Slipping chicks under broody

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by 1ooEEoo1, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. 1ooEEoo1

    1ooEEoo1 New Egg

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    Oct 3, 2011
    My broody Cochin has been sitting for a couple of weeks. I bought 8, day-old chicks and slipped them under her last night at about 11pm, swapping out the eggs she'd been on. This morning she was covering them just fine but pecking at them a little aggressively when I lifted her up to see if they were still alive. How long should it take before they're out at their feeder and waterer, etc? I want to keep a close eye on them to see if I need to switch them out to the brooder I have already set up just in case.

    A couple more questions--assuming everything goes OK with the above. Until yesterday she's been sitting on one of the nesting boxes in the coop along with the other birds (7 hens, 1 rooster). During the day yesterday I divided the coop so she has about 12-15' sq of her own. She has a feeder with organic chick starter and a chick waterer. I am wondering about the protocol for introducing the chicks to the population at large, ie, when to remove the divider. The other birds are fed on organic layer crumble. They have a large pen with electric poultry netting which is mostly as a night-time predator deterrent. During the day we generally open the pen and the birds go where they please.

    When I was a kid I don't remember any precautions being taken at all. The birds were all in it together and just did what came naturally with no special divisions, feeds, or medication... but that was in Africa and a very long time ago.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    She will peck at them a bit, maybe just to tell them who's boss. She may not take them out to feed til tomorrow. Hopefully she will take them later today. I might even force the issue if they were mine. It's instinctive, I imagine, for them to sit on live chicks a day or so, to let the rest of the eggs hatch. I don't think they realize there aren't any unhatched eggs, seeing as they will try to hatch air.

    I let my mamas raise the chicks in with the flock. So far the mamas have kept the other hens away from the chicks. I much prefer this, because when mama quits mothering around 4-6 weeks, the rest of the flock is accustomed to the chicks and has left them alone. If you keep them separated during those first 4 or 5 weeks, you will have chicks that must be kept separate til they are full size. Maybe safer, but too much trouble for me.

    I feed everyone grower or starter/grower or flock raiser when there are chicks in the flock, to avoid organ damage in the chicks. Of course, oyster shell is available for the hens during this time. You can even feed medicated feed to your layers and still eat the eggs, assuming the medication is amprolium. I've never seen a chick eat oyster shell.
     
  3. 1ooEEoo1

    1ooEEoo1 New Egg

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    Oct 3, 2011
    Perfect response--thanks!

    So, feed chick starter universally until the chicks are, say, 12 weeks old? With oyster shell on the side for the laying hens...

    Should I just take the barrier down again? I only put it up due to cautionary advice I'd read on the various sites. Perhaps I'll give it a couple of days--allow the broody to get properly protective of them. She's been about half-way in the pecking order to date, I'd say--neither bullied, nor a bully.
     
  4. 1ooEEoo1

    1ooEEoo1 New Egg

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    Oct 3, 2011
    Note: she did accumulate a clutch of 18 eggs before I swapped them out for the 8 day-olds. The other hens just sat on her to lay theirs. How would one deal with that if one wanted to allow the broody to hatch the eggs?
     

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