Really? 2 Broodys now?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jeremy, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

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    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    A few of you may or may not remember me posting https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=127865 on this thread. My questioning on whether or not you can "force" a hen into broodiness.

    Well as it turns out I come home today and I've got 2 hens in the coop, crawling all over each other, fighting over an egg. One of my Silver Laced girls and a Delaware. Eventually the smaller Silver Laced lost to the Dellie, resulting in me nearly having to kick her out of the coop to get the unfertile egg out from underneath her. We can't have roosters where I live so I don't want her to go crazy thinking she'll be able to hatch the thing. (Oh, and that was egg number 12 for the day.)

    So before when I was racking my brain, checking the post for replies on ways to turn a hen into a sitter, I end up with 2. LUCKILY just in time- we got 3 Buff Orpington chicks last Wednesday. (See this thread, https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=135181)

    My question now is does anybody have an experience in introducing chicks to a broody hen? In this case I would most likely let the Delaware raise the chicks if she would take them mainly because she's the more tame of the two. I don't want to put the babies in any danger so if the only way of rearing them is in a brooder box like last Spring then that's fine by me. I just thought it would be adorable to look out back and see a mama hen followed by 3 little fuzzy butts.

    Thanks to anyone who has any advice!
     
  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    Congrats on your broodies! I've heard a lot of people give broodies hatchery chicks, although I've never had occasion to do it, usually you'd tuck the babies under mama late at night. For best results, the mama should've been sitting for a few weeks before the chicks "hatch." Although I've heard of broodies accepting chicks when they've only been sitting a few days.

    I think it's worth a try; it is much easier to let a broody raise them. My broodies have been hatching all winter and I left them out in the unheated barn with their mamas even when the temps were in the single digits. Just watch them closely to make sure they accept the chicks.

    A funny experience I've had this week: I have 4 Silkie broodies out in the barn right now. One is sitting on shavings, one in a cat litter bucket and the last 2 shacked up together in a 5 gallon bucket. The Cat Litter Broody just hatched 9 babies and when she got up to eat a day or so after they hatched, I noticed there were only 4 babies in with her! I was so upset and started looking around for dead bodies and couldn't find any. Finally I got the idea to check the other broodies and sure enough, the other 5 had moved in with the other broodies, a few to each of the other 3 hens!!! I gathered them all up and put them back with their mama, but a few of them just kept jumping out of the cat litter box and hopped 2 doors down to the domestic partners in the bucket, no matter how many times I put them back. [​IMG] The Bucket Broodies were very happy to have them and didn't seem to care how they got there. I thought the whole thing was pretty funny!
     
  3. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Southernbelle, that is so funny and just precious. Are the mammas and babies in with your other chickens? I have two broodies right now and if all goes well, will have chicks in a couple of weeks. They are in the nest boxes in the coop shared by the other 18 hens and two roos. Everyone free ranges during the day. I'm hoping the babies will be safe and mama will protect them until they are big enough?

    Thanks,
    Penny
     
  4. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    Quote:My mamas and babies are in the main coop. I isolated my first couple of broodies and it worked fine, but there were several times that I had 4 and 5 broodies at once and I couldn't find a private corner for all of them, so I just left them where they were. Three of my current broodies have gotten off the nests and are sharing these 9 babies. I saw all of them hovering around the babies and showing them what to eat. [​IMG]

    The broodies do a really good job of protecting the babies. A few of my 3-month-old EEs thought they'd show some of my little babies who was boss and pecked one on the head - the broody mama went totally ninja on him (complete with sound effects) and chased him all around the coop. Next time the babies came anywhere near him, he would run from them. Now those babies are about 6 weeks old and Mama has weaned them so isn't running interference anymore, but no one bothers them; they're fully integrated in the flock. It's a really beautiful system and makes my job a lot easier!

    My biggest complaint about raising baby chicks with the flock is that everyone wants to eat the starter food instead on their layer pellets. And since I have to keep the food and water low down for the babies, the bigger birds are constantly kicking shavings in it.
     
  5. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    That's what I was hoping you'd say! I really don't have the space to separate them, so I was praying all would go well. I wish I could have seen the Ninja attack - I chuckled just reading it!

    Thanks for the info. I'm excited and hoping all goes well with this first hatch in my flock [​IMG]

    Take care,
    Penny
     

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