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Non Broody Hen and Chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sweetshoplady, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    I would appreciate advice on how to integrate my RIR hen and these new chicks that just hatched. The hen never got broody so they were hatched in an incubator. They are in their brooder now, should I let her have time each day with them?

    Out of 4 hens, she had been #3 in the pecking order - if that makes any difference now as she is the only adult hen I have left.

    Thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2007
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    I would be very cautious. If she didn't hatch them she probably won't have any protective feelings for them at all and will probably go after them, even if they are her biological chicks. Chicks can be killed by hens. You should keep them separated for at least 5 weeks or so, until the little ones are bigger and can hold their own a little bit. Then let them see each other through a divider for a week ot two before putting them together.
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    RIR's are not inclined to be broody and raise chicks. The broodiness has been bred out of them. It is rare to get a broody RIR.

    She will not 'mother' the chicks. She will kill them.

    Keep the chicks in a warm dry brooder with the temps at 95F degrees declining by 5 degrees each week until the night time temps are averaging 70F degrees or the chicks are completely feathered out. They will not be completely feathered out for 8 weeks or more - sometimes even 12 weeks.

    Keep them warm (especially at night). Keep them dry. Keep them well fed with plenty of water.

    Whatever you do DO NOT put those chicks in with the full size chickens until they are about 16 weeks or so old and getting up to near the same size as the older chickens.

    I am sorry but the advise to put them together at 5 weeks is incorrect. She will still be inclined to peck and kill them. They will not be big enough to defend themselves from her attack.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  4. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    I thank you for your advice. i suppose the better question is "how" and "when" do I introduce these 5 chicks to the hen.

    Yes, they will be staying in the brooder until they can be out.

    MissPrissy, thank you for letting me know how rare (and special) Thelma was - she did get broody. She had laid her eggs in a bucket and I didn't know that until she began to set there on them - a hopeless cause as I had no rooster at that time. A predator got her in mid December (and my other hens and rooster).

    Peepkeeper - If the chicks are in like a wire dog crate (when they are older) and the hen is not would that work as a partition so they can get to know each other safely?
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    Wait until they are closer to her size (14 - 16 weeks). Put them in a cage/crate/pen where they can see one another but the older hen can't get to them. After a good two weeks once they are used to being around each other go out at night when the older has gone to roost and put them out to roost with her. They will wake up together and it won't be such a shock. There will most likely be some squabble but it will settle.
     
  6. ZuniBee

    ZuniBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2007
    Zuni, Virginia
    RIR's are not inclined to be broody and raise chicks. The broodiness has been bred out of them. It is rare to get a broody RIR.

    She will not 'mother' the chicks. She will kill them.

    Are you talking about the specific RIR hen? or all broody RIR hens? I'm just wondering because I have a RIR hen that just hatched 9 out of 9 eggs and is now sitting on 18 healthy chicks and seems to be very good with them. She is teaching them to eat, drink and really watches over them. Hopefully that won't change and then she kills the chicks....​
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    My answer was for the specific RIR in question.

    RIR's are not inclined to be broody and raise chicks. The broodiness has been bred out of them. It is rare to get a broody RIR.

    It is rare for a hatchery RIR to be broody. The breeder RIR will brood but like most other hens it is really hard to predict when or if it will happen. I have had a hatchery RIR go broody. It just isn't the norm.

    She will not 'mother' the chicks. She will kill them.

    You can't take a chick you hatched in a bator and stick it under a hen and expect her to be its mother, even if she did lay the eggs. A pre-hatched chick (one not hatched by the hen in question) will be killed by the hen more often than not.

    Are you talking about the specific RIR hen? or all broody RIR hens? I'm just wondering because I have a RIR hen that just hatched 9 out of 9 eggs and is now sitting on 18 healthy chicks and seems to be very good with them. She is teaching them to eat, drink and really watches over them. Hopefully that won't change and then she kills the chicks....

    If she (the RIR) hatches the eggs herself she most likely will be a good mother. Like I said above sweetshoplady cannot hatch eggs and expect any hen to want to mother and raise those chicks. I am certain her RIR will kill those chicks if she puts them out with her. The RIR in question did not brood or hatch those chicks the incubator did. SSL is now their mother.

    There are cases though when a broody hen of any breed can be an aweful mother and the chicks have to be taken and raised by the human responsible for the flock.

    Jay, I saw your lovely hen! I want chicks badly now! LOL

    Also your hen has chicks of her own it was easy to give her a few more to tend to. A hen that never went broody and never hatched eggs will not normally do that. Sad but true.​
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  8. ZuniBee

    ZuniBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, you scared me there for a minute! Was ready to run out and get all the chicks and bring them in!

    I was worried about putting the incubator chicks in with the broody but the chicks were just so much happier with the hen. I added a few at a time and she took every one. It is incredible to watch how she interacts with the chicks. She talks to them, shows them how to eat and drink, she grooms them, and even cleans their poo (eats it). I never knew they did that much. She sits with her wings out and down and makes a huge pocket under her and all 18 chicks fit under her. I can sit and watch them for hours.....
     
  9. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I agree it is incredible to watch a mother with her babies. Can you imagine those hens that hatch a clutch of 30 or more eggs? Always room under momma's wings.
     

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