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how many chicks can a hen handle?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cactus-hen, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. cactus-hen

    cactus-hen Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    Between Wilma's hatching nine and 16 coming from the "bator I have 25 babies! :eek: How many chicks can a hen reasonably handle? Omega, the last to pip but not hatch yet, is still in the incubator. I removed the other 15 chicks and gave them to Wilma. That's 24 chicks. I didn't do this at night because last time she rejected (the next morning) the two chicks I put in at night . This time I removed Wilma from the broody pen and then put the new chicks in with the old. She took care of her bodily needs then wanted back in with the chicks. I kept her away from them for 20 min. When I put her back in she called to all and tucked many under her. She seemed very confused by the sheer numbers of chicks. I spent the next two hours with her. No problems. I have checked on her every 1/2 hour and everyone is doing fine. I am not concerned about keeping the chicks warm. The temp only got down to 90 last night. I plan to put a small light in the coop just in case. I check on the birds about 1am and again about 5am. Do you think Wilma will be able to take care of all those chicks?
  2. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    What breed is she? When she settled down with the babies, how many were "sticking out"? How did she do raising her other/last brood?

    I would think you have hit the max in numbers by the time you add Omega, but i'm no expert by any means.... maybe someone else with much more experience will give you some answers.

  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    My EE has 12 with her right now, and it seems to be about all she can handle.
  4. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    That's a lot of chicks under one hen. I don't know what the max is, but as they grow, covering them will be an issue. I would for sure set up a light in case some pop out and can't fit back under her.
  5. DTchickens

    DTchickens Crowing

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    as many as she can cover.. Gave 13 to a junglefowl hen, Tried more but she couldn't cover them so i "Stole" them from her

  6. My mom has a hen that just hatched out 19 babies. This hen in no larger than a fist wide and maybe a fist and a half long. She hatched 19 of her 20 eggs(all the eggs where this hens also). All babies lived and are doing great. They are now about 2 months old. And every day the hen is STILL with these babies. She calls to them all the time. And at night she calls them to bed. When you look in on her you see 40 little feet under her(that's counting her feet also). You wouldn't think she could do it, but she is....

    Now she also has a large cochin hen who all she can handle is 3-5 babies at a time. Anymore than that and she looses them or just refuses to take care of them at times.

    I guess it just depends on the hen...I have one who has 8 and another hen who will only take 1 baby at a time. Different girls, but same breed.
  7. cactus-hen

    cactus-hen Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wilma is an excellent mom. She calls the chicks to eat and drink. She tucks as many of them as possible under her. Most of them can fit under Wilma. She looks so funny all puffed out. The babies did well last night. I put a red lamp in about midnight. Omega hatched last night and went in with her mom this morning. Some of them did go under the lights. All seems well. Thanks for all your support.
  8. cactus-hen

    cactus-hen Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    Second night over. Goliath didn't make it. He was the chick that had such a hard time hatching. Possible yolk sac issue. All the other chicks are doing fine. Even Omega. I can hardly tell the difference between him and the older chicks. The brooder pen is quickly becomming too small. Will put together another today. Will post once more with pics today.[​IMG]

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