Is it ok to keep two broodies w/ eggs n' chicks in the same enclosure?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by 2overeasy, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    Although I haven't yet, I know it won't be too long that I start having hens go broody. Generally I separate the hen and her eggs in a separate small coop and pen. She has room to move around, not have her eggs disturbed by other hens, and raise the chicks for the first couple of weeks safely until I let them out to free range and live with the general population.
    However, what happens If I have 2 at once? Can they safely be together, sitting, hatching and raising without ugliness?
    May seem like a silly question - not exactly an emergency - so I may not get any responses. However, if possible, I humbly ask for expertise and advice.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I just went through this! I had two little bantams (a silkie and a frizzle cochin) go broody. They sat together in the same nest on the eggs. They would take turns getting up to eat and drink and poop. Everything was fine UNTIL the babies started hatching. The cochin took the first four babies as her own, and then she started to peck any other babies that hatched after that. They would all hide under the silkie, so I put the cochin hen back out with the flock, and I let the silkie mother all of the chicks. There were 13 chicks and she's an excellent mama.

    So I think they do need to be apart......Or at least they should have separate nests in your smaller coop.

  3. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    Yes, I would definitely put them in separate nests - there are 4 in my smaller coop. So the issue would probably after chicks hatch: Can they raise chicks together without one attacking the other's chicks (kind of like you described). So you think as long as they have separate nests they'd be ok?
  4. jimmythechicken

    jimmythechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2010
    We have 3+ broodys raising chicks togeather they do fine.ours even help each other sometimes keeping babbies warm
  5. AllenWMiller

    AllenWMiller Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2012
    Rural PA
    Brood cooping is an old practice whereby multiple brood hens were put together in a separate, confined dark enclosures.

    This practice was done in the 19th and very early 20th century by commercial poultry-men as a means of increasing hatch rates. The difference was that upon the chicks drying they would immediately be removed to separate brooders.

    I have always been against putting multiple brood hens together as hens generally tend to be extremely territorial and mono-protective of their broods. A brood hen instinctively knows which chicks belong to her and will protect them over all other chicks to maintain her genetic material. A brood hen that is set on unfamiliar eggs will generally select the first to hatch in the clutch as this too is a survival instinct - the strongest hatch first.

    A brood hen for the backyard enthusiast is the best guarantee to successful incubation as well as brood rearing. But multiple brood hens together can lead to "picking" as well as transmission of disease and parasites. For the backyard enthusiast who does try multiple brood hens together, I would recommend separation of the hens once the clutches are hatched and broods are selected.

    For the commercial hatcher we would use brood hens as a means to hatch out rare or certain difficult to hatch Aves.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  6. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    My sad experience says that it's not worth the risk if there are other options. I tried it once; it didn't work. So now I keep the hatching hens separate.

    Obviously a lot depends on the hens and the logistics. You just never know. No guarantees.
  7. cwalsh2

    cwalsh2 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2011
    Hermosa South Dakota
    My experience with games is that it will never work. You end up with a hen killing a chick followed bu a terrible hen fight. I have been told by someone raising Dominique bantams that they share broods just fine and the chicks often just get under whoever is closer. No fights. I am going to get me some.
  8. champer

    champer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    San Martin, CA

    Funny, I had the opposite experience with my games. They were fine sharing the babies and did an excellent job with no squabbling; just depends on the individual birds I guess.
  9. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I gave a friend some fertile eggs from my flock along with some store eggs from a flock that has roosters, for her Cochin/silkie mix to hatch. She had brooded, hatched and raised six of six eggs her only previous time. Then her BO also went broody and they began fighting over the eggs, meaning moving them from one nest to the other. As a result, my fertile eggs were broken and several left without a hen for long enough that none hatched. They were also in the regular next box, so as the other hens laid, they would try to incorporate the new eggs which is how, I think, some of the ones we were trying to hatch got 'left out in the cold'.

    So if it were me, I would separate them even when hatching, unless you have a big enough nest area for them both to share. In my friend's case, each nest area was separated by a several inch high board, and rather than share one spot, each hen tried to keep/take the eggs to 'her' nest spot.

    I didn't really care about the grocery store experiment, but I was bummed about my eggs because they were from my wonderful BB cockeral that I had to give up; I was hoping to have one of his descendents in my flock - a BB/EE mix.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do!
  10. Dirty Dozen

    Dirty Dozen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2009
    Long Island, New York
    I tried it. They wound up stealing each other's eggs & then one egg was eaten. Won't do it again!

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