I think I messed up! Advice needed!

WhiteWaterChickens

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
33
10
23
So I need to start with the fact I know I messed with nature, I know I should have left well enough alone and I know I have to deal with the consequences.

I have a broody, she’s been sitting on 7 eggs, and all from my least desirable hens. Only 2 of 7 eggs hatched (or so I thought) I’ve been trying to establish my flock and she’s a proven broody (hatched a batch in March for me) so when only 2 of these eggs hatched. One on Tuesday, one on Thursday (hatch “date” was wed) I went and got 4 day olds, if I’m going through the exercise of a broody separated from the rest of the flock(my coop is too small and I have 2 vicious hens I don’t trust to not eat the chicks)
So I slipped the 4 under my broody last night, they were under her in the dark for 12 hours, I turn on the light, she does her clucking to come eat, they slowly emerge and wow another of her own hatched overnight great! She looks at one, two, three, back to two, checks her newest hatched, four, goes back to three and starts attacking it, then attacks another that’s just emerged, she’s attacking any of the 4 that is not her own 3 (which of course all have the cream legbar striping!
last hatch she had black and yellow chicks.
so my question is what do I do, I can pull the 4 and raise them myself but I REALLY don’t want to. I’m not set up to have the main coop, a smaller set up for a broody and 3 chicks and then 4solo chicks.
we’ve raised cattle for 20 years, we can usually trick a momma cow to accept a different calf by scent (rubbing scent from dead calf on to new calf) What can I do to trick broody momma. It doesn’t seem to be scent, it seems to be visual? Of course my luck would be that her “own” 3 look similar and the 4 I got don’t have stripes. Should take them all from her for a few hours(under a heat lamp) and maybe she’ll just accept them all! Should I dye all the tops of their heads with food colouring so they look a like? Should I draw black stripes on the new ones? i know I should have just left her with her 2 now 3 chicks but to help my flock grow and not have all hatched from my smallest most picked on hens, I wanted this “adventure” to provide me with new blood and diversity.

if she won’t accept the 4 I’ll likely end up having to kick her back out with the main coop in a week and raise the 7 chicks together but I’d feel awful after her sitting for 3 weeks and wanting her own brood. Why won’t she just love 7
adding I moved broody and her eggs a week before hatch, so it’s not the stress of a move causing this.
Help! Thank you
 
Last edited:

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
6,884
3,610
386
Tennessee
Getting a hen to accept chicks she has rejected isn't easy or possible with some hens. One method that has worked for me is to keep hen and chicks in a very dim environment for a few day. Using colored lights might work. Even drawing stripes has a chance at working; draw over the stripes of the three so that the stripes all look the same. Chick behavior is also a clue to the hen. Did the chicks accept her as mom? If the chicks show fear then the hen knows they are not hers. In which case you'll have to raise the chicks without the hen.
 

WhiteWaterChickens

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
33
10
23
Getting a hen to accept chicks she has rejected isn't easy or possible with some hens. One method that has worked for me is to keep hen and chicks in a very dim environment for a few day. Using colored lights might work. Even drawing stripes has a chance at working; draw over the stripes of the three so that the stripes all look the same. Chick behavior is also a clue to the hen. Did the chicks accept her as mom? If the chicks show fear then the hen knows they are not hers. In which case you'll have to raise the chicks without the hen.
Thank you SO much for replying, time is slipping and I’m concerned for the orphans. They weren’t scared of her but are definitely getting to that point now 😔 I just didn’t know if they recognize chicks by scent or visual. Thank you!
 

WhiteWaterChickens

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
33
10
23
I wondered
Getting a hen to accept chicks she has rejected isn't easy or possible with some hens. One method that has worked for me is to keep hen and chicks in a very dim environment for a few day. Using colored lights might work. Even drawing stripes has a chance at working; draw over the stripes of the three so that the stripes all look the same. Chick behavior is also a clue to the hen. Did the chicks accept her as mom? If the chicks show fear then the hen knows they are not hers. In which case you'll have to raise the chicks without the hen.
I wondered if I needed to put some essential oils on each chick so they smelled a like or if it was all a visual thing, seems more visual with chickens. Thank you!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,726
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
So I need to start with the fact I know I messed with nature, I know I should have left well enough alone and I know I have to deal with the consequences.

I have a broody, she’s been sitting on 7 eggs, and all from my least desirable hens. Only 2 of 7 eggs hatched (or so I thought) I’ve been trying to establish my flock and she’s a proven broody (hatched a batch in March for me) so when only 2 of these eggs hatched. One on Tuesday, one on Thursday (hatch “date” was wed) I went and got 4 day olds, if I’m going through the exercise of a broody separated from the rest of the flock(my coop is too small and I have 2 vicious hens I don’t trust to not eat the chicks)
So I slipped the 4 under my broody last night, they were under her in the dark for 12 hours, I turn on the light, she does her clucking to come eat, they slowly emerge and wow another of her own hatched overnight great! She looks at one, two, three, back to two, checks her newest hatched, four, goes back to three and starts attacking it, then attacks another that’s just emerged, she’s attacking any of the 4 that is not her own 3 (which of course all have the cream legbar striping!
last hatch she had black and yellow chicks.
so my question is what do I do, I can pull the 4 and raise them myself but I REALLY don’t want to. I’m not set up to have the main coop, a smaller set up for a broody and 3 chicks and then 4solo chicks.
we’ve raised cattle for 20 years, we can usually trick a momma cow to accept a different calf by scent (rubbing scent from dead calf on to new calf) What can I do to trick broody momma. It doesn’t seem to be scent, it seems to be visual? Of course my luck would be that her “own” 3 look similar and the 4 I got don’t have stripes. Should take them all from her for a few hours(under a heat lamp) and maybe she’ll just accept them all! Should I dye all the tops of their heads with food colouring so they look a like? Should I draw black stripes on the new ones? i know I should have just left her with her 2 now 3 chicks but to help my flock grow and not have all hatched from my smallest most picked on hens, I wanted this “adventure” to provide me with new blood and diversity.

if she won’t accept the 4 I’ll likely end up having to kick her back out with the main coop in a week and raise the 7 chicks together but I’d feel awful after her sitting for 3 weeks and wanting her own brood. Why won’t she just love 7
adding I moved broody and her eggs a week before hatch, so it’s not the stress of a move causing this.
Help! Thank you
Keep those rejected chicks very close to her during the day, then put them back under her tonight immediately after lights go off. Hen still open to imprinting on additional chicks. Problem is with the older chicks that are a little past the optimal age. It therefore takes more time to get hen to adopt the older chicks as imprinting is a two way process.
 

WhiteWaterChickens

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
33
10
23
Keep those rejected chicks very close to her during the day, then put them back under her tonight immediately after lights go off. Hen still open to imprinting on additional chicks. Problem is with the older chicks that are a little past the optimal age. It therefore takes more time to get hen to adopt the older chicks as imprinting is a two way process.
Oh keeping them in ear shot is a good idea, she gets very concerned if I play a video of a chick upset. She should be open to imprinted as she just had a chick hatch today and is still sitting on her remaining 4 eggs, the chicks I got were true day olds, 3 days younger then her oldest chick....
I’m worried they are fearful of her now due to all the pecking she’s done of them
A hen sitting on 7, 2 hatch, introducing 4 day olds at night with 12 hours until daylight, and then another hatching, And her still sitting. I really thought this would work 😔
Thank you for your reply, thank you for your advice
 

WhiteWaterChickens

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
33
10
23
Imprinting appears entirely based on sound, although vision comes into play once hen decides to reject and act upon that rejection.
I’m worried that’s where I’m at, she knows there’s an “intruder” and she visually checks out every chick until she starts nipping at them.
I used crayola markers and food colouring to alter the appearance of all chicks, not just her “own” so I will also try the coloured light strategy too,
Thank you so much for your reply, I appreciate having advice to try
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,726
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
I did not imply you should take a negative view on what is going on.

Get organized in how you relate your situation. I have to put too much effort in following what you mean.

First define number of chicken more clearly and succinctly.

X number at A days post-hatch (hatched by hen or from another source)
Y number at B days post-hatch (hatched by hen or from another source)
Z number at C days post-hatch (hatched by hen or from another source)

What you are indicating in terms of hen's action against introduced chicks is not beyond what to expect and does not mean all is lost.
 

WhiteWaterChickens

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
33
10
23
I did not imply you should take a negative view on what is going on.

Get organized in how you relate your situation. I have to put too much effort in following what you mean.

First define number of chicken more clearly and succinctly.

X number at A days post-hatch (hatched by hen or from another source)
Y number at B days post-hatch (hatched by hen or from another source)
Z number at C days post-hatch (hatched by hen or from another source)

What you are indicating in terms of hen's action against introduced chicks is not beyond what to expect and does not mean all is lost.
I’m sorry I’ve been replying in a rushed way and then zooming off to chase a child or deal with a chicken lol
I’m not taking my time for a proper rely.
It was chick 1 hatched 4 days ago
Chick 2 hatched 3 days ago
Chicks 3/4/5/6 hatched 3 days ago in an incub
Chick 7 hatched 1 day ago

and she’s still sitting on 3 eggs.

I have stripes drawn on all the non striped and coloured food dye on all and some marker on all so they smell the same and a green bulb on them. If it doesn’t work I’ll just accept I shouldn’t of messed with nature.
I’ve raised cattle for 20 years and I know not to let momma do her thing but I didn’t listen to my inner voice. Thank you
 

MANNA-PRO

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