Please, help me... trying get broody hen to adopt chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sarah_2017, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. Sarah_2017

    Sarah_2017 In the Brooder

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    Hi, my name is Sarah and I'm a new member (long time BYC reader/researcher, first time question).

    Yesterday, I received day old chicks in the mail for a broody buff orpington named Buffy. Buffy has been broody for over 3 weeks and 3 days ago I successfully moved her to the broody box. She just turned 2 yrs old and has been broody at least 6 other times. During those times, she had been broody from 3.5 to 6 weeks or even 7 weeks at a time. Buffy has never been a mom as we don't have roosters.
    I observed the chicks yesterday- made sure they were eating, drinking, and had clean bums- and decided to try introduce the chicks to Buffy.

    I had received some advise to introduce chicks to a new mom in the morning, so that I could closely supervise (instead of at night that is usually suggested). This morning, I attempted to place 1 chick under Buff and she pecked me and the chick. I immediately removed the chick. About an hour earlier, I was replacing Buff's food and water and I apparently disturbed her. She yelled loudly at me and normally when she was in the coop with the other hens, she would be broody and let me collect eggs from under her without a peck. She is sitting on 8 unfertilized eggs and 2 golf balls.

    My question is: Where do I go from now? Did I try introducing a chick too soon after I had disturbed her? Do I attempt introducing again at night with one chick?
    Or, do I give up on Buffy and kick her out of the brooder and move the chicks into Buffy's larger brooder?

    Thank you so much for any of your help.
    Aww... this is so sad that this may not work. I so hoped Buff would raise these babies.
    I've had chickens for 5 yrs and successfully raised 4 sets of chicks... I wish I could make this work.
     
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  2. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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    Keep trying and hopefully she will take them.

    There is a reason why most introduce them at night. You might want to try that method and see if you have more luck.
     
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  3. Sarah_2017

    Sarah_2017 In the Brooder

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    Okay, thank you.
    I'm terrified of her hurting them. Should I try the one chick at a time?
    If the first chick goes okay, what signs should I look for before adding a second chick?\
     
  4. JaeG

    JaeG Free Ranging

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    Do try when it's dark and stick around to see how she reacts. Go from behind if you can - lift her butt and shove a chick right under. Put your spare hand under her to lift and shield the chick you are holding with your other hand in case Buffy does peck at you. Sometimes the chick pops out so keep shoving it back under (gently but firmly). If Buffy starts clucking softly to the chick you know she wants to be their mother. Hopefully they'll talk back and bond with her too. It could help if she can hear the chicks just before you put them under her.

    Just be aware some hens like to sit on eggs but don't want to do the next stage. But don't let that stop you trying. It's gorgeous watching a mother hen with her babies. Good luck!
     
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  5. Sarah_2017

    Sarah_2017 In the Brooder

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    JaeG, thank you.
    So, place the chick under her with one hand while simultaneously shielding the chick with my other hand?
    Should this be once it's completely dark or dusk?
    I'm assuming turning on the lights would be detrimental.
    Do you just go out there with the smallest amount of light from a flashlight?
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  6. JaeG

    JaeG Free Ranging

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    You could try just before it gets really dark so you still have a bit of light. It should be dark enough in Buffy's nest. Try and get the babies right under her and try to shield them as she may take a swipe at you for disturbing her. I've only used my little bantams and they were both desperate to be mothers - I've never tried this with a big girl. One of my bantams sat for 10 weeks before I caved and got her some chicks!

    You'll know the clucking I mean when she starts talking to the babies. If she can hear them before you start putting them under her she may start talking to them then. I really hope it works out for you and Buffy. So much less work for you and very satisfying for Buffy.
     
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  7. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Songster

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    I do not let my girls hatch their own eggs so I routinely give my moms chicks I have incubated and I do not have any set time that I introduce the babies. It's been morning, afternoon and in the middle of the night. I agree with Jaeg, protecting the chicks is the most important part because your moms are attacking your hand, they don't really mean to hurt the chick itself. I introduce as many chicks at one time as I want to give that mom. I have a towel lined bowl I transport the chicks to the coop. Shield baby completely with both hands if necessary and use one to gently lift her up enough that you can slide the chick under her. I take that opportunity to remove the fake eggs she's sitting on as well when I withdraw my hand. Get the baby well under her, like under a wing or something. If it is too far in the front, she may peck at it. Give mom a sec to settle back down on top of the baby and she should start to make soothing mom sounds to it. When you hear her talking to the chick, you can place the others under her. I've never had a mom reject the chicks I gave her but I only use bantams and all of them are desperate to be moms so it makes it easier. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  8. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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    :goodpost:
    Very helpful!
    You should make this an article--get some pictures and etc.
     
    Sarah_2017 likes this.
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

    I ALWAYS adopt my chicks during the night with a flash light so it stays dark and have done so with up to 7 day old chicks, but younger is better in order for the chicks themselves to bond to mama and be willing to follow her calls. I remove all the eggs and place all the chicks under the broody. In this manner she gets to feel them wiggling around under her and expect some chicks. I have seen a hen peck a chick to get back under her when she wasn't ready for them to come out yet the next day, while they were still learning each other's voices. I make sure food and water are nearby, since adopted chicks rarely still have their yolk sack to survive on. Ya, broody's viciously defend their nest and peck wildly at my hand. I just use one hand to lift her and shield the chicks with the hand they are in. And the next day when checking she will wildly peck at me, so I have had a few innocent chicks get the random brutal peck. But knowing what you are dealing with helps to have a little discernment.

    Honestly, I wouldn't let her sit for a long time in the future as you have in the past. Next time, if you don't want her to raise chicks then you should break her the minute you see signs (research broody breakers, basically an elevated wire bottom cage). The whole time she is sitting she is losing condition. Weight decreases, and muscle tone diminishes to the point they are shaky.

    Several of my hens are full size broody's and I also have never had chicks rejected. Though I HAVE lost 1 or 2 to flock dynamics.

    After I get them tucked in, we stand around in the dark and listen. Usually it's silent. Then we shine the light in to make sure nobody got out and doesn't yet know how to get back under their heat source. I go out very early the next morning to make sure their are no flock bullies. And I lift her up to see everyone survived the night.

    It definitely IS special!! And seeing the contentment that washes over the mama once she's settled down onto her babes. :love

    Great luck! I would try again. :fl
     
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  10. Sarah_2017

    Sarah_2017 In the Brooder

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    Hi, all.
    I will try again tonight; although, I'm absolutely worried sick.
    I'm terrified of having dead chicks.
    To clarify, Buff did actually peck the chick directly and the chick shrieked, and ran away. Buff also pecked my hand. This chick is an egyptian fayoumi which looks dramatically different from her. But, that shouldn't make a difference from what I've read.
    So, a lot of you are saying to place all 9 of the chicks under her at once, correct?
    Then, if Buff and chicks are peeping/talking softly, then I'm okay?
    How long should I listen and wait before leaving Buff alone with the chicks?

    Gosh, I hope this works.
     

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