Introducing chicks to a hen with chicks


In the Brooder
May 27, 2017
Eastern CAN
I have a few questions about what I can do here. * I looked all over the internet and forums, and I can only find info on putting chicks under a broody with eggs, not one already with a chick :s

Back story; I had my first ever broody hen about three weeks ago. I made a few mistakes and ended up with only one chick out of a clutch of 12. First, I was scared she'd abandon the eggs so I left her in the nest box, and apparently that was the flocks FAVORITE nest box, and they all started laying eggs under her. I walked in the coop one day to find another hen in the nest box with her laying an egg. So I said screw it, went in at night and candled some eggs to be moved into her brooder box with her. I discarded all the non developing and fresh eggs and estimated the ages of a group and put them in the box with her. Fast forward to hatching time, I walk into the coop and see her eating with one healthy chick. She abandoned the rest of the eggs. I waited until she was truly ready to give them up and hauled out the nest box.

There were three different dead chicks in the nest box, all at different developmental stages. One was a full chick, one seemed tiny and bald, and one was almost still an embryo. Don't really know what happened there. There was also a chick that was half hatched, and to my surprise it was still alive. I helped it out of the shell and it was very weak and didn't survive past half hour with me in the house, despite my efforts to warm it and bring it back. So we have one chick, whom I call -affectionately- Peeper.

I have four day old speckled sussex chicks ordered, their pick up date is June 22nd. Unfortunately due to predators, the hen and chick will stay in the brooder until Peeper is four weeks old, and big enough to peck off cats. It occurred to me that my life would be a lot easier if I could somehow get those four chicks under her and get her to accept them. Peeper would be four weeks old and ready to go out with the flock.

I also have ducklings coming the fourteenth, four of them, day olds. This would put Peeper at exactly three weeks old. Could she accept ducklings? Would it be too late to introduce chicks when Peeper is ready to leave the nest box?

Thanks for all the info!
I say you have your hands full. I have successfully added chicks under a hen at night as she kept the others warm, she took to them right away. I have no idea what she will do to the ducks. You may have to brood them as different groups. hope you have space and equipment ready when you get them. If you aren't prepared for the rejection and don't have them in a ready holding environment, you are likely to have a huge disappointment coming. It's like buying a car and don't have insurance, it's risky and left up to chance. Hope you don't wind up in a wreck.
Oh I'm totally prepared to raise both the ducklings and the chicks in the house, but I just thought it'd make life easier to have her raise some. In total it's only eight birds altogether so it's not that bad if I have to raise them in a box.
You can partition a larger box or use 2 seperate ones and one heat lamp over the joining center wall of each box. You will be fine then since you have thought ahead.
I just hatched out 64 of 74 bob whites, now on day 4 with them. That is a way higher hatch rate than I had ever hoped for. I have them in 2 large brooders I made. These guys are fast and will be able to fly in a short time, I have mesh on the tops and large doors to control how much is open for doing feed and water. They have a built in homing device for escape paths as you do your chores daily. Been there and done that at 1 am last year. What a funniest video that would have made. This old man trying to get a 2 week old bob baby.
I don't think she'll adopt them after that much time. I know they can't count, but if she's only had one for that long, she's going to notice more being added and she may injure or kill them. I don't' think I'd try it.

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