Pros & Cons~Broody!


10 Years
Mar 26, 2009
This year I had my first broody hatch 1 single chick, out of 5 eggs and then I put another one from the feed store under her. Now I've done it both ways, I would prefer to raise them myself. Let's hear your pro's and cons to using your broody raise your chicks!

My Cons:
#1-I can't handle the chicks, so they are more skiddish of me.
#2-Making sure The broody and Chicks are getting enough feed has proven difficult for me. Momma hen wants to eat all the chicks starter feed.
#3-because I had(she was being picked on) to seperate my broody, now I've got to go through integration again.

I only have one Pro and that's not using a heat lamp!
Broody Pros (not already mentioned):

A) I don't have to know or care what day of the hatch this is - they'll hatch when they're done.
B) I'm sure the smallest one is getting all the attention it needs - without me
c) I don't have to clean the incubator - it is self cleaning

Broody Cons (not already mentioned):
- I do have to wait for hormones to kick in, but I just keep a running newest to oldest group of eggs on the counter. Each day when I add the newest, I turn all and take away the same number of oldest eggs to eat. So whenever the broody begins I am ready.

In answer to your cons:
1) If you hand feed your broody on a regular basis she will let you handle her chicks from hatch. Mine do.
2) I just put plenty of feed down - they all get flock raiser, so they all eat the same thing
3) My broody pen is next to my regular pen - they don't forget who she is.

(Just had a first time broody mom hatch out all nine of the eggs I gave her.)
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So long as my broodies keep doing what they do best I will never artificially brood chicks again. I see no cons to letting the broody do it.

I can still handle the chicks because I have tended to mama her whole life and she is used to my presence.
I feed the whole coop a flockraiser type feed, so it doesn't matter which feeder the chicks go to, the food is appropriate.
I let mama brood in the coop, so there's not re-introduction of her and the chicks.
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I'm kind of with you Domestic, not sure whether I prefer the broody or not.

I had my first hatch from a broody last year. It went great, but I didn't like that I couldn't handle the chicks often. But, she's doing her job. She is my "pet chicken" a bantam cochin, so i was surprised last year when she wouldn't let me near her chicks. She taught them that I was a predator. I didn't get any store bought chicks last year.

This year, when she went broody, which didn't hatch, I slipped 4 shipped day olds under her. That was 4 weeks ago, I lost 2 of them, to pasty butt, at least that's what I think it was. She wouldn't let me get a them often enough to check them out. The other 2 are doing fine, she's a really good mama, and chicks raised by a broody are much smarter. Mine doesn't eat that much, I have the problem of her scratching all of the feed out of the feed dish in order to teach her chicks out to scratch for food. I can throw treats in there, and she will peck whatever it is until it's small enough for them to eat, clucking at them the whole time, to come and get it.

The 3 she raised last year, are very smart. 2 hens and 1 roo. He has been my best roo ever. Finding them food, warning them of danger, and has no problem with me.

I have 3 chicks that are a week or 2 older than the 2 she is raising. I thought they were younger when I got them, but they apparently were just enough bigger that she wouldn't have anything to do with them. Kept them with her for 2 nights and 3 days. She kept them warm at night, but kept her "chicks" away from them during the day, and would peck them if they came out to eat. So I decided to separate them.

In this time frame, I also bought 3 twelve week old bantams. So, me, hubby and the 3 bantams have been raising them. I enjoy these 3 chicks so much! i can handle them, they are friendly, though when I throw treats in, they and their 3 banty mama's all look at me like what the heck are we suppose to do with this.

It is really nice with a broody to not have to worry about heat for the chicks. The broody definitely raises them to be smarter. I do separate the broody, since I'm just not set up to keep her in with the main flock. She had a late hatch last year, and ended up staying in my small coop all winter with her 3 chicks.

What I am going to do different this year: Her 2 chicks are going in with the other 3 chicks and the 3 banties in about 2 weeks. I will keep her separated where she is for a week or 2. Then I will try freeranging her back into the flock. Last year I didn't have things separated the way I do this year, and when I tried to integrate, it was always with her chicks, even when they were six months old, and she was still protecting them. She was my only banty, and some of my standard hens would take her right down.

I like that broody raised chicks are smarter, but I so much more enjoy the chicks that I raise!
For me, the pleasure of watching a mom hen is a HUGE Pro. She also makes it much easier to introduce the little ones to the group.

And I wonder if this is another pro: Do chicks that are raised by a hen make better moms themselves?
It's so much work raising chicks artificially! And I can't prove this scientifically, but I think hen raised chicks tend to be healthier. The batch of chicks I raised artifically all got fowl pox in the fall of their first year. The next year's batch of chicks were raised by their on moms, and not a one came down with fowl pox. I can't prove that they got immunities from being raised by a hen, but that's what I suspect. A friend of ours here had the exact same experience.

My broodies are tame and friendly so it's no problem to handle their chicks, and I did so daily so they would be tame. Of course, if someone they don't recognize comes into the yard...look out!
When re-introducing one of our broody banties to the main flock, it's always a headache: mama picks fights with every hen that looks at her, and she won't back down until she gets the stuffin' beat out of her. Our old boss roo Elwood would sometimes intervene, stepping between the two hens and staring at them in offense until they looked at their feet and shuffled off. Sadly, our current boss roo doesn't do that. I've kept old Elwood around to help raise the chicks of our first broody, and I have to say he's been a great influence! They're six weeks old and nuts, but they respect him . . . even though he's never so much as ruffled at them.

I really like the stimulus and education that chicks get when raised by a broody, but it does mean that they can be squirrelly, depending on the mother. I make it a point of putting a treat of mush in the pen every day to teach the chicks that people mean food. It also really helps when their "parents" are very calm and tame themselves; when the mother and other adults are high-strung, the chicks zing around like fireworks. By contrast, we're raising some incubator chicks right now, and although they're tame as all get out, they don't get the mental stimulus that I would like them to have. They'll also be harder to integrate with the main flock, since they won't have a mother to defend or direct them, but that's what the nursery chamber is for.
10 chicks in the brooder, actually in a pen in the yard now.
2 chicks free ranging with momma.
Momma hen today reintergrated herself back into the flock,
with her chicks.
These birds will take care of the chicks, you should see her
attack the puppy, or even the adult dogs when they get to

I guess I don't have the integration issues because mine
free range the yard. I never give it a thought, they know
how to settle this issue.

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