Slipping new hatchlings under broody hen

suburban farm girl

12 Years
Nov 16, 2007
SF Bay Area
In another thread I got suggestions on what to do with my broody hen, and decided to get some babies to put under her.

Last night we tucked the 3 babies under mama (I felt like Santa for chickens - waiting 'til it was dark and quiet and leaving surprises for the morning

The broody seems to have accepted 2 of the babies. The third I found in a far corner of the coop alone and distressed early this morning. I put her back with mama, but mama pecked at her and wouldn't let her get close to be warm, so I took her inside and put her under the light.

I'm hoping I can slip her in again tonight and that this time it will work. Does the mama recognize a baby she's already rejected though? Does anyone have experience with this?
I'm one of those people experimenting with the same thing. I have a broody bantam that got away with sitting (undetected in the rafters) on 17 eggs! I got everybody down and put her in a little "broodhouse" - an unused rabbit hutch. But she couldn't cover all the eggs, so I put another nest box in the hutch, transfered 7 eggs, and put another broody hen on them. She immediately pulled them under her and got to work. A few days later, both nests hatched (except for 5 eggs). That evening I found 2 chicks cold and dead on the wire, and the 2nd mama had relocated to share the 1st nest, taking 3 babies with her and leaving 2 eggs, one of which was pipping. I put the pipping egg under a 3rd broody hen, and it hatched in the early evening. I put the new hatchling under the 2nd mama (confused enough yet?). This morning, the new hatchling was still in the nest - so far so good. I put the unpipped eggs under that 3rd mama, and am waiting to see what happens. I'm not exactly sure of my next plan of action. I'm clearly pushing the envelope as far as how many days are lapsing between the first hatchlings and the newbies joining the nest, but I really don't have enough spaces for too many mamas and babies...Needless to say, I've been VERY diligent about checking for eggs under the other brooby bantams we have! Unfortunately, I'm missing a frizzle - she's either been bamboozled into going to a racoon party, or she's setting somewhere! UGHHH!
Makes ya wonder how they ever did it without us, doesn't it?

Since my earlier post, one of the babies in with mama slipped out of the nest box, got out of the coop, out of the run (the door was open cuz my girls free range in my yard during the day) and was crying lost in the yard when I heard her and came to see what was going on. I'm amazed a cat didn't get her before I did. She is now with the other displaced baby under a heat light in the house (and the other baby is VERY happy to have some company, I must say). I checked on the 3rd baby and heard it peeping under mama, who is very adamantly keeping everyone away. At this point I don't know if I want to attempt putting the other babies under her again - and at the same time I really don't want to babytend ... sigh...
suburban farm girl - I have never had a broody reject a baby. I have the opposite problem of all the broodies trying to steal new babies from the mama that hatched them! But if I were in your shoes, I would definitely try it again tonight. Maybe you can stay out there for a bit and see how mama reacts after you slip the baby back under her?

TheBrit - my eyes started twitching trying to keep up all the switching and swapping going on in your coop!
But I've been there! I go to extreme measures to get mamas to raise babies and leave me out of it!
Thanks for your comments, Basic Living - Obviously some modifications to where the mama and baby are need to be made so they can't escape. I think that would help a lot. I will try again tonight and keep my fingers crossed...

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