Separating chicks from broody hen...

The Sheriff

10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
Northern CA

I have a Maran hen who went broody so I got some fertile eggs from Craigslist and let her hatch them. She hatched 11/12. That was four weeks ago. She is sleeping in a cage in the coop with her babies. Here's the problem. We are going out of town and I promised the chicks to a 4H girl. I am not sure if they are set up for a heat lamp because I was planning to give them the broody AND the chicks. Well the last few days the broody hasn't been able to mother the chicks as much. They can fit through the fence and she can't so they get out and wander all over. They go back to her several times a day and at night to sleep.

How traumatic would it be for everyone to separate them now? I am kind of reluctant to give up a good broody hen. But, I also need to get the babies out before we leave town. Having the cage in the coop is causing a bit of a ruckus. My hen who is almost blind won't go into the coop at night with the cage in there. She has been roosting outside. I go down every night and put her in the coop. I am worried a predator will get her. She always went in at night until I put the cage just inside the door. I have it covered with a tarp so i think it looks to her like she is walking into a wall. I am much more attached to her than the broody or the babies and I want to keep her safe. I have someone looking after them while I'm gone but can't expect someone to drive over at night and put her in the coop.

So, do I re-home the babies without the broody?

Re-home them together and lose a good broody Maran?

It has been dropping into the 40's at night. Will the babies die without heat?

This is my first time with a broody and chicks so i don't know what to expect. The odd thing is, every time the broody goes into the coop and an egg is in the nest box she gets in and tucks it under her and starts to sit, even though she has 11 babies following her! Will she go broody immediately if I take away her chicks?

Any sage wisdom is appreciated. The little 4H'er is supposed to pick up today or tomorrow so the sooner I get that advice, the better!




In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 13, 2009
Humboldt County, CA
They should be fine if you seperate them. They will probably not like it at first but chickens tend to get over things quickly. If I read your post right and the chicks are 4 weeks old they'll be fine without a heatlamp.

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