Is it possible to replace a baby chick or chicks with same age chicks. The hen seems to be in denial that her chicks are gone (killed by a hawk) and is still talking to them like they are there. Would she take replacements?
How long have the chicks been gone? A chicken doesn't have the capacity to be in "denial". She is probably just confused and wondering where they went, talking to them trying to call them back. If you do replace them, I'd suggest slipping them under her at night, but would do so sooner rather than later. If you wait, the broodiness may be gone and she might harm them. If you don't replace them, she'll get over it in a few days.
Okay. Wrong word perhaps. I have no idea what a hen is capable of feeling. She is clucking around talking to them still. It happened this morning and now she is the nest box clucking since it's time for bed. The chicks were three weeks old. She has one left but I just wondered if it would work to could give her a few replacements. Would she raise them along with the other one? I guess it's a silly question and there is no way to know. I just wondered if it was possible or ever happens.
If she has a three week old chick with her, you cannot introduce new chicks. If they were day-olds, the older chick would bully them and if they were the same age as her current chick, the new chicks would not accept her as their mother.
The only way that MIGHT possibly work, is to remove the one remaining three week old chick and give her a new batch of day-olds but I'm not sure this would serve her purpose or yours and would be very unfair on the three week old chick who would then be totally alone.
I think you're better off leaving her with the one chick she has left. She will accept the loss of the others quite quickly and get on with raising her one little one....they really don't 'mourn' for long x
Your question isn't silly at all. We all started out at one time or another, and we've all had to ask questions, read books, do research and learn by trial and error. And I don't think there is a single person out there who isn't still learning something. Now that I have all the details, my answer is totally different. Since she does have one left, and it's that old, I would not try to give her any more. I agree with Happyhens that the one remaining chick could bully the others, the others wouldn't accept the hen as their mother, and you're better off just leaving her with her one chick. She'll forget about the others in a few days. She's still clucking because she's still looking for them, but she'll get over it soon.
Thank you for the responses. My only reason for adding more chicks was concern for the last remaining chick so I would not want to switch them out. Although I feel bad for the mother I know she'll carry on and she still has the one to look after. I thought it might be rough on the little one to be the only young chicken when the hen is done mothering. I'll just have to keep an eye on her. She is being raised in the flock so I am hoping she will be integrated by that time. She'll have no one her age to hang out with. I am not going to take her away from her mother. That would totally defeat the purpose of letting her have chicks in the first place. Anyway, thank. You have answered my question. Not much I can do then but work with what I have left. (edited only for typos)
I have a single chick that is being raised by 2 hens (long story
) that is roughly the same age as yours. He is just fine. He's been raised with the flock, so when the hens are done mothering him he'll be fully integrated. He won't have to be alone, trying to find his place in the flock. He already knows where it is. Your chick will be fine.
Thanks bobbi-j. I'll feel a less worried about it if she'll already be integrated and won't have to be alone. Hope it works out that way. My apologies for my original post not being clear at all. I guess I was upset about the chicks I lost and not all that coherent.
It's always hard to lose birds, and harder when it's babies. I agree with the advice you've been given, especially since the broody and chick are in with the main flock (good for you!). The lone chick will be fine once momma "weans" it, it will already have it's place in the flock. Yeah, it will be low guy, but that's where littles always start out!