Introducing baby chicks to broody hen first time??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Nuklear, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. Nuklear

    Nuklear Chillin' With My Peeps

    56
    2
    74
    Sep 28, 2012
    Southern California
    I've had a broody hen for a while now and I've been wanting to add more to my flock since I lost half of them last month due to some neighbor's loose dogs, so I thought to try out with some chicks this time.
    I just recently got 5 babies, a couple a little older than the others, maybe about 1 week old? The rest are about 2 days old. I plan to give them to her tonight but I have some questions.

    Do I just leave the chicks under her for the rest of the night? Do they need any lighting or food during this time or can they all wait until the morning? How do I truly know if she has accepted them overnight? I don't want to go into the coop in the morning to find them injured or dead.
    I plan to keep the hen and the babies inside the coop until they get a little older to go outside, will mum stay and sleep on the floor with them? Or will she go back into the nest box thinking they'll follow her in? (their nests would be too high for the lil chicks to get in)

    I'm just a little nervous about this all since it's my very first time introducing very young chicks to a broody hen, I don't want to lose any of them... I'd really appreciate if anyone can answer my questions and give any suggestions or advice!
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

    11,561
    5,155
    501
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop
    Sliding the babies under her at night is your best bet. If she's still sitting on them in the morning, she has accepted them. You're likely going to be fine with the 2 day olds as long as the hen accepts them, but the week olds may be too old to imprint on the hen at this point, so even if she will take them, they may not take to her, so that might be an issue.

    Since they are older, make sure you also put food and water in easy reach of the chicks. The hen will think they just hatched, so she is likely to remain sitting with them for a day instead of taking them to food or water as she would do with newly hatched babies. But these ones are older and will need to be able to eat and drink during that time.
     
  3. Nuklear

    Nuklear Chillin' With My Peeps

    56
    2
    74
    Sep 28, 2012
    Southern California
    Ohh I see, I got all these chicks at the store in which they get from hatcheries so I'm not sure if they're imprinted. I'll have all their water and food bowls on the floor for them, but so they DO need to be eating/drinking for the rest of the night? I doubt I'll be able to fit food and water bowls in the nesting spot, it won't be easy for them to get in or out of it, I'm not quite sure what to do here... they'll need light in their coop to find the feed, I have the red heating lamp.
    Thank you for your reply though!
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

    11,561
    5,155
    501
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop
    They'd be fine without food or water overnight, the trouble will be if the broody decides to sit on the nest with them for another entire day, like she would do after hatching her own chicks. She does that to let the chicks gain strength and to give any late hatchers time to finish up, but with mail order or feed store chicks, they don't have their yolk to rely on any longer, so they need to be able to get to feed and water to eat and drink if the hen isn't taking them to it.
     
    CTKen likes this.
  5. Nuklear

    Nuklear Chillin' With My Peeps

    56
    2
    74
    Sep 28, 2012
    Southern California
    Good news; she accepted the chicks, I was afraid she wouldn't because of how much she was pecking at me when trying to remove the golf balls, I thought she was gonna attack the chick thinking it was something else. I had to shine some light on them so she could see that it was a chick then she started to be more gentle.

    I also put the cardboard brooder box on its side inside the coop and transfer them all to it, it's on the floor so now the chicks can come out to eat n drink in the morning.

    Bad news is I think one of the 2 day old chicks has an impacted crop. I noticed her crop was a lil full when I picked her out at the store, I didn't think too much about it because I thought "oh she has a full crop that's good it means she's eating", but now it's become worrisome for me.

    She still ate n drank normally like the other chicks but I held her for a while to keep her away from the food and see if she was pooping; there was poops but they were kinda small I think, they seemed "airy" as it was foamy more than solid. I started to massage the crop to see if anymore food could pass through and only let her drink water. At first the crop was firm, not rock hard but also not really squishy either, unless I kneaded it a bit more.
    There was no signs of distress when I massaged, in fact it kinda seemed like she enjoyed it and would fall asleep or droop her head down, then would go back to being awake after I stopped.

    At the store the chicks were on pine shavings and I used that for the brooder box as well until the chicks kept making a mess and pecked at the food mixed with the pines.
    I'm really hoping the crop empties overnight, I gave her another massage not too long ago.
    She's a lil Black Jersey Giant, if she makes it by tomorrow morning should I offer olive oil?
    I used to have a hen who got an impacted crop, I had to lock her in the coop for days without feed and would mix her water with oil or ACV, did a lot of massaging too. When I felt her crop slowly getting smaller I'd then offer a small portion of regular feed mixed with water or oil so it was like a oatmeal consistency almost.
    Eventually she got all cleared up and was good, I forgot how long it took but I'm not sure how much a lil chick could handle all of this.
    My coop's bedding is sand so I hope the babies don't eat that either if they make a mess with their food.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by