Introducing other chicks to a broody hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kmilgate, May 5, 2011.

  1. kmilgate

    kmilgate New Egg

    May 5, 2011
    Just wondering as I have never been able to make this work but I thought maybe someone else has? I have purchased 6 chicks who will do just fine on their own but it is nice when they have a mother, don't you think? [​IMG] Anyway, I have several broody hens whose eggs did not hatch and I thought that maybe if I introduced them to the chicks, their mother instincts would kick in and everyone would be happy! The hens seemed uninterested in the chicks (who would accept the hen I feel) and only interested in their food. I took them back out and now they are back in their nesting boxes again. Anyone have any tips or success with this?
  2. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    How old are these chicks? Some people slip chicks (just a few days old) under the broody hen at night. It also makes a difference how long the hen has been broody. If it's only been a few days, I'm not sure that would work.

    Also know that there is a risk that the hen may reject the chicks. You'll want to be around to check on them and rescue if necessary.
  3. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    I've done it successfully at least a half-dozen times now--no failures. A lot depends on the hen though--I have a few black australorps that are MORE than willing to mother anything they can get to. The brahma broody that I had accepted only a few chicks--and only black ones. The black australorps took everything--one reared 25 hatchery chicks in one brood!

    One important consideration is that the hen must have been on the eggs long enough to have had a natural hatch (about 21 days), otherwise her instincts won't go from brooding eggs to mothering chicks.
  4. kmilgate

    kmilgate New Egg

    May 5, 2011
    The chicks were 4 days old and the hen had been broody for over 21 days. She had set on some eggs but at some point had been off of them too long as the three unhatched chicks did not survive. Since I bought the chicks, I didn't feel they would take kindly to being put under a chicken, especially since they had never seen a full grown chicken! They are doing fine on their own but I always love to see a hen and her babies [​IMG] I think the chicks do much better as well! Thank you for the advice. My hens are Orpingtons in case you are wondering.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Well, let your chicks get a wee bit cold, and peeping hard, and slip in there in the dark. Place the chick on the top of the hens back. No need to shift the hen. They will instinctively dive underneath that hen, where all that wonderful warmth is, close the door and go to bed and do not peak at them again!

    Many times people with the best intentions keep upsetting the new mama to be, and she might make some mistakes at first, but if you leave them alone, they often will work it out. However, there is the risk that it won't work, and you may loose a chick. I realize that, but I have often found if you leave them alone, it goes better.

    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Currently I have a silkie and a salmon faverolles with store bought chicks.

    The silkie had one chick from her own hatch that was 5 days old when I introduced new ones, baby polish. The polish were about three days old.

    The salmon faverolles had a completely failed hatch. She had been sitting for exactly 21 days when I introduced her store bought chicks; five jersey giant chicks, also about 3 days old. She still had one egg left from her own clutch. I let her keep it until she was ready to abandon it, which she did this morning.

    The silkie is currently outside with her store chicks - now 5 days old and their "big sister" 7 days old.

    The SF is walking her chicks around the coop quite a bit, but isn't ready to bring them outside just yet.

    I had absolutely no problems introducing them to their adoptive mama's.
  7. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Oh this thread is reassuring. I have to go buy some chicks tomorrow that were hatched 5/3, and my Buffy's brood started hatching 5/5. She had more hatch today. Tomorrow I'm going to pick up the new chicks and put them under her tomorrow night. I'm hoping that'll work because the chicks she hatched are someone else's and will be going away. I want some of my own to stay so my broody hen can be a mama hen.
  8. vnploveschickens

    vnploveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is a really good thread. Thank you.

    I have 3 buff orps that were doing the puffy, squawky broody thing. So I got 14 orpington eggs.
    Only 1 orp really went broody...Luna. She in fact sat on a wooden egg for three days before the beautiful eggs arrived.
    Such a trooper!! [​IMG]

    After letting them settle for a few hours, I put 6 of those eggs under Luna. She's been terrific since.

    The other 8 eggs went into an incubator that I've not used before. So far, so good (thanks to all the hints, tips, sticky threads here on BYC)!

    Whatever eggs hatch from Luna or Bator should happen about the same time. So now I'll know how to add any Bator chicks to Luna.
    She's a great Mommy Hen. Had a couple of hatches last year, and she was AWESOME!

    I was hoping Loko and/or Lulu would also nest, but we're on Day 9 almost. Do you think they've missed out?
    When is the last day I would be able to move eggs from Bator to Loko or Lulu?
  9. Farmer_Dan

    Farmer_Dan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Had a broody cochin bantam raise 25 meat birds. However, half of the chicks died in the mail and so she only got 10 at first. She took those 10 (plus the 2 that she had co-incidentally hatched the day before). Then, a week later, the hatchery sent us 15 more due to the lost ones and she took those as well. It was hilarious to see her once they started getting bigger.

    She did have a little help though, a sumatra girl was broody at the same time so they shared a little.

    BTW, we added all the chicks at night while the birds were all asleep.
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  10. kmilgate

    kmilgate New Egg

    May 5, 2011
    Thank you all so much [​IMG]

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