How many chicks can a Mamma Raise?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ray2310, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. ray2310

    ray2310 Songster

    Apr 4, 2009
    Smithfield, PA
    I have a broody sitting on a clutch of 12 eggs... we are going to candle them tonight to see if there are any that aren't developing (they have been under her for 11 days)
    I know that we aren't going to have a 100% hatch, so if I wanted to get some day old chicks when hers are hatching, how many chicks can she raise? This is her second hatching, she hatched 2 of 6 eggs in early spring and did a great job.
    She has a separate coop and run for brooding.... until they are ready to integrate into the flock.

    We currently have 29 chickens ...
    7, 13 week old hens
    4, 13 week old Roos (we are going to selectively reduce to 1, as the personalities emerge)
    1, Hen which is constantly broody (we are going to keep her as a baby-mama for as long as she gets the urge to sit! - sitting on 12 eggs)
    17, older laying hens - that aren't laying well, we are only getting about 6 eggs a day, so since we have chickens for eggs, we need to eliminate some.. sadly - we LOVE our girls, their personalities are wonderful, but our coop can't house everyone!!

    We ideally would like to have 21 chickens over winter (1 roo and 20 laying hens)
    I think we need to get some chicks to add to our broody so that we can get them growing for egg production.. with some extra of course to cover the Roos that we will end up with too.
    If i had a total of 20 chicks this month to help replenish our flock, I'd be really pleased, but I'm not sure if my momma can raise so many babies??

  2. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Songster

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    not sure hope you find your anwser BUMP~
  3. oliviad51

    oliviad51 Songster

    Jul 23, 2009
    North Carolina
    Im not sure...the most chicks I have ever had with one hen was 8 but Im sure you can have more then 8..
  4. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    She can raise that many if it's warm enough for the babies. The limiting factors here are food (which you will i assume take care of for her) and warmth. The batch of 20 chicks will be too many to snuggle under her, so they may need a heat lamp for a short while.
  5. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    The first silkie hen I ever had hatched 12 egg's in late Nov.and she only lost one.A couple were frizzle's that had laid in her nest.I guess it got too far away from her in the pen and it was just too cold.The rest did great.They were so cute peeking out from all around her and head's peeking over her wing's.She was such a good mama.I miss Ms.Fluffy still.[​IMG].
  6. ray2310

    ray2310 Songster

    Apr 4, 2009
    Smithfield, PA
    Since it's very warm here, but we can also supply a brood light.. do you think i could add 10 other chicks? will she be overwhelmed?
    we candled the eggs tonight and it looks like 11 (of the 12) are developing.... but again that would be a miracle if 11 hatched!!!
    I just don't want to have the mess of chicks in the house again, when I have a chicken who can do all the work!
  7. I have a Black Silkie hen, Sara, (a love) that was sitting on a nest with her best friend, a Barred Cochin, Cora. And I do mean best friend. Between them they had 23 eggs.Sara/ Silkie started sitting first and went broody about a week before Cora did. As the Silkie chicks begin to hatch I took them into the house. The day they started hatching my order of Silkie girls arrived. I let several days & hatchings go buy and moved Sara/Silkie out of the main coop into a large kennel into the barn with the chicks that I ordered and 8 that she hatched. She has a total of 14 chicks and does a great job with them. Cora/Cochin ended up hatching 5 of the remaining eggs. She left the remaining eggs after a lull in hatching (three days).

    Up until this time I have had chickens that hatched and raised anywhere from 11 to 7 chicks. The reason I left 14 with her is the age/size of the chicks was very consistent. Cora has all the younger/smaller chicks. It's worked out well. The two broodies also get to go out and scratch in the grass with the chicks in a small pen that is seperate from the main run. Both hens and all 19 chicks are doing fine. I've been searching for my camera cable and finally found it...I'll try to post pictures of them if it ever stops raining.

    The 14 chicks all snuggle beneath Sara and poke their little heads out - every which way. One of the little cochin x's likes to ride on the back of Sara/Silkie. I'm sure he'll end up being a Rooster. He is mighty bold for a little guy... he's nothing but a little piece of fluff with a whole lot of attitude/confidence. So funny.

    Good luck with your chickies...with 20 you may need a heat lamp in order to keep them all warm. Is she a large hen?
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I can't answer the question directly, because I don't know. HOWEVER, there's a street where I go to take my lunch hour, just to watch the free range chickens there. A fairly smallish (compared to MY pullets, anyway!) hen was ranging freely with THIRTEEN chicks, walking through various front yards with them all scurrying around her. She crossed the street at one point!

    I was amazed. They were obviously only two or three days old. I've looked for her and her brood a few times each week since, and have seen her two more times. She had all 13 the next time, and only 11 about 2 weeks later.

    I strongly suspect YOU won't be letting yours wander a city street, though.
  9. chick4chicks

    chick4chicks Songster

    Apr 6, 2008
    N.E. Pa.
    Congrats on the chicks. Right now I have 2 broody banty hens that hatched 18 chicks out 2 weeks ago. I have not had to add any lamps, they are all doing great. Good luck on all your chicks. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. lovinlife

    lovinlife Songster

    Not sure how many chicks are under this bird, but there are quite a few.
    I LOVE this pic. The hen belongs to a friend of mine. She's a game hen that free ranges all the time. Hatched the chicks out on her own and raised them just fine.

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