Interested in using a broody hen to hatch some eggs - totally new at this, lots of questions.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by maddogdodge, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These questions have probably been asked a million times on here, but I hope someone on here can bare with me and help me out [​IMG]

    I recently got into chickens so that i could sell eggs to the community, I have various breeds (Production layer X breeds, welsummers, a roo who looks like a Delaware X, an Australorp roo who was meant to be a pullet and an Araucana Roo who was also meant to be a pullet. I also have 3 Light sussex hens coming soon)
    I have 6 hens at the moment, another 18 coming soon (I live on a farm so have loads of space) and I am keeping 3 of the 6 roosters I have, some because I have become a bit attached, and one of the boys because I thought I could use him for breeding.

    I found raising chicks from day old to be quite frustrating during winter, so i'm not really keen on doing it in winter, but I am keen on the idea of having a broody hen raise some chicks during summer. I'm in Australia (the bottom half) so it averages between 30-40 degrees Celsius in the middle of summer. Is that a good temperature for a broody hen to raise chicks? Or would a cooler season like spring or autumn be better? Spring starts next week, so it is finally starting to warm up a bit now.

    I like the idea of buying a Silkie or two to have as my broody's. Would they do okay living amongst my flock of larger birds? How would i go about introductions? And are silkies okay with raising larger breeds breeds like Welsummers or Australorps?

    Do you have trouble keeping your broody hen, broody when you try to separate her from the rest of the flock? At what point do you move her? As soon as you put the eggs under her, or near the time when the chicks are ready to hatch?

    Is it better to remove the hen and chicks completely away from the flock, or better to just have wire separating the two groups so they can see each other but not get to each other. If you remove the broody hen completely, do you then have trouble putting her back with the rest of the flock after she's finished raising the chicks?

    I think thats all my questions for now... no doubt i'll come up with more later on. But I want to know as much information as i can before i start doing this. Thanks to anyone who has bothered to read my long post, and any info you can give me would be really really appreciated [​IMG]
     
  2. 16 paws

    16 paws Chillin' With My Peeps

     
  3. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for your response Marie [​IMG] I really appreciate it!

    Sounds like its all fairly straight forward, I can't wait to give it a go once i've got my silkies. I can very easily set up a chicken wire barrier if needed, do you think that would need wire on the top too, to stop chickens jumping in or out? Or do you find they're not really interested?
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I will give you a different point of view. Mind you, these are just my opinions and experiences. You need to do what you think is best for your flock.

    1. I have no experience with silkies so I won't even pretend to be able to answer that question.

    2. I've had it go either way when I've moved a broody. If I do decide to move one, I usually do it earlier during the incubation period. I've had them continue to sit, I had one totally flip out, I've had one very persistent hen who would not set unless I left her in the her chosen nest. I don't know that there is any way to "make them" stay broody if they don't like where you put them.

    3. This is something that I've learned within the past couple of years. It works to put a broody back in with the flock (assuming you separated her in the first place) when the chicks are young. She's very protective of them and if you have a good rooster, he will also come between the broody and any aggressive hens. An early integration benefited my first batch of chicks this summer. When they were about a month old, the hen was killed, but the chicks were already part of the flock so I didn't have to worry about trying to blend them into the flock without their mother's protection. I used to always keep them separated because I was afraid the roosters would kill the chicks. Nope, they protect them.

    One other thing - you don't get to choose when your hens go broody. They will do it on their own time. It's fine for them to hatch out chicks in cooler weather - they will keep the babies warm with their body heat. And if it's warmer out, that's fine, too. If it's too hot, the hen will kind of lift herself off the babies so they don't get too hot.

    It really is fun raising chicks with a broody and watching them interact with one another.
     
  5. maddogdodge

    maddogdodge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Australia
    Thanks for your response [​IMG]

    Interesting that your roosters actually protected your chicks, I was concerned that if i left the chicks and broody with the flock the others, in particular the roosters might attack the chicks. I've heard mixed opinions about leaving them with the flock. If I could, I would love to leave them together while the chicks grow up, but I guess i'll just have to test that in time. If i could leave the broody with the flock then i wouldn't have to worry about which nest she choses as her nest.

    I am aware that hens will only become broody when they want to. My family have had chooks for years, but i've never really gotten into it much until recently. My dad's chooks used to go broody sometimes and he'd always complain about it cause they stopped laying for him, lol [​IMG]
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Here is how I've done it the past couple of years when I've had broodies. If I can, I'll separate the hen and eggs because when I've left them in the general population in the past, eggs have disappeared or gotten broken in the nest. When a hen insists on staying on the nest in the GP, I will mark her eggs so I can remove any extras that get added during the day. After the chicks of a segregated hen hatch, I give them a week or two before I mix them with the flock. This is mainly because I free range and have a mama barn cat that likes to roam around with the chickens. I just want them to be a little stronger and faster before I let them out.
     

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