Questions about brooders


5 Years
May 19, 2014
I am new into chickens, and was wondering a few things about broody hens.

1: How often does the average bird go broody?
2: When she's sitting on the best, how will she get food or water?
3: can I introduce baby chicks to a brooder, and her "adopt" them? Or does it only work with eggs?
4.I have the hardest time trying to introduce chicks to the flock, but if a brooder adopted them, could the chicks go directly into the flock with mama?
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5 Years
Feb 23, 2014
1- This depends on the breed, the time of season, and it's production rate. Sometimes if it's really dark she'll become broody or if you leave eggs in there she can.

2- Yes when she can she'll go get food and water but she'll gradually get less and less when she was in production or even wasn't broody. Mine have had it where the keel stuck out so much.

3- This is possible but keep in mind that mother hens will go crazy when human hands touch it and it will kill it in defense

4- There will still be a pecking order


Bambrook Bantams
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
Forrest Beach, FNQ, Australia
Howdy AtlantisPeeps

“How often does the average bird go broody?”

I do not know if there is really an average per say. Each gal has their own little chickenality.

If they are a broody that you successfully broke, they may go broody again in a matter of weeks.

If they are a determined broody, like my bantam Cochin who I gave eggs, she hatches the bubs, raises them to 6 weeks or so old, takes about 3 weeks off and then goes broody again!

“When she’s sitting on the nest, how will she get food or water?”

Broody’s normally take at least one break a day for something to eat and drink; some might have a break a couple of times a day. Others do not take a break at all (abovementioned) and it is an idea to make sure they are gently reminded that they need to have a break, food and water.

Some chicken parents put the food and water within reach of the broody on the nest but this can also be detrimental in that they then have no reason to get up and stretch those little legs.

“Can I introduce baby chicks to a brooder and her ‘adopt’ them?”

Yep, this can and has been done but with caution. The mother hen and chicks need to bond with each other and they have a little language all of their own. If you are going to try slipping a broody newly hatched chicks, it is probably best to do this just on nighttime and also keep a very, very close eye on the situation; there is always the risk that she may not accept them.

“Could the chicks go directly into the flock with mama?”

Yep, they could. However, there is a chance that very young, fragile chicks may be injured especially if the mum is not experienced. Having said that, I would not want to be on the receiving end of some of the ‘telling offs’ my broodies have given their ‘sisters’.

Personal choice, I normally leave by mums and bubs separate from the rest of my small flock until the chicks are 3-4 weeks old; just to give them a little bit of time to not be so fragile. At this age mum should still be protecting them so integration is a little easier. During the whole broody/hatch period my flock are still able to see each other through the wire divider and I believe this definitely helps with integration. The aunties seem to love watching the little bubs and the bubs, in turn, do not appear frightened.

Others I know have simply left the broody in the coop with everyone else during the sitting/hatch/raising process.

Hope that was helpful!

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