Is it Ok to hold a broody hens chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Thataussielady, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Thataussielady

    Thataussielady Out Of The Brooder

    74
    1
    41
    Jan 27, 2014
    Queensland, Australia
    Recently, out broody hen hatched some adorabled little baby chicks. Since this is the first time she raised chicks we have had to intervene as we noticed they weren't eating or drinking. This probably sounds a bit stupid but is it Ok to hold her chicks as I don't want to cause them too much stress!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,655
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It depends on the broody. Some are OK with it but most will take exception to anything messin with the kids.

    What do you mean, they weren't eating or drinking, and what did you do?
     
  3. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    833
    61
    138
    Aug 24, 2013
    Auburndale, Wi
    My broodies don't let me hold the chicks, they turn into attack hens when there are chicks in the picture. I hope ur chicks are eating and drinking. Pictures please.
     
  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    576
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    I had a panic about my first time mum too and thought I'd have to dip the beak in the water like they do for incubated chicks but she worked it out after a few hours and was teaching bubs where the food and water was beautifully.

    Don't forget the chicks are fine without both for three days so she has time to get herself in mum rather than egg sitting mode :). Ours took a few hours to switch egg mode off and would panic and sit on it every time it tried to get out from under her lol. In the time it took me to type the what do I do? post she was chirping at it and dropping it bits of feed.

    I have held our little chick because it has to get locked up at night and wouldn't go in itself first couple of nights so I would place him in the nest then lift mum and put her next to him. (Making sure to wash hands first)

    It is now 5 days old and we are putting our hand flat on the ground with some scratch mix and mum eats the mix and chirps at it and it sits in our hand and throws the scratch mix as it's a bit too big :). Thought it was good for it to learn from mum that we aren't scary though and that our hand is a safe thing. We may have been exceedingly lucky with the temperament of our broody though ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  5. Thataussielady

    Thataussielady Out Of The Brooder

    74
    1
    41
    Jan 27, 2014
    Queensland, Australia

    Usually some of my other hens will try show them where the food was and encourage them to drink. But all she did was just sit it the box with them under her, so I dipped their beaks in the water and rubbed a bit of food on their beak, which got them going.
     
  6. chicknshrimp

    chicknshrimp Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    9
    61
    Jun 29, 2014
    Mine have been ok with it as long as we keep babies within sight. Mom may get upset if you make the babies squawk and she can't see them. No babies really like to be held but they've all tolerated it.

    Make sure they're getting to food and water. Even a new momma should be feeding and watering them... if she isn't doing that then her instincts may not be the best and she may not protect and warm them properly. Watch them closely but you may have to take them if she isn't doing those things.

    Good luck with your sweet babies!
     
  7. Aphrael

    Aphrael Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,363
    83
    148
    Jan 21, 2013
    Texas
    You'll probably get as many differing opinions on this as there are chicken owners in the world. [​IMG] Everyone has their own way of doing things. I myself will not tolerate aggression toward me from any of my animals for any reason. I handle my broodies and their chicks all the time. None have ever had any adverse effects. I've had two broodies who got vicious with me and refused to learn better. They do not get to be broody anymore - problem solved. I have too many good, sweet broodies to tolerate ones that will leave scars on my hands when I try to do anything around them.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,141
    3,353
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Boy do we have different opinions on this. I personally find the less I interfere with Mama and her kids the less damage I do.

    They don’t need to eat or drink for three days or more so if Mama is not immediately feeding or watering them it is not cause to panic. That’s the way nature designed them so Mama can stay on the nest and hatch the late eggs. That’s why they can be shipped in the mail so successfully.

    When I do have to pick up a chick, practically any broody goes into attack mode, wings spread, feathers fluffed, and all that. Seldom do they actually attack. I kind of like a hen being protective of her chicks but I don’t try to handle my chickens a lot either, just when I have a need.

    Can you pick up a chick? If you want to, go ahead. If the broody attacks, just don’t panic and do something that will hurt the chick. Stay calm and things will work out.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    105
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Agreed with Ridgerunner here. I only intervene if the chicks actually look like they're failing in health. ( very little movement, mostly stand around looking puffier than normal, weak cheeping, etc )
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,532
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    x2. But then, I'm a more hand's off chicken keeper, I rarely handle my birds period.

    I've never allowed any other animal mother to prevent me from messing with their baby--dogs, cats, horses, etc. But, when they're quite small, I only do what I need to, and let momma raise them. Momma's allowed to let me know she's unhappy, but not allowed to prevent me from accessing babies.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by