How to Start a Hen and protect Her

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by caw009, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. caw009

    caw009 In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2011
    Hello..I have a small flock of 10 and 1 rooster. I want to start raising some baby chicks and have a hen sit on some eggs. Can you keep her with the flock while she sat on the nests especially with being with the rooster. Please help and give me some advice.

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas

    The first thing you have to do is wait for a hen to go broody and some never do. The tendency towards broodiness has been bred out of alot of breeds in favor of egg production. Hens that are brooding are not laying eggs. There is absolutely no way to make a hen go broody. Everyone claims to have a trick. I've tried 99.9% of those tricks without success. A hen will go broody when her body tells her too and not a second before. If your luck is like mine, about the time you give up on ever having a broody, they'll start setting like their lives depended on it and you'll have broodies coming out your ears.

    It is possible, with a few precautions, to allow the hen to brood and raise her chicks in the coop with the flock. That's how I do it. IMO, a chick is in no more danger from the rooster than it is from an aggressive hen. My one roo even helps raise the chicks.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I agree and currently have a hen with 11 chicks in a flock. It is helpful if there are a few obstacles in the run, I have a large wire cage set kitty corner to the run, and often I saw my broody with her brood in that corner. But they often came out and walk around the hen, they are not trapped in the corner, and other hens could go back there, but they generally don't as mama is a bit fiesty.

    Last year she raised a brood with out a rooster, (I got fertilized eggs from a friend) and when it got very close to hatching I locked out the layers. But this year, she just had them out of the coop by the time I got down there that morning. I do let mine free range quite a bit, but they all get along. And the very best part is that there is almost a seamless integration as the chicks get bigger.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You might want to read my post in this thread. I think it will help you.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread

    I also agree with Gritsar. Hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. Sometimes there are problems but sometimes there are problems when you try to isolate them. They are living animals. Anything can happen. I have one right now setting on eggs and she is not isolated from the flock at all.

    Some people report that a rooster is a problem, but I've never had a rooster threaten or harm a chick. I've had different ones help Mama out when she messes up with her chicks. For example, one hen went out of the gate and made a sharp turn back along the fence. All her chicks did not make it out of the gate but some tried to follow her along the inside of the fence. Mama had no concept of gate. She stood there squawking at ther chicks to come to her. They were on the other side of the fence chirping at her all in confusion. The rooster went over and squatted down by the chicks, looking after them while Mama figured it out. The third time I saw this happen with the same hen, that rooster seemed to give a big sigh as he squatted down, as if saying "Not again". That specific broody was not real bright.

    Roosters and young chicks do not concern me at all. And most broody hens have such a bad atttitude and are so protective of their chicks that the other hens don't worry me either.

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