Ideas or tricks

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by bevis, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    does anyone have any ideas or tricks / instructions to sitting day old chicks under a broody mom ?
    I have a buff hen that's sitting on 2 eggs that i feel will never hatch but she won't give up.
    This is day 25 and i found 4 - day old cream legbar pullets that will be here
    either tomorrow or Wednesday morning.

    I'm unsure on how to go about introducing them
    to her. Maybe take one of her eggs and rub it on the chicks and sneak them under her
    1 at a time to see if she accepts them ? I just don't want to endanger the cream legbars
    because of their rarity and cost and especially because i don't want them to get hurt.

    i have the option to just kick mom out and dispose of the 2 eggs that are left and raise the legbars
    in the house under a sweeter heater but i would much rather that they be raised by mom. but not at
    the cost of them getting hurt.

    Any ideas / advise or tricks would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  2. kuchchicks

    kuchchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Following...I have the same issue right now. Chicks hatching right now and want to put under my 2 broodies.
     
  3. kuchchicks

    kuchchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I did it...and I am really nervous now. So my chicks in my bator started to hatch. I ended up putting one of the chicks under the broody. She was not thrilled when I was removing her eggs (they were not fertile), but then I quickly placed the chick under her and closed up her box. I was able to peek in and watch. At first she slightly pecked the chick one time and then pulled the chick under her again. She is now laying on top of the chick just like she was her eggs. She is acting protective again just like she was with the eggs. BUT I am still nervous. I don't want to lose this chick. I have her blocked off so the rest of the flock cannot get to her or the chick. I just hope she continues to keep the baby warm and does not kill it.

    Any other suggestions? Did I do this right?!! HELP!!! How do I know if she is going to reject it? It is going down to the 50s tonight. I know she kept her eggs warm, just want to be sure that she keeps this little chick warm too. Should I go take it back from her and put it in the brooder?!!

    Can you tell I am really nervous?!!!![​IMG]
     
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're working with a proven broody (i.e., a broody that has hatched and raised chicks), it's very likely she'll accept the foster chicks. If she's not a proven broody, there's potentially more risk. It really depends on the hen.

    The generally recommended method is as follows:

    Make sure the hen has been broody for close to 3 weeks. Obtain newly-hatched chicks (less than 24 hours old is ideal). After the chicks hatch (or arrive from a hatchery), keep them quiet and at an appropriate temperature. I keep the chicks in a small box with ventilation holes, in a dark, quiet place with no food or water.

    After dark, VERY quietly and slowly place a chick under the broody hen. Do not use any more light that is absolutely necessary. I usually have someone assist by bringing a flashlight and holding their hand over most of it so there's only a very small amount of light coming through. My broody hens never cooperate by sleeping through the introduction. They always seem to wake up no matter how quiet I am and how dark it is!

    If the hen settles back down and all is quiet after you put the first chick under her, put another couple of chicks under her in an hour, while at the same time removing the eggs. If she's accepting them, you shouldn't see or hear the jerky movements and sounds of the hen trying to peck at the chicks, although you might hear her hiss when you put the chicks under her. Be sure to check on hen and chicks first thing in the morning. If all goes well, she'll be brooding the chicks in the morning.

    Note than some hens are overly aggressive and overly fixated on setting. I had a buff orpington that was this way. She pecked my hand hard (and multiple times) when I tried to reach under her to place the chicks there. She never settled when I put them under her. Instead, I could hear her peck at the chicks every time they moved, and I could hear periodic distress peeps from the chicks when she pecked them. I left them under her hoping she'd accept them if they were quiet and stayed under her overnight. In hindsight, that was a mistake (this was my first attempt at trying to foster chicks to a broody hen). By morning, she had badly injured 2 chicks, and the other 3 were huddled on the far side of the coop. She was totally fixated on defending her eggs and nest, and she never transitioned from setting to hatching/brooding. She treated the chicks as intruders and a threat to her nest. I'm not saying this to discourage you, but to make you aware of some of the warning signs to look for in case things do not go as planned.

    When a broody hen does accept chicks, it's an absolute delight to watch her with them. It's so much less work than brooding them yourself, as she does all of the work. A reliable broody holds an honored place in my flock!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  5. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm the original poster so i can surely not give you sound advise.
    do you hear the chick making any noise or see the chick ?
    is mom attacking the chick or just sitting on the nest as normal ?
    if you put your hand in there does mom attack your hand ?
    if she attacks you then thats a good sign. it means she's protecting the chick
    as she would her eggs.

    Please keep this thread updated as to how its going...
    I need the advise and your experience with this trial also.
     
  6. kuchchicks

    kuchchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So on occasion I can her the chick chirp. I can no longer see the chick at all. But I was able to reach under mom and feel the chick... felt warm. Mom is acting the same way as she did with her eggs. She has never pecked me, even when I was checking/candling her eggs. But she did/does make a lot of noise when I am in her space. She only pecked the chick the one time that I saw. Then she repositioned herself and is now laying on top of the chick which is why I can no longer see it.

    Ugh, I am so nervous... part of me is wanting to run out there and take the chick from her and put it under my brooder. The other part is telling me to just leave it and let nature do it's thing. I will feel horrible if the chick dies but if I don't do this then I will feel bad that she has been broody all this time and obviously wants a baby and I denied it. (Yes I am sure that I am over thinking this on both sides.... I think of my chickens as more than just animals. I really do love them and want the best for them... I know I am a nut!)
     
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's a good sign that the chick is chirping, and the hen is not pecking at it in response. You may want to evesdrop on hen and chick in a half hour to make sure things are going well.

    It's also a good sign that mom didn't have the habit of pecking at you when you reached under her to check eggs. It seems that hens that are too defensive may end up attacking foster chicks. Hens will gently peck or push their chicks underneath them for protection. That's OK, but try not to distress her to the point that she does this frantically, as she may end up harming the chick(s) in her rush to protect them. Move very slowly and calmly around the hen until she gets used to you being around her and the chicks.

    If you have any other chicks you can place under her tonight, I'd do so, assuming she continues to react well to the first chick.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  8. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kuchchick! Sound like your hen will be okay with the chick. Whenever I use the incubator to hatch, I introduce the chicks to the broodie hen at night, I pull the fake eggs out and replace them with the chicks or if she is hatching eggs, I add more chicks at night so she can raise them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  9. bevis

    bevis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sounds like things are going well so far.
    I'm going to go through the same exact stress tomorrow.
    im not looking forward to it. we treat our chickens like pets
    not animals. spoiled rotten. please keep this thread updated with
    your progress and reactions.
    thanks
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. kuchchicks

    kuchchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just checked on them. Both were quiet. I was able to lift moms bum and could see the chick all fluffed and warm. When I pulled my hand back out mom settled back down on the baby. I feel a little better but am sure I will be back out at the crack of dawn!
     

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