell her when it is time to stop sitting and start raising. So about how long should that be?
     
  6. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did the same thing with a first time black sex-link broody,she sat on the golf balls for 21 days and I went out at night and put them under her and the next morning she had four cute little buff babies,you can see in the picture how close I have the water and food to her because the babies were eating and drinking prior to putting them under her,she was a great mom,she was a few days before she got up and moved around with them so I wouldn`t worry just put the food and water[​IMG] close to them.
     
  7. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    If she is clucking to them I think she will be ok with them,but do keep watching them untill your sure she won`t hurt them. [​IMG]
     
  8. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's been my experience that if they are going to accept them it happens the very next AM. Sounds like you are watching them closely, so keep doing that. I wouldn't wait more than a day or so to see if it is working... I've had moms kill babies that they don't accept. I hope this works out for you and the babies. Don't be discouraged by this as I've had about a 95% success rate doing this.
     
  9. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    ... placing food and water close, as in the above pics, is a good idea.
    And it will take her a couple of days to get up and about with them.
     
  10. Pitchfork

    Pitchfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Oklahoma
    I wish I knew how to post pics. Just came back in and one of the little ones was running around the coop. She got herself a drink of water and ran back and hopped up on top of Mom and started pecking Mom on top of the head. Mom was all brisseled up during the time the little one was absent from the nest, but once she came back, Mom settled down and as the little one would peck Mom on the head, Mom would turn around and peck back a little. Finally the little one jumped on top of Mom's head as if to say, "stop pecking me". She slid down over Mom's face and ducked under a wing, climbed back up on Mom's back and went to sleep. The other baby is peeking out once in a while but has not yet come out for food or water, but since the one has made the trip I am sure the other will follow. It appears that all is well with the hen and her hatched golf balls. The nest box is hung out the back of the coop, as so many are, with a lid to remove eggs, when I opened the lid this time Mom fluffed up and both chicks ran to her breast area and she sort of scrunched over them , so she has accepted them.
    Now we shall see if she can rasie them. I let my two grand-daughters each pick a banded pullet from the feed store so we have one Black Sex Link and one Light Brahman.
    Thanks to everyone for the help.
     

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