Surrogate mom-putting chicks under a broody-success

melmonkey

Chirping
10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
16
5
79
Tyler, TX
okay- this is a little lengthy,but l think the info is helpful. I have a 2yr. old black sexlink hen who STAYS broody-has never hatched a chick as l don't have roosters, but will even sit on an empty nest-all day! l decided to get 3 baby chicks(pullets) and try to trick her into accepting them, as she is so pathetic. The first day, late afternoon, l slipped them under her while she was sitting on her usual nest-she squawked, pecked at chicks and ran outside-didn't want those babies and/or know what to do with them.. So l put just the chicks in a large empty coop with a brooder lamp,and they ate and drank but cheeped loudly each time they saw a chicken walk by their pen-seemed to really need a mom. At my wits end the next afternoon, l took broody out of her coop and put her in a wire cage with some eggs to sit on , placed it in my laundry room and covered it with a blanket. She squawked a lot, then calmed down and went to sleep. Near dusk, l put the 3 babies in the cage with her( under her wings),leaving cage covered. ln 2 hours, before sundown, l took the covered cage out to the empty coop and placed mama and chicks in a dark corner, making sure the chicks were underneath her. This morning she is sitting calmly near their feeder, and the chicks eat, drink and run around, going under her wings for warmth and comfort. Everyone is happy! l hope this helps someone
 

melmonkey

Chirping
10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
16
5
79
Tyler, TX
thanks! trying to make an adoption work out is nerve-wracking... now the broody mama is obsessed with her new children-if they leave her , even to eat/drink, she clucks until they return.
 

21hens-incharge

Nuttier than a squirrels stash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
24,947
103,065
1,652
Northern Colorado
How do you usually do this? Mine just seemed to reject the ones I brought to her nest so hoping to move on to bring her to them...

I put the chicks in a big brooder. Mine is 2x4x2. I make sure they are eating and drinking well. In broad daylight while I have time to sit and watch I take the broody bird and set her in the brooder. I let her settle down in a corner. Once she is fully settled I slide a chick under her from behind. Let her settle while watching for rejection then repeat with remaining chicks.

IMG_20190508_135151.jpg
This year she got 2 salmon favorelle chicks. They are now quite a bit bigger than her and she is still mothering them.

It works for my broody bantam cochin. I cannot guarantee it will work with every broody....

A better picture...
IMG_20190506_135700.jpg
 

21hens-incharge

Nuttier than a squirrels stash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
24,947
103,065
1,652
Northern Colorado
How do I know if she’s begun mothering? Tried again. Right now she’s sitting still while they’re under her... no movement or awareness it seems.

She will make little clucking sounds, she won't peck them (much). When they are out from under her and cheeping she will call them to her.



A couple short videos so you can hear what a mother hen sounds like when calling to chicks.
 

21hens-incharge

Nuttier than a squirrels stash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
24,947
103,065
1,652
Northern Colorado
Her just sitting while they are under Her is pretty good actually.
She may stay sitting there for a day or two even.


I should ask....

How long has she been broody?
How old are the chicks?
What breed is the hen?
 

Daisythehen29

Hatching
Jul 31, 2019
8
5
9
She has been broody 2 weeks, they are 2 days old. She’s a silkie - first time doing this she’s only 1 year old. When they pop out from under her she doesn’t call to them or anything and did peck one. Doesn’t seem to get it yet? I have had to put them back under her. I know people say just place them under and give it time but I don’t have a high threshold for putting them at risk if she decides to hurt them .
 

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