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Letting Mama Raise the Chicks... Can I hold her babies?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HomeGrownGudLif, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. So we are getting some new chicks via mail in the spring. And we are hoping to have them brooded "naturally" by grafting them on to one of our broodies. [​IMG] Hopefully that will go well, we have heard good things (and are prepared to do it ourselves if not). But that isn't the reason for my post (just context). What we would really like to know is if it is bad to hold a mama chicken's babies? Supposing the graft is successful we would like to still be able to hold the youngin's and get them acquainted with us and human contact. We have never hatched our own eggs or had a chicken brooder before. So we just don't know how mama might react to it.. As I said though, we want/need chickens that don't mind being held and human contact- which we have found it best to expose them to human contact early on for this. Is there a time limit on how long we should hold them away from mum? (We would of course take warmth, food, and such into consideration...) Any experience, educated thoughts, or such?

    Thanks! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It depends on the mama. Some are OK with it and some freak out. If it upsets the mama too much, the chicks are going to be upset, too.
  3. tinychicky

    tinychicky Songster

    Mar 24, 2010
    Hollis, New Hampshire
    X2 i only let my more laid back hens hatch chicks and even they aren't too happy having thier babies touched. i believe natural brooding gives chicks a healthier start in life since they are exposed to bacteria that will help them build up immunities to some diseases and have to run to keep up with mama. they also learn how to 'be a chicken' sooner.

    the down side is they won't be quite as people friendly even with handling and as chicks they'll be harder to catch and a bit more skittish. for small pet flocks or wilder breeds like egytian fayoumis or hamburgs, i'd say raise them yourself. someone who hatches larger numbers of chicks may find it simpler to let a hen brood them. introducing the new babies to the flock once they're feathered out is easier with a hen to protect them as well.

    also bear in mind not all hens will accept chicks. moniter them closely for the first few hours to see how the broody takes it. some hens will start mothering right away while others peck or even kill the fuzzy intruders that have appeared under them!

    good luck with your chicks!

  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Wow, I so agree. The ones raised to be great "chickens" are fascinating to watch as chickens. They have such confidence, forage with intense purpose and are pretty great birds. They are also much less oriented toward people and in being "pet like". I don't see that as a down side. I like really chicken-like chickens.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  5. Thank you to all of you. Your replies are very helpful. I am going to try my best to just "let mama do it!" and hopefully she takes to them. If not then we will get all the hand held goodness we would like I suppose. Thank you again for your help. Happy chickens!

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