Is it possible to swap a hen's chicks?

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In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 22, 2012
I think I know the answer to this is no, but......

I have a barred rock hen in her own pen with 6 chicks that she hatched. The pen is chain link so the chicks leave and wander all over the place during the day, but she still watches out for them and they come running when she calls. These chicks are a month old. I have a batch of barred rocks in the incubator that are pipping right now. I would love to steal the hens big chicks under the cover of night and give her a big batch of freshly hatched babies to raise. Is there any chance at all of this working?
Honestly your chances are very thin. The mother will right away recognize them as waif chicks. First separate the mother bird and her 1 mo chicks. Next integrate the 1 mo and the new batch. See if the 1 mo would be good to the lil' ones. Apply Vicks Vapor rub over the mother bird's beak and head copiously. Also apply Vicks to the little birds and the 1 mo chicks scantily, on their wings or legs. Try introducing the integrated chicks and the mother. She might not be able to tell the difference then? I am not entirely positive about it. You should watch the mother bird carefully!! She can be mean to the lil' chicks if she finds out that they are not hers. (The mother bird might differentiate the baby with their sound, so turn on the stereo to max??) None of these might work, and the chicken might use subaudible sounds to communicate like the Alligators, but you can try!! Have a good day!!

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