Ok to give broody hen already hatched chicks?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Feb 16, 2008
Austin, TX
So... Tawanda, my 8 mo. old gold sex link, has been broody for the past 2 weeks or so. I thought I had broken her because I saw her outside one day acting normal, but the next day she was right back in the next box sitting on everyone else's eggs! I know it's probably too late to slip some fertile eggs under her, but is it okay to give her some day old or 3 day old chicks to raise? Someone recommended this on another thread I was reading, but I was wondering if anyone has done this and if it's a good idea. The other thing is I know I can get 3-day olds, but I'm not sure where to find 1-day old chicks. Would that work? Also, I live in TX and figured it shouldn't be too cold down here (weather's still in the 80s most of the time) Is it better to wait until spring to give her some chicks?

ACK! So many questions! I have no one to talk to about this except on this forum, so a big THANK YOU to all you helpful peeps!


11 Years
Jul 17, 2008
North Central Florida
I tried this a couple of months ago, and Miss Bonnie attacked the new chicks immediately!! She never did hatch off any of her own (they cracked and dried out)

I was able to stop Miss Bonnie's broodiness with a cool bath. Worked like a charm...

--hope this helps....


12 Years
Feb 12, 2007
8A East Texas
Our experience has been that once the hen sees chicks, she will think the eggs have hatched. A good mama hen will take over the care of the chicks.

HOWEVER, mama hen will think these are brand new right outta the shell chicks. So she will force them to hide under her for a couple days.

As you probably know, chicks can be shipped because they absorb the yolk before hatching; so they *don't need* to eat or drink for a couple days.

But they *do need* to eat and drink if they are already 3 or 4 days old. So, mama hen may cause a problem by not allowing the chicks near the food for the first few days.


11 Years
Jul 30, 2008
I do it every year. I simple go out before dawn and place the chicks under the broody hen or hens. As long as she has been broody for a least two weeks there generally is not an issue, she doesn't know they are not hers.
I have on occasion had hens reject them but it has been a rare occasion.
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Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 26, 2006
Both Coasts
I have done it successfully with chickens, ducks, and geese.
Same as Scooter, I put them under the mom at night. That way she gets used to their wiggling around before she actually sees them.

Here are a few of my pairings:

These are Allen Setters chicks that I got in the mail and put under a broody silkie:

Funny... he didnt grow up to look at all like Mom!

Mama goose showing her ducklings how to preen:

Growing up:

This one still thinks she's a goose:



Yoga...The Chicken Pose
11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
Fuquay Varina, NC
OMG, you have runners!!! I'm so jealous!!!! :mad:

My silkie wasn't broody and began being mama to my 3 weeks old buff silkie chicks.... and she was their mama the way she acted until they were 9 weeks old. Some chickens just wanna do it!


11 Years
Aug 31, 2008
eggchel, those pictures of your pairings made my heart go pitter-pat. Nature is beautiful, eh? I can't say the thousand words it would take to convey what they say to me - the adorable little white runner with the geese is part of it, the beauty of the mom goose with her curls, the beauty of the silkie, etc. Thanks for showing them.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Feb 16, 2008
Austin, TX
Wow- those are beautiful pics!!! Now I really want to go get some chicks and give this a shot:D

I will have to let y'all know what happens!


7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
Snohomish County
I have a hen that has been trying to set for the last 2 months, we just started leaving her eggs in her box yesterday. She stayed on them all day yesterday, but was off them this morning and they were freezing cold. I have some eggs in my incubator that will be hatching tomorrow, and I also have a few 2 week old chicks. My hen is almost a year old and is very protective of her eggs, even when she isn't on them. Would it be worth it to try to give her a few babies? She is a Cochin Bantam. If so, should I try a few of the soon-to-hatch ones, or the older ones after a week or so? I have a special area for a broody hen I could put her in with the chicks to keep her warm if I decide to.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 14, 2008
Salt Lake City, UT
Our Java is 1 year old and has been sitting on golf balls for a week now. She was broody for a week prior to that, but I was collecting eggs and not leaving her anything. Now I add golf balls.

In another week I will add 4 baby checks to her nest at night, and hope for the best!!

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