Maximum Number of Chicks to Attempt to Let My Broody Adopt?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rfreedlund, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. rfreedlund

    rfreedlund Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never hatched my own chicks before, but despite the cold here in Northern Illinois I had two hens go broody on me so I went ahead and decided to let them see what they could do. I have no roosters as the 5 Australorp cockerels I ordered as chicks all turned out to be girls, so I would have to get eggs elsewhere.

    To the first one, an Austra-White (Black Australorp Roo over White Leghorn Hen) I gave 9 eggs from a neighbor. Despite temperatures as low as -10 F below she still managed to hatch out two. They were hatched last Sunday (01/11) and mother and the two babies are doing fine.

    In the same partitioned off area in the coop I have an Australorp hen that was / is sitting on non-fertile eggs. I used Christmas money to buy an incubator with hopes of giving her chicks to adopt. I received 16 eggs from a friend to try to hatch. Reading mixed reviews on the Farm Innovators incubator, out of the 13 eggs that candled positive I was going to consider myself fortunate to get 4 to 6 chicks to hatch. This seemed a decent number to give to my other girl and I was willing to accept that.

    Well, to my surprise, even as I am typing this new post 11 of the eggs have already hatched and the remaining two look like they will hatch as well! I have already given the broody five chicks that hatched earlier and she seems to be handling them well, though I will be watching them in the morning to see if all remains well.

    If she does take to them and I end up getting all thirteen (or maybe just the eleven I have now). How many more of them do you think she can try to adopt? Should I try to give a few of the chicks to the other broody despite the fact her chicks are 9 days old now? I am ready to brood these apart if I have to, but my plan was to hopefully let the mothers take care of it.

    Your opinions?? Thanks.
     
  2. gamebirdsonly

    gamebirdsonly Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you could put all the chicks with the one hen. I have had hens brood 10 to 15 chicks with no problems. Good luck[​IMG]
     
  3. rfreedlund

    rfreedlund Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2014
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    Thanks for a quick reply.

    12 have hatched now! and the last egg is showing signs of life as well. I definitely didn't see that coming.

    I will let the remaining 8 stay in the incubator until tomorrow evening and then attempt to give them to her in increments then as long as she has stayed on the ones she has now.

    I have read that they can handle a decent number of chicks, but with colder temperatures right now (and being a new mother hen) I want to feel comfortable with it.
     
  4. hicksfamily

    hicksfamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm sure she will be perfectly fine adopting all of them! I don't have any chooks at the moment (my family moved and we had to sell them) but from my past experience in the colder temperatures, I'm not too sure... You may want to look into that from some more local chicken owners and see if they've had to make the same decision. Good luck on the hatching! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If she's had those other chicks 9 days already, I would not try adding more. She's already decided who her babies are and new chicks are often seen as a threat. If you're determined to try, do so at a time when you can monitor them for several hours to be sure she doesn't attack the new babies.
     
  6. rfreedlund

    rfreedlund Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2014
    Byron, Illinois
    All thirteen did hatch! The broody is still on her first five keeping them warm, so I will place the remaining eight in intervals under her tonight. The two broodies and chicks do share the same area, but I will give all of the new ones to the same girl.

    When I went in very low light into the coop last night it was interesting to see how moth of the broodies perked up from their rest when they heard the low peeping.

    Thanks for all the advice.
     

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