Just curious - do alot of broodies do this?


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
I've mentioned this off-hand a couple of times, but I'm still real curious.

My salmon faverolles are broody machines. Been doing it since point-of-lay just about.

One of the SFs, "Ray" had chicks 8 1/2 weeks ago. She was a good mama but she kicked them loose early, around 4 weeks. It's warm enough and the three chicks have done fine. Three weeks ago, another SF "Doe" had a failed hatch. Since I know she's a real good mama (she already raised three), I went and bought her 5 chicks.

A couple days after Doe settled into her broody nest with her 5 adopted chicks, the three 8 1/2 week old chicks decided they wanted to be mothered again; so they moved into the broody crate too. Thank goodness it's a german shepherd sized crate so there's plenty of room for everybody.

Now Doe is mothering not only the 5 - three week old chicks, she's also raising her sisters 3 - 8 1/2 week old chicks. She takes care of them all during the day and makes a courageous attempt to cover all 8 at night.

Is it normal for a broody to just mother anything and everything that comes along?

Here's Doe with her assorted chicks:

Dunno, as I only have one mama and another that has a week left to sit on her clutch. But I would assume in strongly broody breeds it would be. I mean, silkies mother kittens, right?

That picture cracks me up, Gritty. She sounds like a good mama.
I've heard that silkies are pretty good about this, though I personally haven't gotten my Buff Orphington/mutts to take chicks they haven't hatched.
Both Doe and one of my silkies Jethro have store bought chicks right now. Jethro hatched out one, so I bought her three. She's a good mother, but nearly as attentive as Doe is to her chicks.

I have another silkie, Ellie Mae, that will be a year old on the 9th of June. She lays well for a silkie, but has yet to go broody.
I dread the day that Doe kicks this batch loose. She'll lay one egg and immediately go broody again, betcha!
My alpha hen, Mrs Grey,Dark Brahma,will take any chicks on. Her current brood were from 4 she hatched and 5 chicks I just placed in front of her. She will just raise herself up , spread her wings and that is all that is needed for adoption. She will also shelter other hen's chicks if their mum is not around.

Her daughter shows a very 'sharing' nature, too, She (Littlegrey) has a 'special relationship' with a Gold Brahma, Goldie Hen. Littlegrey is currently broody, but leaves her eggs for hours (broody on the dog's bed). They never get cold, though, as Goldie takes over when Littlegrey goes 'out to play'.

Here's Goldie, Littlegrey, and Bluey. Bluey is now starting to copy the behaviour.

I thought I just had weird birds, but it sounds as though the sharing and adopting is going on elsewhere, too.
I think that is hilarious that she is trying to cover 8 1/2 week old chicks, let alone the younger ones. That must be a sight! I love the stories of your chickens
It all depends on the personality of the hen. The truly motherly broodies will want to mother just about anything. My BAs are like that--I have one prized hen that we named "Big Momma" that accepts ALL chicks given to her--she mothered 25 mail-order babies at once last year! A hen that wants to be a momma can even "chicknap" another hen's chick and raise it for her own. Willing mother hens are quite valuable--it is so much easier to let a hen do the brooding rather than dealing with all that mess myself.

I have another hen that was broody that was more discriminating though--she was a dark Brahma and only accepted dark-colored chicks--she savagely attacked any light-colored chick that came near her--as if it were a threat.

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