How many chicks can a hen raise?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jaimemae, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. jaimemae

    jaimemae In the Brooder

    May 27, 2013
    Port Orchard, WA
    I have 14 eggs hatching. 6 have hatched. 2 more are on their way any minute, 2 have pipped and then there's 4 more that haven't done anything yet. I was not expecting them all to hatch but so far it looks like I'll have 10 for sure and possibly up to 14. I can hand raise some of them, but I'd prefer not too. How many can mama raise? What's a good number? She's doing GREAT by the way. Very sweet. Clucking to her babies and keeping them warm. Showing them where the food and water is etc.
  2. In my experience, a hen can hatch as many eggs will fit under her. A hen can raise about twice as many chicks then that
    Basically, if they will fit under her, then she can raise them. Even then, if its real warm, she could probably raise more chicks then that.
    So just calculate using her size
  3. jaimemae

    jaimemae In the Brooder

    May 27, 2013
    Port Orchard, WA
    Thank you :) she's a big girl (RIR). It's hot here right now, at night it gets down to about 50. But she's in a box in the coop that's insulated, so I think it's plenty warm.
  4. wildriverswolf90

    wildriverswolf90 Songster

    Aug 4, 2011
    polk county, NC
    My large fowl cochin raised 24 babies earlier this year. She went broody about a week before the eggs in my bator were due to hatch so I gave them all to her, she did wonderful.
  5. annanimal

    annanimal Songster

    Jul 16, 2012
    The most i have ever given her is 14 and she did just fine, since she is big i bet she could have a couple more, definietly 14 though.
  6. CustomSigns

    CustomSigns In the Brooder

    Jul 24, 2013
    I think as many as they can hatch!
  7. jaimemae

    jaimemae In the Brooder

    May 27, 2013
    Port Orchard, WA
    well, she hatched out her 7 and was doing as the ones in the incubator hatched I slipped them in with hers and she's doing just fine. She has 10 out there with her now. I have one that still hasn't hatched (day 23) and I just candled it and didn't see any movement. I am going to just leave it in the incubator for awhile longer. Then I have one baby that is sick. She hatched yesterday and was weird looking....her toes were curled and her neck was REALLY wobbly....I mean several hours after hatching. Mama was keeping her warm tho, but she wasn't holding her head up or even trying and she wasn't walking. This morning mama had pushed her out of the nest and I thought she was dead. I brought her inside and was holding her and realized she was still breathing. I put her in the brooder with a heat lamp and within hours she was super fluffy and holding her head up and cheeping. She is trying to walk but is quite wobbly still. Maybe she just needed some extra love? She seems like she may have some neurological issues tho, I am not sure? I am going to give her some time and see how she does. I hate to cull, but if that's what's best. I am going to see how she does the rest of the day. I really want to put her back with mama, I do not want to raise ONE chick when I've successfully gotten mama to do them all!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    24! Wow!

    When I was a kid we had a hen that hid a nest and came out with 18. The most I’ve done here was 15 a couple of years back. I had one earlier this year that raised 13.

    I think it does depend on the weather. In warm weather some don’t sleep under the broody anyway. Some will sleep on her or just next to her.

    As long as he eggs hatching are the same size as she lays, your hen can easily handle many more than you will have. Enjoy the experience.
  9. Seeing the number 24 just made my day, lol! I hatched 14 just over a week ago and immediately set another 2 dozen eggs. But having the chicks seemed to flip a switch in my bcm hen and she went broody. So I gave her 9 eggs to brood and was just wondering if she'd have the capacity to raise all 24 when they hatch. She is a very large hen - my husband keeps confusing her with a rooster!
  10. Eric R

    Eric R Chirping

    Jul 12, 2017
    I know this is an old post but I have about 30 eggs in an incubator (day 3) and a hen that just went broody. I doubt all the eggs will be winners but still a big number if all goes well. I figured if she can handle them with a little help ie. a heat lamp or even an Ohio brooder in the pen with them (only her and the chicks) then why not? I just much rather have a hen in charge of them than me if I can help it. I was just going to wait until the chicks hatch and sneak them under her at night. For now I may put a batch of eggs from the grocery store under her to keep her focused. Your thoughts?

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